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On the day of the first-ever Women’s March in 2017, resisters of Donald Trump’s presidency busted out their best signs telling the then-future First Lady Melania Trump to “blink twice” if she needed to secretly convey that she was being held hostage by her husband, the then-president elect.
Now, it appears this obvious joke about Melania’s limited autonomy has become somewhat of a real concern, particularly after the first lady tweeted out an eerily familiar account dismissing her public absence.
“I see the media is working overtime speculating where I am and what I’m doing. Rest assured, I’m here at the White House with my family, feeling great, and working hard on behalf of children and the American people!” Trump’s account tweeted on Wednesday afternoon.
I see the media is working overtime speculating where I am & what I'm doing. Rest assured, I'm here at the @WhiteHouse w my family, feeling great, & working hard on behalf of children & the American people!— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) May 30, 2018
Sure, the context of Melania’s tweet might make her response appear innocent and understandable—Melania was last seen 20 days ago, when she accompanied the president during the return of three American hostages of North Korea. Days later, she was checked into the hospital for kidney problems and stayed for a week despite the typical recovery taking a day. And yes, the media did want to know where in the world the Carmen Sandiego of the White House had gone off to. If not avoiding her husband at the “winter White House” in Florida, or from the top stories of Trump Tower in Manhattan, then where could she be?
However, none of that seemed to matter to those reading Melania’s dismissive tweet. It was the content of her statement that caught the attention of would-be Trump tweet experts, who clearly saw through this attempt to quell rumors of Trump’s disappearance and into the heart of who was actually behind this laughable media response.
As HuffPost’s Ashley Feinberg, the internet detective who cracked former FBI Director James Comey’s Twitter account, pointed out, the tweet echoed the president’s most-prevalent criticism of the media, as well as several of his favorite empty yet patriotism-bolstering go-to phrases: “the media is working overtime,” “working hard,” and “on behalf of the American people.”
The first lady’s tweet practically read like a ransom note-esque splicing of the president’s greatest hits. Other Twitter users were quick to make the connection, too.
There is a 0.00000% chance Melania wrote this tweet.— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) May 30, 2018
Weird grammar and syntax? Exclamation marks?
Sounds familiar. I can't quite put my tiny orange finger on it.https://t.co/TEbG2hsKvT
Dear Media:— Wendy Wasserman Schultz (@dvorakoelling) May 30, 2018
Please rest assured my Twitter account has been taken over by a White House aide while I get my paperwork in order and my boxes packed.
Melanie (get it? because my "husband" doesn't know my name). #BeAnythingButMarriedToDonald
Blink twice if he has your phone. https://t.co/n7MB8ajN8b— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) May 30, 2018
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Others didn’t conclude that the president was definitively behind the first lady’s tweet, but agreed that Trump definitely didn’t type such a statement. At least, not willingly.
I can tell Melania didn't write this because it sounds nothing like Michelle Obama https://t.co/AAkRG1q801— Sarah Cooper (@sarahcpr) May 30, 2018
love that the single most consistent thing about Melania Trump is the thought "Melania Trump definitely did not write this" https://t.co/KjSnEA4pMU— Anthony Oliveira (@meakoopa) May 31, 2018
this is exactly what a hostage would tweet https://t.co/XnZzOpoJL3— marisa kabas (@MarisaKabas) May 31, 2018
Ha! Whoever this is, give Melania back her phone... https://t.co/6U9B129EVN— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) May 30, 2018
"Trust me, Melania, the person tweeting this." https://t.co/0OzyWvHiCR— Dana Schwartz (@DanaSchwartzzz) May 30, 2018
Donald has communicated in the past under the pseudonyms John Barron, John Miller, and David Dennison.— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) May 30, 2018
Looks like we can add "Melania Trump" to that list. https://t.co/265HX3zQNM
And some spectators weren’t so sure the tweet meant Trump was “safe” after all.
oh she dead https://t.co/ow29ClsFnY— FIONA (@BigHPrivateEye) May 30, 2018
It’s safe to say that an image of Melania holding today’s newspaper as proof that she still exists would comfort the “children & American people” she’s “working” for. Instead of, you know, that modern-day drivel encouraging the internet to not look at the man behind the green (or orange?) curtain.
Please hold up a newspaper. https://t.co/fTVHisgY9K— Glenn Fleishman (@GlennF) May 30, 2018
Could you post a photo of yourself with today's newspaper? https://t.co/HmXjSiJ9vx— Graham YES Linehan (@Glinner) May 30, 2018
tweet a selfie with today’s newspaper— Imani Gandy (@AngryBlackLady) May 30, 2018
Check and mate. https://t.co/FRE9nvxzMF
#WhereIsMelania, folks? Get it trending.
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.