Apparently, millions of Americans don’t care that a man now within a nose-hair of the presidency may be the most prolific liar in modern political history. Nor do they care about the authoritarian policies he espouses, his truly scary embrace of dictators abroad and crackpots at home, or his monumental ignorance on every subject.
But as the impact of this week’s debate and the after-chatter have settled in, it’s clear that blood can boil across the land on at least one topic: We care about appearances. With little more than a month to go until the election, the fact that Donald Trump now finds himself in a very public fight with a beauty queen tells you everything you need to know about the sick soul of this man.
So, in the spirit of the discourse that Trump has brought us to, let’s objectify the Republican nominee on his terms. This guy is fat. Bigly. He’s got an extra chin, a gut you wouldn’t want to see riding above a bathing suit, and a rear that serves no purpose but ballast.
At 6-foot-2, the height that he has long given profile writers, Trump weighs 236 pounds, he told Dr. Oz. Not quite Taftian – he ballooned to 354 pounds by his inauguration in 1909 – but not healthy, either. By government guidelines, Trump is obese. In a weasel move to avoid that classification, Trump now says he is 6-foot-3, which makes him merely overweight. How he grew an inch, at the age of 70, is a story that has escaped his hagiographers at Fox.
Trump’s ducktail hairdo, colored in a hue unknown to nature, is a complicated comb-over inspired by Dr. Seuss. He wears a silly cap at outdoor rallies to keep the nest in place. It makes him look like “the warm-up guy,” Garrison Keillor wrote, “the guy who announces the license number of the car left in the parking lot, doors locked, lights on, motor running.”
His fingers, as Spy magazine first noted decades ago, are unusually short. At 7.25 inches from the tip of his middle finger to the wrist (according to sleuthing by investigative reporters), Trump’s hands are smaller than 85 percent of American men. No surprise he lies about that as well. “Look at these hands,” he said during a debate earlier this year, holding the dwarf-size digits up for all to see. “Are they small hands?”
I bring all this up because Trump brings it up – constantly. For someone who is fat, short-fingered and strange-looking, he is obsessed with looks. During his decades in the spotlight, he has bullied and shamed women for their weight. And more – he has had people fired, at his golf courses, for not being pretty enough, The Los Angeles Times reported this week.
In the days after the most watched political debate in history, Trump didn’t talk about trade policy, war and peace, or health care. Instead, his fetish for the superficial dominated his talking points, trying to fat-shame anew the former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado. Hillary Clinton baited him for calling the young woman “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping.” Machado is getting her revenge.
Trump “always treated me like a lesser thing, like garbage,” she told reporters on a conference call. Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich, another guy you wouldn’t want to be seated next to in a cramped row of a commuter plane, explained that beauty queens should not be fat. Fair point. But nor should beauty queens be so belittled, as Machado said, that the insults triggered a relapse in her bulimia.
You certainly shouldn’t have to be height-weight perfect to work at a golf course. But a catering director at a California course said under oath that she was told to fire an employee “because Mr. Trump doesn’t like fat people,” according to a 2012 deposition.
Trump also revealed his apparent obsession with the obese in dismissing Russian sabotage of the election. More likely, he said during the debate, “it could be someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds,” giving techies a great hashtag to play with on Twitter.
This fat-shaming episode by a man who wants to lead the country is deeply resonant because most Americans struggle with their weight. More than two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese. It’s a serious problem – life threatening, for many people – with multibillion dollar health care consequences.
Trump could express sympathy or offer some solutions. Instead, he stuffs his puffy face with junk food for the cameras, while making fun of anyone who isn’t a cover model. As for exercise, he burns most of his calories by giving speeches, he says. Seriously. Aerobic insults, the Trump diet.
“Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life,” Dean Wormer told a pledge in “Animal House.” Trump would certainly agree, even though he has two of the three attributes. A look in the mirror would give him more than enough to talk about.