Published 4:56 PM EDT Mar 12, 2019
"The View" aired a segment Monday joking about an ongoing internet theory that first lady Melania Trump occasionally uses a body double. Trump's team is not happy.
"Some people think the first lady is using an impostor to stand in for her," "The View" co-host Joy Behar began. "You mean there are two women who have to pretend they're listening to (President Trump)?"
"I’ve always found it sad that a group of women spend so much time attacking another woman, whose only goal is to help children," Melania Trump's representative, Stephanie Grisham, wrote in an email to USA TODAY. "Yesterday’s show went beyond the petty, mean-girl spirit that we’ve grown accustomed to."
The Trumps visited Beauregard, Alabama, on Friday to survey damage caused by a major tornado that ripped through the state and killed 23 people. The online conspiracy theory resurfaced over the weekend after photos of Melania Trump wearing large sunglasses surfaced and made some social media users wonder if the woman photographed was actually the first lady.
"I see unconvincing Melania stunt-double is back," one Twitter user wrote.
"Won't the real First Lady please stand up?" another joked, parodying Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady."
"When there's a rumor like this, and memes all over the place, I think it catches on because there's an element of truth to the idea that she doesn't want to spend time with him," Behar said on "The View."
The talk-show panelists debated whether Trump's height and face shape varied between the photos in question. The panel's consensus: Even if the theory holds no truth, the memes are still pretty hilarious.
Co-host Ana Navarro added that "political reality is so absurd, you would almost believe anything. I think this is crazy and it's absurd, but it's also funny."
After "The View" posted the body-double clip online, Grisham criticized the show on Twitter for choosing "to laugh in the face of tragedy" while the Trumps "traveled to Alabama to pay their respects and comfort victims of the tornado devastation."
"People died, people lost family and people are hurting in Alabama," Grisham continued to USA TODAY. "I watched the President and First Lady hug, listen to and comfort people who had lost everything. The ladies of The View really should consider devoting that air time to helping people."
A representative of "The View" declined to comment.