The Slatest

White House Says Trump’s Tan is the Result of “Good Genes”

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting on fighting human trafficking on the southern border on February 1, 2019 in Washington, D.C.
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting on fighting human trafficking on the southern border on February 1, 2019 in Washington, D.C.
JIM WATSON/Getty Images

As Washington residents shiver through a cold winter, President Donald Trump’s skin has given rise to a mystery that has confounded many political observers in the nation’s capital: just how does the commander in chief maintain his orange glow? The New York Times set out to investigate but the White House wasn’t very helpful in resolving the mystery. “Good genes,” a senior administration official said. The official also conceded the president puts on a bit of powder to his skin before television appearances but insisted it is always the translucent kind and not a bronzer.

Needless to say, the explanation doesn’t quite seem to line up with reality. Some have said that Trump enjoys the use of a tanning bed. That is what former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman claimed in her book, even going so far as to say someone was fired for not transporting the machine properly. James Comey, the former FBI chief, speculated in his book that Trump was a fan of tanning beds. The president’s “face appeared slightly orange,” Comey wrote at one point in his memoir, “with bright white half-moons under his eyes where I assumed he placed small tanning goggles.”

White House insiders, however, insist there is no tanning bed in the White House. “According to three people who have spent time in the White House residence, no such bed or spray-tan booth exists in a hidden nook of the residence, a cranny of the East Wing or a closet on Air Force One,” the NYT’s Katie Rogers writes. “Two senior White House officials insisted that no such apparatus exists.”

Others have speculated the glow is due to self-tanning creams or lotions. Experts say the orange hue of the president’s skin could be a sign that this is how he chooses to maintain his skin color. “He looks more orangy than he does tan,” Dr. Tina Alster, a dermatologist, said.

However he does it, Trump is reportedly quite self-conscious about his skin and has complained about looking too orange on television. That has translated into administration officials turning down the lights. “Events in the White House are now more dimly lit than in previous administrations,” notes the Times.