Fact Check: Melania Trump Does Not Have a Stunt Double

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“First Lady Melania Trump at a Toys for Tots Event” by The White House is marked with CC PDM 1.0

Simone Schwartz

As a result of modern technology and the wonders of social media, we have the entire world at our fingertips. All it takes is one search to find all the latest news and current events. But how much of that information is genuinely accurate? There’s no doubt that we’ve seen an increase in false data and “manipulated media” over the years, and we’ve also seen an increase in fact-checking by social media platforms as a result in order to combat this false/fake information.

 One of the more common political conspiracy theories that surfaced over this past week and throughout the current administration of President Trump was one claiming that the First Lady has a body double. These claims were sparked by a photo that surfaced of President Trump and the First Lady on Marine One en route to the last presidential debate in Nashville, Tennessee. The photographer took multiple photos of the two as they were leaving. According to the Facebook post, some people are inferring that this is a Secret Service Agent that follows alongside her acting as her body double. 

In fact, in another post that shows a screenshot of the same photo taken, the caption states, “Today’s photo of a fake Melania. They think we won’t notice this?”

This is not the first time people have claimed that Melania Trump is not the one in these photos. In October of 2017, a CNN report aired footage of the First Lady during a press conference where rumors suggested that this was not the ‘real’ Melania.

However, these accusations of the First Lady having a body double are false. These were actually just distorted photos and videos that surfaced throughout the internet. Social media users claim that these photos don’t look like Melania, but there’s multiple factors that could result in that effect. It is confirmed that these distorted photos were caused by effects of a “poorly working television.” The poor photography caused Melania to appear quite different in the video and picture. 

This conspiracy theory has also developed due to the fact that one of the First Lady’s Secret Service Agents apparently looks “strikingly similar” to her. Despite their similarities, the United States Secret Service Agents do not work as body doubles, as confirmed by former Secret Service Agent Jonathan Wackrow. 

During another instance in March of 2019, there was a separate theory that developed when President Trump and the First Lady went to visit tornado damage in Alabama. At that time, Trump debunked the myth by claiming that the photos were a result of “Fake News who photoshopped photos of Melania,” but while we know that there was no body double for Melania, there is no evidence that his claim that they were photoshopped is accurate.

All in all, given how dependent we are on social media sources for our news intake, it’s important to stay cautious and be on the lookout for inaccurate information. Fact-checking in this period of time is crucial to obtain relevant, honest information.