So, About That Crazy Melania 'Body Double' Conspiracy
A joke, a real belief, publicity stunt? Who knows, but it took off. Hillary Clinton knows the feeling
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2017 7:33 AM CDT
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump glance on the South Lawn at the White House.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(Newser) – Melania Trump now has something in common with Hillary Clinton: The first lady is now the subject of her very own nutso conspiracy about a body double. The bizarre claim trended on social media Wednesday, and the Washington Post traces it back to this tweet: "This is not Melania," wrote Joe Vargas, adding a photo of Melania in shades next to her husband. "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." He followed up with other images, and Twitter users then took it from there, with some apparently buying in and others jokily adding their own twists. Philip Bump of the Post does a tongue-in-check investigation of all this to conclude: "Woman X is no other than … Melania Trump."

As for the "suspicious" difference in height in some of the contrast photos, flats vs heels is something of a no-brainer explanation, he notes. The bigger question may be whether the original conspiracist, Vargas, was serious or joking, notes USA Today. He uses the handle BuyLegalMeds and peddles hemp syrup, so if it was an attempt to generate publicity, points to Vargas. BuzzFeed, meanwhile, recalls that Clinton was the subject of a similar conspiracy back in 2016, and it gained enough steam that a woman known for her Clinton impersonations stepped forward to say that, no, she wasn't involved in any fake official appearances. "At least this time around the body double question seems to be much more lighthearted—but still totally false!" writes Jane Lytvynenko.

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