President Trump ascending the steps up to Air Force One, February 2, 2018.
Last Friday, at the end of one of those frenetic weeks of news that now happen every week, President Trump boarded Air Force One. The wind whipped across the tarmac with unusual force. Trump, who normally has a MAGA hat for such occasions, was unusually unprepared. As he ascended the stairs, cameras had a rear-facing view of the president’s scalp as the howling gusts lifted his combed-over strands straight into the air, and the long-concealed bare scalp below was briefly exposed to the daytime cable audience and to Ashley Feinberg, who spotted the big reveal. It was horrific:
It was the worst hair day of what has been a bad hair life. And it may seem cheap and low to mock Trump’s absurd efforts to conceal his hair loss. But Trump is a man obsessed with image in ways that go beyond the normal human concern with looking presentable. Image is Trump’s moral code. He dismisses his political rivals for being short. He sees his succession of wives as visual testament to his own status. He selects his Cabinet on the basis of their looking the part. He conscripts the military as a prop to bathe himself in an aura of presidential grandeur.
Trump’s absurd hair is of a piece with his lifelong attempt to market himself as a brilliant deal-maker and stable genius. So yes, it is okay to laugh when the ruse is exposed.