Journalist Rhonda Garelick, in an article for New York Magazine, observes that there has been a major change in President Donald Trump's physical appearance in recent weeks: he has let his hair go naturally gray and is no longer coloring it. This change, Garelick argues, offers insight on what Trump is thinking politically — and it amounts to an "admission of electoral defeat."
In her article, humorously headlined "Trump Has Lost the Will to Be Blond," Garelick explains, "Yes, Donald Trump has stopped dying his hair," Garelick explains. "Earlier this month, the 45th president appeared at a press conference about the administration's vaccine-development efforts with an entirely silver mane — not an orange streak in sight. The news ricocheted through the press and social media. Thus far, the silver looks to be permanent. Trump seems done with dye."
Trump's hair was a topic of conversation long before he was elected president in 2016. Back in 2004 — during a "Weekend Update" segment on NBC's long-running "Saturday Night Live" — comedian Darryl Hammond, playing Trump, chastised Jimmy Fallon for having an inferior hairstyle and recommended he go to a hair stylist in Queens in order to make his hair more Trump-like. And Trump's hair, according to Garelick, reflects the outgoing president's arrogance, brashness and garishness.
Trump is still refusing to concede to President-elect Joe Biden and has vowed to keep fighting the election results in court. However, Trump said, this week, that he will voluntarily leave the White House on January 20, 2021 if the Electoral College confirms Biden's victory in December. And Garelick believes that Trump has admitted that he is a lame duck despite his claims that the election was stolen from him.
"There is a parallel between the hair and this admission of electoral defeat: Trump was letting truth creep back into both his hair and his words," Garelick writes. "The self-applied hair color faded away right along with the refusal to acknowledge Biden's win. Was it intentional? Will it continue? Clearly, not in any steady fashion — Trump continues to careen between conceding loss and claiming election fraud. But that hardly matters."
Garelick continues, "On Monday, the (Trump) Administration at last acknowledged Biden's transition. And this admission was augured by the abandonment of presidential hair coloring. This signals a sea change: Trump is loosening his grip, slowly letting go of the elaborate, theatrical pageant of his presidency."
Garelick points out that although Trump is hardly the only older male politician who colors his gray hair, others "do so discreetly" — for example, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.
"Now, though, (Trump's) hair is reverting to its natural color, more plainly speaking truth," Garelick writes. "Perhaps next, that pouf on top will deflate — or the orange makeup will disappear. Time will tell."