Will the real Melania Trump stand up? Internet abuzz with body double conspiracy theories

Melania Trump’s face, in the widely circulated Facebook video, appears to be slightly shrunken, distorted, and rounder.

world Updated: Oct 20, 2017 14:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Melania Trump,Donald Trump,Fake Melania
A combo of Melania Trump from the widely circulated Facebook video (left) and the original video on CNN.(snopes.com)

Is US first lady Melania Trump using a body double? Social media is abuzz with conspiracy theories because of a pair of sunglasses and the way her nose looks.

The theories began when actress and comedian Andrea Wagner Barton shared a video and images of Melania standing next to her husband Donald Trump as he addressed the media about hurricane relief for Puerto Rico. Barton’s Facebook post has been shared nearly 1.4 lakh times and the video has garnered over 13 million views.

In a series of tweets, user @JoeVargas also questioned the use of the ‘imposter’ in place of Melania. ‘This is not Melania. To think they would go this far & try & make us think its her on TV is mind blowing. Makes me wonder what else is a lie,’ read the tweet that has been retweeted nearly 70K times.

The footage shows the first lady sporting huge black sunglasses and a ‘fake nose’.

Conspiracy theorists have zeroed in on Trump making a ‘suspicious’ comment about his wife. Trump says, ‘My wife Melania, she’s right here’ during the conference, to ‘convince the media it was her.’

CNN.com, in a report, quotes an employee and a former US Secret Service agent who has previously served the first family. “Mrs Trump’s lead agent is a woman ... and she happens to look a little like her, but physically, she is much shorter,” Jonathan Wackrow said.

“The lead agent has been on Trump’s protection team since the President took office and has spent time on a previous assignment with the Obama family, which made her a good fit for Melania Trump,” Wackrow said.

Fact-checking website, snopes.com, slammed the rumour and shared a combination picture of Melania from the Facebook video and the original October 13 video on CNN.com, from the same day. Melania’s face, in the Facebook video, appears to be slightly shrunken, distorted, and rounder.

The video being circulated on social media was captured by filming a television screen showing the CNN report. When compared to the actual video, it becomes apparent that the visual was caused by the TV screen and not a faux first lady, reports snopes.com.

A combo of Melania Trump from the widely circulated Facebook video (left) and the original video on CNN. (snopes.com)

Several other pictures from the day of the conference are also available on Getty Images and the Associated Press, many of which feature the first lady without the sunglasses, making the ‘decoy Melania’ claims appear feeble.

A United States Secret Service agent speaks with US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump in Beltsville on October 13. (Associated Press)

A body-language expert also negated the body double theories. “Her stature and facial gestures, like her slightly pursed lips and her nodding at her husband, are consistent with what we’ve seen before,” Joe Navarro, who has worked with the FBI for 25 years, told Vogue.

“Non-verbally, there’s nothing out of the ordinary about her behavior. The FLOTUS is very stoic by nature, which can make her more vulnerable to this kind of speculation,” said Navarro.

It was not long before Twitter was filled with ‘Decoygate’ memes. Take a look at the funniest ones:

First Published: Oct 20, 2017 14:21 IST