The photo Donald Trump doesn’t want you to see but shared anyway
William Moon captioned the photo as Donald Trump "dancing with the sunset and strong winds ...on South Lawn." Photo: Twitter/William Moon
Foundation. Concealer. Cover-up. Type that with “how to blend” into Google and any one of 179,000 results offer instructions on how not to look like you’ve just face-planted into a paint palette.
As he’s more likely to be tapping away at Twitter taunts, Donald Trump might have missed the how-to on such basics.
The hue of one of the world’s most recognisable faces certainly suggests as much.
On the weekend, the faux pas left the US President both orange and red-faced when a particularly unflattering image of him went viral.
But Mr Trump must see things a little differently because he claims he is the victim not of a poor primer but of Photoshop.
Or could it be that talking about #OrangeFace (yes, it was trending on Sunday) is to mask more important matters. Maybe. Read on.
“More Fake News. This was Photoshopped, obviously, but the wind was strong and the hair looks good? Anything to demean!” Mr Trump wrote.
His tweet was in reaction to a photograph that showed the president walking across the lawn of the White House, his hair windswept and revealing a distinct difference between his hairline, his face and neck.
I'm not feeling the Mrs. Doubtfire remake pic.twitter.com/GEBoxgK7d9
— Spencer Althouse (@SpencerAlthouse) February 8, 2020
The picture was snapped by William Moon, a Trump enthusiast who on his White House Photos social page calls himself a White House correspondent (other journalists have since verified his identity as a press photographer).
A similar photo was taken at the same time by wire service Getty.
Moon also tweeted a black-and-white version of the photo – further highlighting the contrast.
He denied using Photoshop, but said that for the colourless version he adjusted the tone settings on Apple’s photo app.
Today, @realDonaldTrump was dancing with the sunset and strong winds when he walked to the Oval Office from the Marine One on the South Lawn.. Photo by William Moon in the White House on February 7, 2020 pic.twitter.com/GURvi4UeSO
— White House Photos (@photowhitehouse) February 8, 2020
US media has been trying for years to determine just how Mr Trump looks so bronzed even in the middle of winter.
The White House has previously denied he has a penchant for tanning beds, with a source in an investigation by The New York Times revealing the official line was that Mr Trump’s looks were down to “good genes” and a little powder before a TV interview.
Shades of revenge
A suspicious mind might hazard a guess that Mr Trump was so quick to share the photo he seemed to be suggesting he did not want people to see purely as a shady distraction.
See, the fuss about the president’s beauty habits and focus on his face came as heads rolled over far darker matters.
It had earlier emerged that the Trump administration had ousted two impeachment witnesses in apparent retribution for them giving damaging testimony during the trial: Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman and Ambassador Gordon Sondland.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed the firings as payback that showed why Republicans felt they had no choice but to be “accomplices” to the president.
After he was last week acquitted in the (Republican-controlled) Senate of charges relating to allegations he pressured Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden, Mr Trump had given hints witnesses wouldn’t go unpunished.
Sure enough, within two days Lt Colonel Vindman – the top Ukraine expert at the White House’s National Security Council – was escorted out of the building.
Mr Trump later tweeted that Lt Colonel Vindman had been “very insubordinate” and accused him of leaking information and having a record of poor performance.
“There is no question in the mind of any American why this man’s job is over, why this country now has one less soldier serving it at the White House,” Mr Pressman said in a statement.
“His honor (sic), his commitment to right, frightened the powerful.”
He added: “If we allow truthful voices to be silenced, if we ignore their warnings, eventually there will be no one left to warn us.”
Gordon Sondland and Colonel Vindman testified in the impeachment inquiry. Photo: Getty
Hours later, Mr Sondland said he had been recalled from his post as US ambassador to the European Union. Mr Trump had hinted at Mr Sondland’s dismissal.
The two men had served as star witnesses during the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives’ impeachment investigation last year.
They’re not the only ones who’ve lost their posts.
ABC News in the US reported that of the 12 witnesses who testified publicly, only four remain in their jobs: The others resigned or were moved to different roles.
Among those to lose their high-profile job was Lt Colonel Vindman’s twin brother Yevgeny, who worked as a lawyer at the NSC. He was also escorted out of the White House.
Lt Colonel Vindman, a decorated war veteran, had testified in November that he “couldn’t believe what I was hearing” when he listened in on a July 25 phone call between Mr Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
It was in that phone call that the US President apparently pressured his counterpart to dig up dirt on Mr Biden.
In a bombshell testimony, Mr Sondland said that he was following Mr Trump’s orders when he pushed Ukrainian officials to carry out investigations sought by the president.
“I am grateful to President Trump for having given me the opportunity to serve,” Mr Sondland said after he was removed from his EU post.
Both men had been subpoenaed to give evidence.