A conspiracy theory that claims Democratic Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania has been replaced by a “body double” has been repeatedly mocked by the senator.
The theory, which became popular in right-wing circles online earlier this year while Fetterman was hospitalized for in-patient depression treatment, has recently experienced a resurgence following a slight change to the senator’s facial hair.
Conspiracy theorists suggested last month that Fetterman shaving off his distinctive goatee and replacing it with a bushy mustache, which the senator said he did after losing a bet to his 13-year-old son, was evidence that he may have a doppelgänger.
The theory gained more steam this week while Fetterman was under increasing fire from Republicans due to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s decision to change the chamber’s dress code, which many suggested was done to accommodate Fetterman’s casual attire.
Joe Calvello, Fetterman’s communications director, on Sunday joked that the dress code change amounted to a “great day for John Fetterman’s body double” in a post to X, formerly Twitter, explaining that “we don’t have to buy them suits anymore.”
The senator himself also offered fresh feedback on the body double claim this week. When asked about the theory on Tuesday, Fetterman told HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic that it was “all truth,” referring to himself as “Senator Guy Incognito”—a reference to a doppelgänger for The Simpsons character Homer Simpson.
Fetterman shared audio of the exchange to X on Tuesday, while commenting: “Big thanks to my body double, Sen. Guy Incognito, for taking hallway questions for me.”
The Senator later shared an image of The Simpsons character to X, captioning it “Senator Guy Incognito (D-PA).”
Last month, following his change of facial hair, Fetterman referenced the theory while sharing a post of himself holding a cardboard cutout of his fellow Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey over his face and writing, “Uh oh I think @Bob_Casey has a body double.”
In April, weeks after being released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Fetterman shared a mocking video of himself addressing the theory.
“You know, during my time [in] the hospital, the fringy fringies really came up with a conspiracy that I have a body double,” Fetterman says in the video. “And I just want you to know that is just crazy.”
The video ends with Fetterman interacting with another shot of himself as the supposed body double while the song Just the Two of Us by Bill Withers plays.
Newsweek reached out for comment to Fetterman’s office via email on Tuesday night.
The theory is not based on any real evidence and apparently instead relies on speculation about Fetterman’s looks in different photographs. It may also have been buoyed by recent improvements in the senator’s ability to speak clearly following his recovery from a stroke in 2022.
In any case, finding a convincing body double for Fetterman would be a tall order, especially given his large size and distinctive look. As Fetterman’s Chief of Staff Adam Jentleson said in comments to Rolling Stone, “there aren’t many 6-foot, 8-inch men of his size lying around.”
The notion of Fetterman being a double has been particularly popular among adherents to the QAnon conspiracy theory—which casts former President Donald Trump as the hero in a secret war against blood-drinking Democrat “elites” running a child sex trafficking ring.
Some QAnon followers have also claimed that Trump’s former Democratic presidential election rivals, President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have been replaced by body doubles.