Since Donald Trump likes to disparage the physical appearance of others, most recently referring to Stormy Daniels as “Horseface,” turnabout – as they say – is fair play. When it comes to the snarled, jumbled, cacophonous citrus reticulata we laughingly refer to as the “president’s” hair, two questions immediately leap to mind: “What is it?” and “why is it?”
Thanks to Ivanka Trump, quoted in Michael Wolff’s book ”Fire and Fury,” we can answer question one with ease. What is it? “An absolutely clean pate — a contained island after scalp reduction surgery — surrounded by a furry circle of hair around the sides and front from which all ends are drawn up to meet in the center and then swept back and secured by a stiffening spray.” And that color? Ivanka through Wolff continues, “The color … was from a product called Just for Men, the longer it was left on the darker it got … Impatience resulted in Trump’s orange-blond hair color.” In other words, it’s a surgery-assisted, stupidly and lazily colored comb over.
“Why is it?” is a bit trickier to answer. No US President has (as far as we know) ever been so vain as to resort to cosmetic surgery. Ronald Reagan, to be sure, dyed his hair, but that hair was verifiably all his very own. Otherwise one ordinarily associates the presidency with men for whom such concerns are (and ought to be) beneath their notice.
Trump’s hair is a deception, a fraud he thinks he’s getting away with, its insincerity every bit as absurdly, obviously transparent to us as it is opaque to his glassy-eyed, slack-mouthed fanbase. It is a metaphor for the lies he tells, the treasons he foments, the fiduciary vows he betrays and the financial crimes he commits.
Had he remained into old age as naturally hirsute as Reagan, perhaps he could have mocked the the less abundant hair of some of his burgeoning inventory of political foes. In Trump’s arsenal of put-downs, hair insults are as rare as the strands that fail to naturally occupy the top of his head. Perhaps Trump himself knows that’s the one glass house from which even he comprehends the urgent need to banish all stones.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.