'Fake Melania' is fake news: Photo evidence debunks body double conspiracy theory

The latest internet conspiracy theory alleges that Melania Trump has a body double — but it’s definitely fake news.

Is that really Melania Trump standing next to the president? (Photo: Getty Images)

During an NBC broadcast of President Trump’s news briefing outside of the White House on Oct. 13, the first lady is seen standing by her husband’s side — but immediately following the clip, Marina Hyde, a columnist for the Guardian, insinuated that it was actually an impersonator.


While Hyde’s tweet spurred discussion, it wasn’t until comedian and actress Andrea Wagner Barton took to her Facebook page and entered both photographic and auditory evidence into play that the wild idea got widespread attention. “Will the real Melania please stand up?” Barton captioned her post featuring her own video of the news footage, as well as supplemental photos and written evidence to back up her thoughts.

Just days after Barton’s post, the theory spread, with more people and news outlets convinced that Melania wasn’t truly present that day. Reasons being what appears to be a bandage on the bridge of her nose (with some even claiming it’s fake), her lips, which look thinner than usual, and stringier and frizzed-out hair (Melania’s mane is typically polished and blown out perfectly, regardless of the weather), in addition to the oddity of her husband’s blatantly pointing her presence out. But, this could all be explained.

In a closer look at the video originally posted by NBC, as well as photos from that same day, it’s evident that the footage presented by Barton is a little off, simply because she filmed the CNN footage through her television screen. As a result, there’s a sort of halo cast around the first lady’s nose and lips, making it seem as though prosthetics (or some other odd disguise) are plausible. In reality, when photos are pulled directly from the sources there that day, the effect is gone and FLOTUS looks like her normal self.

Side-by-side photos of Melania on Oct. 13 and the television footage taken by Barton show the white halo surrounding FLOTUS’s features. (Photo: Getty Images / inset:CNN)

As for  POTUS’s “tell” when he so obviously pointed out his wife standing by his side, that’s not so weird either. Just one month earlier, when the pair was traveling to Florida following Hurricane Irma, the president spoke about his wife as if she wasn’t there, when she was in fact right next to him.

Further evidence of the first lady’s physical presence on Oct. 13 comes from photos that were taken once her sunglasses were off of her face. And there’s simply no denying that that is Melania Trump.

Alas, the first lady is seen without her sunglasses, proving that it’s her. (Photo: AP Images)

If you’re still not convinced that Melania is alive and well, conspiracy theorist expert Mike Rothschild can help to explain why everyone believed the conspiracy in the first place. “[Melania’s] reservedness is something we’re just not used to, so rather than simply accept her as new, we make up an alternate explanation for how she behaves. The original post isn’t craziness unbound, it’s making sense out of something that doesn’t make sense,” he wrote.

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