November 28, 2022

Why Conspiracy Theorists Want To Dig Up Ivana Trump’s Grave

At this point we’re all familiar with the heavy-hitting contenders for conspiracy-of-the-week, right? Classic mainstays include Pizzagate, reptilians in governments, 9-11 was an inside job, the Hollow Moon hypothesis (hint: don’t let the word “hypothesis” fool you into believing its credibility), and who knows what else? Maybe Bill Gates is remotely controlling your dog via 5G particles implanted via a quantum laser full of COVID. In the end, such yarns rank up there with time-tested campfire boogeymen stories or folklore about cryptids like La Chupacabra. That is, provided they don’t derail a functional society.

Well, lovers of all things weird and/or facepalming while staring at your computer screen — rejoice! You’ve got another ghoulish bedtime tale to add to the conspiracy pile: #Casketgate (cue the ominous pipe organ music). Not to be confused with all the other #Somethingsomethinggates deployed by anyone lacking creative naming conventions, this one centers on the nation’s former commander-in-chief, Donald Trump. More specifically, it centers on the former president’s ex-wife, Ivana Trump. Toss in some talk of secret documents, tax avoidance, and golf course burials, and bam: you’ve got a conspiracy cocktail ready for chugging and zealous retweeting. 

Back on July 14 of this year, Ivana Trump was found at the bottom of the stairs in her New York City apartment, dead from “blunt impact injuries,” as the BBC reports. The death was ruled accidental. Surprisingly enough, #Casketgate doesn’t involve any conspiratorial foolishness about her death. Rather, believers are concerned with what happened to her body after the fact. 

Holes in one, and in the toilet

Here’s a good starting place: “Dear @FBI, I know u don’t need advice from a soap star, but having been in 10 or 10k implausible storylines in my 37 yrs, may I recommend digging up Ivana. Cleary it didn’t take 10 pall bearers to carry a liposuctioned 73 yr old who methinks was in her weight in classified docs,” Twitter user @NancyLeeGrahn wrote on August 11. This tweet conveys the general gist of #Casketgate: Donald Trump used his deceased ex-wife’s casket as a subterranean storage locker for stacks of documents he’d rather keep away from prying eyes. And yes, Ivana Trump found her final resting place at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, as Intelligencer reports. An odd choice? Sure.

As The Guardian explains, the tale claims to derive its credibility from other sketchy and hard-to-believe stories from the White House during Trump’s presidency. As those stories say, Trump reportedly regularly ripped up memos, reports, drafts, what-have-you, and flushed them down the toilet. If so, he could be guilty of violating the Presidential Records Act of 1978 (described on the National Archives).

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In an article titled “Trump’s telltale toilet,” Axios published pictures of fragments of allegedly Trump-shredded documents floating in the toilet water of an unspecified commode. The story was referenced again and again on sites like CNN, The Conversation, People, the U.K.’s Independent, Insider, and more. The only catch? This paper-shredding habit was publicized in conjunction with the upcoming release of an exposé-style book about Trump titled “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America.” 

Dig the rabbit hole deeper

At risk of falling prey to the conspiratorial rabbit hole — because where else could it go but deeper? — The Guardian delves into further detail about #Casketgate. But since this is about a conspiracy, things are simultaneously ultra-vague and ultra-nit-picky. For example, no one can answer a basic question like, “What documents exactly did Trump bury with his ex-wife?” And yet, there are entire Twitter threads about why an abundance of pallbearers absolutely proves that there were secret objects stowed in Ivana’s coffin next to her dead body. Beyond this, speculation abounds.

A separate Guardian article describes why Trump may have chosen one of his golf courses as a resting place for his ex-wife. The article quotes Brooke Harrington, professor of sociology at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, as saying, “As a tax researcher, I was skeptical of rumors Trump buried his ex-wife in that sad little plot of dirt on his Bedminster, NJ golf course just for tax breaks. So I checked the NJ tax code & folks … it’s a trifecta of tax avoidance. Property, income & sales tax, all eliminated.” Nothing to do with casket-buried documents, though.

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On the other side of things, we’ve got the FBI’s recent seizure of documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. This plants a seed among the minds of conspiracy lovers that maybe, just maybe, there were some other documents that Trump didn’t fork over. But hey, wouldn’t he just have ripped them up and flushed them?