Opinion: The Trump administration tells its ... um ... biggest lie to date

The White House seems to have altered images of President Trump to make him seem thinner and with longer fingers than seen here in a news photo.
The White House seems to have altered images of President Trump to make him seem thinner and with longer fingers than seen here in a news photo.
(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

If you think some photos of President Trump on White House social media posts make him look a little more svelte, your eyes might not be lying. But the White House might be.

Sharp eyes at Gizmodo noticed that some photos the White House shared on social media had been put on a diet compared with the originals.

Oh, and in some images his fingers were made longer.

That should get Sen. Marco Rubio giggling.


It can be hard to note the difference, but the folks at the BBC have put together some helpful images with a slider here — you can move a bar from side to side to toggle between before and after images.

So why would the white House go to such efforts to create a lie out of a truthful image?

Well, the easy answer is because that’s what they do over there at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., the nation’s home of alternative facts. The president himself uttered at least 8,158 lies or misleading statements in the first two years of his presidency, according to the Washington Post’s tracker.

And the president’s press office has had its own struggles with the truth, from Sean Spicer’s claims of crowd sizes at the inauguration — an atrocious lie before the administration even really got started — to Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ routine shadings of reality.

Call it the Inspector Gadget diet.

But this seems to be more about Trump’s ego, and his vanity. You can almost hear him turning to Melania and asking, “Does this presidency make me look fat?”

Remember, this is the president whose doctor told the public that his patient was an inch taller than the height listed on Trump’s driver’s license. According to skeptics who became known as girthers (I love a good play on words), that slight uptick in elevation had the benefit of dropping Trump’s height/weight ratio to just under the medical threshold for obesity (and what’s more American than being overweight?).

Call it the Inspector Gadget diet.

All of this would be laughable were it not for the stakes involved. Politicians routinely shade truth in the course of political debates, cherry-picking facts and leaving out what lawyers call exculpatory information in service of argument.

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It’s an objectionable practice. But it becomes even more so when a government alters photographs it produces to create a record of a different reality. The former Soviet Union raised it to an art form — Leon Trotsky, one of the leaders of the Bolshevik revolution, infamously disappeared from Soviet history after he was purged by Stalin in Kremlin intrigues. KGB chief Nicolai Yeshov was edited out of photos after Stalin had him killed.

The slimming — or lengthening — of the president’s physical attributes aren’t in the same league, of course, but they are born of a similar impulse: Controlling what the public sees, and thus what the public believes.

And that the administration lies about such a small matter evidences just what a petty regime this is.