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Fake Melania Trump conspiracy
via Twitter (@mrbenbannister)

A brief history of fake Melania

2020 is so whack that a First Lady body-double doesn’t seem so crazy

It’s hard to look at Melania Trump now without considering that you could be looking at a barely-passable doppelgänger, and that the ‘real’ Melanina has either withdrawn from public life, been murdered, or perhaps never even existed at all. Was she a long-game invention by President Donald Trump’s team to make him seem more electable, decades before? Or is she a very real woman trapped in a very unhappy marriage, blinking morse code help signals to Twitter liberals to suss out? No one can say for sure, but the prevailing conspiracy is that she has at least one body-double, possibly an entire team on rotation, to stand in for her when she has an engagement she’d rather not attend.

These rumours have been circulating ever since Trump was elected leader of the free world back in 2016, but why, exactly? Let’s take a look in this brief history of Fake Melania.

WHY DO PEOPLE THINK THERE’S A FAKE MELANIA?

Everyone loves a good conspiracy, don’t they? Just look at QAnon. And especially when it’s concerning an event so extraordinary that it couldn’t possibly be true. We’re still arguing over whether humans landed on the moon, for example, and whether Bush did 9/11, so what about the idea that someone would willingly marry Donald Trump. There must be another explanation, right? 

There are genuine reasons for why we think like this. “Especially in times of stress, exaggerated febrile explanations of unwelcome reality come to the surface of American life and attract support,” argues civil liberties lawyer and author Frank Donner when writing back in 1980, and I think it’s fair to say that 2020 is certainly a time of immense stress.

THE INITIAL SIGHTING

On October 13 NBC News posted a tweet: “‘We've done a great job in Puerto Rico,’ President Trump says of hurricane relief efforts”, with a picture (now since deleted, hmmm sus) of Trump accompanied by Melania. Guardian columnist Marina Hyde, who likes to think she launched the conspiracy (she didn’t), quote-tweeted the picture with the caption: “Absolutely convinced Melania is being played by a Melania impersonator these days. Theory: she left him weeks ago”, and it went viral.

This wasn’t the first suggestion of a body-double – A Business Insider article investigating the conspiracy found images and Tweet threads that do suggest that Melania has a working lookalike a bit earlier. Hyde’s tweets were the first time the theory gained significant traction online. Reliably, Twitter users were quick to screenshot the image before the cogs of a CIA cover-up could grind into motion:

DOES THE GOVERNMENT HAVE AN EXPLANATION?

In March 2018, by which time suspicions of fake Melania had reached fever pitch, Trump felt compelled to address the situation following a trip to Alabama. “The Fake News photoshopped pictures of Melania, then propelled conspiracy theories that it’s actually not her by my side in Alabama and other places,” he said in a tweet, adding that the theories were getting “increasingly deranged”.

Melania’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, was also forced into a statement denying the allegations, saying that that “went beyond the petty mean-girl spirit that we’ve grown accustomed to”. They would say that would they ;)

WHAT’S THE LATEST EVIDENCE?

A new picture of Melania Trump has aroused suspicion once more. In the picture, ‘Ms Trump’ ;) can be seen boarding Marine One, the presidential helicopter, as she departed with the President for the final debate in Nashville, Tennessee, ahead of the US election.

Her teeth were cited as a giveaway by one Twitter user, with another saying: “That’s... SO not Melania. They didn’t even try”. Another pointed out that “the smile” in this most recent picture was the giveaway: “the actress obviously didn’t take this role seriously,” they added.

The First Lady’s spokeswoman again felt she had to intervene: “Once again, we find ourselves consumed with a ridiculous non-story when we could be talking about the work the first lady is doing on behalf of children,” she told CNN.

Regardless of whether Melania is fake or not, what is very real is that Donald Trump presents a major threat to the US and the rest of the world, and American citizens have the chance to change that on November 3. So go and vote people!