FACT CHECK: Was Melania Trump Photographed Digging Ivana Trump’s Grave?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows former first lady Melania Trump digging a grave for former President Donald Trump’s ex-wife Ivana Trump.

Verdict: False

The photo is digitally altered. The original image shows Melania Trump breaking ground on a tennis court in 2019.

Fact Check:

Ivana Trump, the first wife of the former president, died at the age of 73 after reportedly sustaining injuries to her torso in a fall at her residence in New York City July 14, according to ABC News. Ivana Trump was buried at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey July 20, the New York Post reported.

An image shared on Facebook appears to be a screenshot of an Instagram post from art critic Jerry Saltz that shows Melania Trump, the current wife of Donald Trump, participating in the burial of Ivana Trump. It shows Melania Trump smiling as she holds a shovel and stands on top of the grave. “Truly one of the sickest images of late: Melania Trump burying Ivana Trump on the New Jersey Trump Golf course,” reads part of the Instagram post’s caption.

The image is digitally altered. A reverse image search found that the image of Melania Trump stems from a breaking ground ceremony that occurred at the White House Tennis Court Pavilion in 2019, according to its description on Alamy.

“U.S First Lady Melania Trump takes a ceremonial shovel of soil during the groundbreaking ceremony for the new White House Tennis Pavilion on the south grounds of the White House October 8, 2019 in Washington, DC,” reads the image’s description.

The image also appeared on Melania Trump’s archived FLOTUS Twitter account. (RELATED: Did Donald Trump Release A Statement Referring to His Recovery From COVID-19 As ‘Herculean’?)

That genuine image appears to have been meshed with one that shows Ivana Trump’s gravesite and was published by the New York Post in a July 28 article titled, “Photos show Ivana Trump’s grave at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ.” The “Trump National Cemetery” sign visible in the photo appears to have been digitally inserted into the photoshopped image shared on Facebook and Instagram.

Saltz later updated the caption of his Instagram post to acknowledge its inauthentic origins. “I thought it real. It’s still real to me, anyway,” reads part of the updated caption.

This is not the first time misinformation about Ivana Trump’s death has spread online. Check Your Fact recently debunked a claim suggesting Donald Trump had called her death “highly suspicious.”

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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