The Internet was on fire Wednesday when a picture of Melania Trump standing next to President Trump spawned cries of a “body double,” “an impostor,” and a fill-in for Melania so she can “avoid standing with her husband.” The body double story originated after photos emerged of Melania Trump standing next to Donald Trump getting ready to embark on a trip to the Secret Service training center in Maryland. This is not the first time a body double rumor has been started regarding a prominent woman in Washington D.C.
According to the Washington Post, this was all started by “a guy who sells hemp syrup for a living.” His tweet made the speculation that the woman the nation was looking at in those photos was not Melania Trump, but a mystery woman filling in for the First Lady.
Joe Vargas’ tweet reportedly spawned the viral rumor after he pointed out that the woman was not who she is supposed to be. It started a flood of social media users to make speculations galore, such as, “Woman X” was sporting a “fake nose” and “a wig” and along with the critiques came the speculated reasons why Women X was standing in for Melania.
According to BuzzFeed, after this claim was made, Vargas “started promoting his Instagram account and his website.” While many seemed to believe the claims of a “fake Melania Trump,” many people had a field day presenting jokes about this claim.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) October 19, 2017
Vargas wrote that he believed they used a body double for Melania and he also added, “to think that they would go this far to make us think it’s her on TV is mind-blowing.” He adds a bit more fuel to this conspiracy theory by stating “Makes me wonder what else is a lie.” According to the Washington Post, it was Vargas’ tweet that started it all.
So who was this woman? According to the Washington Post, the woman in the rumored body double pictures is the one and only Melania Trump. The Post writes:
“Woman X is no other than … Melania Trump. And why is she standing there? Because she is the president’s wife, and sometimes she travels with him to places.”
Some of the social media users commented on the height difference of the rumored body double for Melania Trump in these pictures, which happened to be taken on October 13. The Washington Post also offers a picture of Melania’s feet that day, which shows the first lady wearing a pair of black flats. These shoes make her shorter than her usual pictures when she’s wearing her traditional stiletto-height heels.
There you have it, this was not a body double, a Melania Trump imposter, or Woman X, the woman you see standing next to Donald Trump in those pictures is his wife, the First Lady Melania Trump.
This body double rumor gives Melania Trump something in common with Hillary Clinton besides both women having the title of the first lady added to their life history. According to another article from Buzzfeed, there was the same type of conspiracy theory making the rounds online about Hillary Clinton back in 2016.
This came about right after Hillary Clinton announced she had pneumonia on the campaign trail. She had left a 9/11 tribute earlier than planned because she wasn’t feeling well. Then later that day when Hillary Clinton appeared outside her daughter’s home in New York City looking so much better, the Hillary Clinton body double conspiracy theory was born.
That Hillary rumor had all the makings of the Melania rumor today, with the “fake hair” and even the “fake nose” being spotted in those side-by-side pictures being posted across the vast cyberspace of the social media sites. Even President Trump tweeted on the claims of Hillary’s body double back when it was going viral.
Part of the rumor suggested when she came out to wave to reporters and show the world she was just fine, she had no Secret Service agents around her, which wasn’t true. This was shown in panned out pictures later. Donald Trump tweeted, “I’m not convinced of #HillarysBodyDouble but you have to admit no Secret Service around her in street is weird.” Just like the Melania Trump body double story, the impersonator for Hillary Clinton was ID’d. It was none other than Hillary Clinton herself!
[Featured Image by Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Images]