Trump wades into Melania 'body double' conspiracy theory

Donald (not pictured) and Melania Trump arrive at Palm Beach International Airport to visit Alabama tornado victims.
Donald (not pictured) and Melania Trump arrive at Palm Beach International Airport to visit Alabama tornado victims.PHOTO: ZUMA WIRE/DPA

WASHINGTON (AFP) - No, President Donald Trump told conspiracy theorists on Wednesday (March 13), he does not have a body double of his wife accompanying him on work trips.

A bizarre claim that First Lady Melania Trump is sometimes replaced by another woman hidden behind large sunglasses and similar outfits resurfaced after Trump made a trip to the site of a deadly tornado in Alabama last week.

Days later, Trump leapt on the story, which is an outlier even by the feverish standards of the Washington rumour mill.

"The Fake News photoshopped pictures of Melania, then propelled conspiracy theories that it's actually not her by my side in Alabama and other places," he tweeted.

"They are only getting more deranged with time!"

The body double conspiracy theory has been around since at least 2017, but resurfaced Monday when participants on ABC television's morning show The View examined a surge of Internet chatter about the former fashion model's Alabama appearance.

The first lady's spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham called the show's joking on the subject "shameful."