The fake Melania conspiracy theories have resurfaced on social media, triggered by new video footage of the First Lady and husband Donald Trump.
Trump left the White House with Melania on Wednesday evening to spend the final Christmas of his presidency at Mar-a-Lago. A clip showing the couple greeting reporters as they departed for his Palm Beach, Florida residence is now being widely circulated online.
The video shows Trump and Melania, who has on several occasions been the target of bizarre rumors suggesting that the president uses her body doubles to stand in for her at some public events, smiling and waving out to reporters as they walked over to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House.
'That's Not Melania'
Although there is little evidence to support the "body double" claim and despite multiple fact-checks by USA Today and Snopes, social media is once again rampant with theories that the woman alongside Trump was not Melania.
While some users pointed out "differences" in facial features between the "imposter" and the First Lady, others drew attention to the fact that the woman in the video was being more affectionate towards Trump than normal and her body language appeared different from that of the Melania.
"Could be one of his paid wife-stand-ins," wrote one user. "Her smile doesn't look stiff/fake like melanie's, hand-holding looks too pleasant (again, unlike mel's), and there's even a bounce to her gait like she's happy (because whomever she is, she ain't married to him so of course that's great)."
"Looks like Clone #2. Wider cheekbones," commented another. "I'm not a conspiracy theorist but that's not Melania," tweeted yet another.
Here are some of the other reactions:
The 'Fake Melania' Conspiracy Theory
As previously mentioned, this is not the first time the fake Melania conspiracy theory has been floated on social media. In October, a photo that was shared on social earlier this week sparked similar speculation about whether or not Trump is using a body double.
The picture, taken on Oct. 22, showed Melania again in large dark sunglasses, boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington with her husband, as previously reported.
The claim is being pushed for years now. For instance, back in 2018, some were convinced this was a "fake Melania" exiting Air Force One:
The origins of the theory can be traced back to 2017, after actor and comedian Andrea Wagner Barton pushed the claim in a Facebook post.