President Donald Trump has long used his Twitter account to make extraordinary boasts. From his claims that he is the “Ernest Hemingway of 140 characters” to bragging that he is uniquely gifted with extraordinary genes, the former reality television star has adeptly used social media to re-center the world’s attention on himself as he sees fit.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2013
And now, Gizmodo has discovered that the president is also posting fake photos of himself that slim down his portly physique. In at least three cases, the 72-year-old former real estate tycoon posted altered photos of himself that cut away the excessive hamburger chub to create a more svelte and slender appearance.
Comparing side-by-side versions of a photo posted to the White House Flickr page that was subsequently recycled in a meme over the past weekend, it become clear that the president’s propaganda team subtly removed his facial flab while slimming down the right shoulder of his coat.
President Trump also extended his finger by about an inch. The imperious head of state has flown off the handle on repeated occasions after being accused of having “abnormally stubby” fingers and small hands.
In a far more egregious example, a Getty Images photo from then-candidate Trump’s June 2016 trip to Scotland was edited for a Facebook post that once again gave the president a nip-and-tuck, a finger enlargement, a needed tailoring of his baggy suit, and a subtle grooming of his infamous mane.
In the third example it’s difficult to immediately notice the edits that were made to the president’s physique in a side-by-side comparison, but a gif shows the transformation the photo underwent between its raw Flickr form and the eventual meme. The gif shows that the White House promotional team gave the president a noticeable digital liposuction, transforming his stomach mush into toned-up muscle. The movement of the president’s oversized necktie is a dead giveaway.
The president’s physical fitness has long been the fodder of late-night comedians, social media posters and news media coverage. Trump has made no secret of his love for McDonald’s cheeseburgers – which he is said to consume in bed while watching television (like Fox News)– and he has also argued that his genes give him enough energy to not require any sort of physical exercise (beyond golf).
The pear-shaped president is fond of wearing dumpy suits said to be manufactured by ultra-luxurious Italian brand Brioni, which cost upwards of $8,000.
— Danny Zuker (@DannyZuker) April 9, 2018
The tweaking of photos like the examples above are nothing new, in historical terms. Long before Adobe Photoshop and since the dawn of photography, politicians and notable figures have altered images of themselves before releasing them to the public.
Portrait artists for President Abraham Lincoln once superimposed a seated Honest Abe’s head onto a photograph of Southern politician and slavery advocate John C. Calhoun standing erect in a proud pose, resulting in a regal image that most U.S. citizens recognize. In the 1930s and ’40s, propagandists in the Soviet Union erased purged party opponents standing alongside Joseph Stalin from official photos, often reducing group photos to an image of the Soviet leader standing alone.
Prior to the invention of photography, portrait painters in the royal courts of Europe typically portrayed their subjects in as flattering a light as possible, often disguising the physical mutations and hereditary deformations that resulted from inbreeding, a practice that was the norm among the incest-riddled ruling dynasties at the time.
President Trump is known to be quite sensitive to criticism and has often used Twitter to ridicule the body size and weight of adversaries such as comedian Rosie O’Donnell and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. This has served to egg on social media personalities who have created hilarious and often outlandish doctored images of the imperious leader.
Prior to running for office, the future president unintentionally retweeted an altered image of himself by satirist Vic Berger IV that grotesquely exaggerated his flabby neck, artificially-tanned skin color, exposed scalp, and stringy, thinning hair.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2014
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