Melania Trump often sports big sunglasses, but some conspiracy theorists think the concealing accessory is a sign that someone else stands in for the first lady during public appearances. Is she simply shielding her eyes from the sun's damaging rays, or could Melania Trump be using a body double?
A particular video of President Trump addressing the media about hurricane relief in Puerto Rico on Friday sparked suspicions. However, a former Secret Service agent who served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama (and has subsequently run for public office as a Republican), calls the story "crazy."
"The Secret Service doesn’t use body doubles," Dan Bongino tells Bustle.
In the video in question, the first lady stands next to the president as he speaks. Her signature sunglasses cover her eyes, and she's largely unresponsive. Although her composure and actions aren't much different from other times she's accompanied her husband to public events, some thought her blank expression meant it was really someone else behind the frames. People even began scrutinizing the shape of the first lady's nose in different photos, some concluding that the president's counterpart on Friday was "Fake Melania" or "Melania Trump double."
If you choose to follow the theory that a Melania body double exists, there are two possible reasons: 1. The real first lady wanted to shirk her duties; or 2. The Secret Service thought it was an effective way to keep her safe.
Employing a decoy to fill in for you when you don't feel like going to work does sound tempting. But either way you look at it, there's no real evidence another person stood in for Melania on Friday, or any other day.
Nevertheless, Twitter's gonna Twitter.
Melania's eyes might be covered in the video, but the first lady is wearing her wedding ring and a tan trench coat she's worn in the past. OK, sure, the Secret Service could easily put her clothes on a body double to make a switch believable. But photos from the same day surfaced showing Melania without her sunglasses on, and it's undoubtedly the woman married to the president.
Not to mention, the Secret Service's job is to protect the first family no matter where they go. Unless the agency thought there was a specific and imminent threat to her life on a particular day, there wouldn't be a need for a "Fake Melania."
Apparently, the internet enjoys a good body double conspiracy theory, though, because similar suspicions surfaced about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. People claimed photos of the then-presidential candidate leaving a 9/11 anniversary ceremony didn't look like the real Clinton.
She left the event because she wasn't feeling well, but internet sleuths concluded that the person in the pictures looked too healthy to have pneumonia.
One conspiracy theorist also believed a photo of President Obama at dinner with his daughter Malia in February actually showed a body double standing in for the former commander-in-chief because of the curves of the pictured person's nose. That claim didn't catch on quite like the theories about Melania and Clinton, but it does prove that people are always suspicious of decoys.
Although there's no proof the U.S. Secret Service uses body doubles — and a former Secret Service agent himself says they don't — examples of political body doubles can be found in history. Saddam Hussein, Joseph Stalin, and British World War II General Bernard Montgomery were all known to apparently have people stand in for them.
So, yes, political decoys may exist, but it was likely the real Melania standing beside President Trump on Friday. The Secret Service may restrict some of the first family's actions in order to keep them safe, but body doubles aren't known to be one of the agency's ploys.