A picture of Melania Trump joining her husband, President Donald Trump, on a helicopter ride is sparking jokes that she appears to have been replaced by a “body double,” reviving a conspiracy theory that has followed the first lady since she first moved into the White House.
The picture circulated this weekend showing the first lady along with Trump waving while onboard a helicopter. Many believed that Melania appeared off, showing a different facial structure than in the past. The appearance came after reports of her absence from the campaign trail, with NBC News reporting that she had been “notably absent” from events after having recovered from a bout with COVID-19.
Melania had been scheduled this week to attend her first rally in more than a year, joining her husband on a visit to Erie, Pennsylvania, but her office announced just hours before the trip that she was still suffering a cough and would not be able to attend.
“Mrs. Trump continues to feel better every day following her recovery from Covid-19, but with a lingering cough, and out of an abundance of caution, she will not be traveling today,” spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement released to media.
The circumstances, along with the pictures that circulated this weekend in which many believed her appearance was a bit off, led many to share the images and crack jokes online.
It’s like when General Hospital replaces someone overnight except we don’t even get that voiceover explaining that Melania will be played by someone else for the next 10 days.
(I don’t think it’s a body double. I think she just saw someone in the distance she genuinely likes.) https://t.co/ccQKjaPN91
— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) October 25, 2020
This is not the first time that images of the first lady sparked speculation that she appeared to have been replaced by a “body double.” Back in March 2019, she joined her husband for a trip to Alabama to visit a region that had been hit by deadly tornado strikes. Some believed that photos of her visit seemed off, with her appearance differing from what many were used to seeing.
As The Inquisitr noted at the time, the conspiracy theories that Melania Trump has a body double date back to at least October 2017, when side-by-side photos were posted showing the model with what seemed to be different features than in the past.
After this weekend, television producer Andrew Kimmel posted a compilation of images from the supposed doppelganger appearances and asked Twitter followers which one they found to be the most convincing.
— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) October 25, 2020
But others pushed back against the theory, attributing any difference to the fact that the photo was taken from a distance. Melania did already travel with the president once this week, joining him on stage after the completion of the second and final presidential debate.