First lady Melania Trump’s reserved public persona has been the target of a slew of conspiracy theories since her husband’s 2016 election, all of which her staff have been quick to shut down.
It’s hard to track which one came first, but it’s sure none of them will be the last.
Here are four outlandish conspiracy theories about Trump, and the reasoning behind their spread.
Some think she’s a Russian spy.
As “evidence,” internet commenters point to a chat she had with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a dinner for last year’s G-20 Summit.
While Trump doesn’t speak Russian, she does know English, French, German, Italian, and Serbian, in addition to her native Slovenian – more languages than any previous American first lady.
Many saw her engaged in conversation at dinner with Putin, and reports described the two as friendly during the meal.
But there is no proof that Trump and Putin have had any other interaction, and no reason to think she has performed any work as a Russian spy beyond the occasional satire piece.
She has worked as a model and is a self-described “full-time mum,” but hasn’t mentioned Russian intelligence as a specialty.
Some think she doesn’t live in the White House.
There’s a “persistent” rumour that Trump lives in a separate house in DC with her parents and son, Barron Trump.
In a Washington Post story about the first lady’s private life, her office denied the rumour as “1,000% false.” Trump’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, added, “We laugh at it all the time.”
White House social secretary Rickie Niceta Lloyd called the rumour “an urban legend,” and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was “ridiculous.”
“Just when you think the Washington Post can’t get things any more wrong, they do,” Sanders said. “The first lady lives here at the White House. We see her here regularly.”
Trump took longer than usual to move to the White House after her husband took office, spending the first five months of his presidency in New York City while Barron finished school in Manhattan.
Some think she has a body double.
The theory first sprang to life when some thought Trump had been replaced by a look-alike for a public appearance, and continued when she was pictured alongside a Secret Service agent with similar hair and complexion.
Business Insider’s Kate Taylor dug into the mystery and noticed the agent was always wearing heels in photos of her with the first lady.
The photos of the agent have Trump in them, which would make it pretty hard for her to be a “body double” for the first lady.
Some think she spends little to no time with her husband.
Trump’s life inside the White House reportedly includes very little time in the West Wing with her husband, a claim her staff attributes to the couple’s independently busy schedules.
The two do appear at official events for each other, and are frequently photographed together.
Spokeswoman Grisham said Trump is primarily focused on being a mum, a wife, and the first lady. “The rest is just noise,” she said.
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