Vanity, thy name is Trump.
The narcissistic president’s conceit was exposed by an unlikely source as tech website Gizmodo published an exposé today on the White House efforts to alter photos of Trump posted to Facebook and Instagram to make his fingers look longer, his body thinner, and his faceless saggy and decrepit.
Apparently, the president’s obsession with denouncing “fake news” exempts photos of his corpulence-in-chief in addition to his own political statements.
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Gizmodo cites “at least three different retouched photos on President Trump’s social media pages that have been published since October of 2018,” and provides before and after versions of the photos that have been retouched to prove its point.
For example, take this meme posted to both Trump’s official Facebook page as well as his Instagram account that features the president looking fit and determined to match the propaganda message of strength the meme is trying to convey.
Now compare it side by side with the unaltered original which Gizmodo found on the White House Flickr page.
As the website points out, “Trump’s right shoulder has been slimmed down and his face is looking thinner. He’s also gotten a haircut—well, a digital one anyway—and in one of the strangest alterations, Trump’s fingers have been made slightly longer. Seriously,” Gizmodo writes.
Ah, the wonders of Photoshop!
Trump has been extremely sensitive ever since the 80s when he was regularly referred to as the “short-fingered vulgarian” in the satirical publication Spy magazine. Journalist Graydon Carter who gave Trump the mocking sobriquet before leaving Spy to become editor of Vanity Fair has written that the president has been livid over the insult for decades now.
“To this day, I receive the occasional envelope from Trump,” Carter wrote in 2015, before Trump won the presidency. “There is always a photo of him—generally a tear sheet from a magazine. On all of them he has circled his hand in gold Sharpie in a valiant effort to highlight the length of his fingers. I almost feel sorry for the poor fellow because, to me, the fingers still look abnormally stubby.”
Gizmodo even provides a GIF that dissolves between the two versions of the photo so you can watch Trump’s fingers grow right before your very eyes. The website also features several other before and after comparisons that highlight the extent to which Trump is willing to distort even the reality of his own body in his efforts to bolster his fragile ego.
While a little photo retouching is pretty far down on the extensive list of President Trump’s offences since taking office, the very nature of the narcissism that motivates the visual deceit is the basis for much of what is wrong with the Trump presidency. The substitution of lies and illusion for reality is the modus operandi behind everything that Trump does.
Gizmodo‘s look behind the curtain provides a rare view of the “hamberder” factory at work and is worth reading for its insight into the pathetically sad insecurity that rules our Dissembler-in-Chief’s life.
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Original reporting by Matt Novack at Gizmodo.