Trump’s Face Tan Line Picture Goes Viral

The conversation around Trump’s viral tan line is more than skin-deep.

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President Donald Trump walks across the White House’s South Lawn, his tan line visible. Brendan Smialowski
President Donald Trump walks across the White House’s South Lawn, his tan line visible. Brendan Smialowski

Friday evening, an unverified Twitter account posted a photograph of President Donald Trump exhibiting a serious facial tan line. By Saturday, the photograph had gone viral, with people across social media questioning the photographer’s motives — and making memes.

The photo was shared by the account @photowhitehouse, which claims to be run by a photographer named “William Moon.” It features Trump looking wryly over his shoulder, with the wind picking his hair up in a way that reveals a stark contrast between the color of his face and the area around his hairline.

Other photos of the same moment — Trump crossing the White House’s South Lawn after returning from a trip to North Carolina — also show a tan line, but not nearly as starkly.

The difference between images available on wire services like the one above and Moon’s left some wondering if Moon’s image was a sly parody, particularly given that the contrast in skin tone was even more distinct in a black-and-white follow-up posted several hours later.

There are, of course, a number of reasons Moon’s image and those available commercially differ — the color on the president’s face could have been heightened intentionally, by upping the image’s contrast, for instance; or could be a natural occurrence caused by the composition’s lighting and angle of the shot. In any event, the photo immediately gave rise to memes, including comparisons to Mrs. Doubtfire, Wilson the volleyball, beauty blend fails, and even blackface.

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