Monetizing the Presidency

Tump Store cherry blossom White House

Last spring, Donald Trump launched his “Cherry Blossom Collection” available online at his Trump Store, complete with images of The White House appearing below the branding: Trump Hotels. Now for his encore performance, Trump has delayed the release of the Covid-19 economic stimulus checks so that his name can be added to the checks’ memo section. This break in protocol led me to imagine he might want a currency bill of his own. Which national leaders featured on U.S. paper bills would most compete with the highly-emotive Trump? There are two.

Jackson and Franklin on currency with facial coding

First, Trump’s favorite president, Andrew Jackson ($20) wins the sadness sweepstakes with eyebrows both raised and pinched together, creating waves of wrinkles across his forehead. Jackson’s mouth also shows sadness with left corner of his puckered mouth drooping. Second, Benjamin Franklin ($100) wins the defiantly on-guard award. His eyebrows are arched, his eyes wide, and his drawn-up chin collides with firmly pressed lips that hint at a smile while a smirk crowns the left corner of his mouth. It’s quite the feat: surprise in Franklin’s upper face, while his lower faces mixes together anger, disgust, and a hint of a smile overshadowed by contempt (i.e., the smirk).

Let’s imagine Trump really, really, really wants to win re-election. What might that take? My suggestion is that he substitute his characteristically angry, sad and disgust-ridden face for Woodrow Wilson’s tight-lipped look, and re-release the $100,000 gold certificate that was briefly in circulation amid the Great Depression. As unemployment skyrockets, I can’t think of more apt symbolism than that right now.

041620-03 100k Bill

The Great Jared Kushner?

Jared Kushner's task force disgust and arrogance

Unlike talking points, feeling points inadvertently emerge on your face when you step to the podium. On Thursday, Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner made his debut at the White House’s daily coronavirus briefing and the disgust he characteristically feels was clearly evident in the way his upper lip curled while his lower lip jutted down and away.

What was Kushner’s ostensible purpose in thrusting himself into the picture? To address medical supply chain issues and make all of us safer as a result of his joining Vice President Mike Pence’s virus task force.  What was the inadvertent message Kushner’s face revealed? Arrogance. Other people’s opinions and actions are repugnant; namely those of governors crying for more supplies than Kushner – on day one on the job – believes they really need. “The health crisis” has clarified which leaders are “better managers than others” said the imperial Archangel on Thursday, in announcing he’s arrived on the scene to save us all.

Competency may not be an issue Kushner wants to highlight. His track record in real estate and in bringing peace to the Middle East was already none-too-impressive. Then during the early stages of the corona epidemic, Kushner advised his father-in-law that the media was exaggerating the threat. Later, Kushner fed President Trump the line that Google would soon have a miracle website to help coordinate virus testing. What’s the truth? Kushner’s a smug, cold fish and downright incompetent, and in those regards an appropriate addition to the family currently in the White House.

Trump Administration Jeopardy

Trump Jeopardy Logo

Donald Trump promised to “hire the best people” for his administration, while he would also “drain the swamp.” How’s that working out? Some of his associates are solid and plenty of others are questionable or worse—even at times by Trump’s own admission. Tensions within the White House have already been documented by books like Wolf’s Fire and Fury, Omarosa’s Unhinged and now Bob Woodward’s Fear. To give you the round-up, let’s play Trump Administration Jeopardy.

Donald’s Emotions for 200

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Dual Front Covers (800).jpg

A two-year, labor-of-love effort is finally ready to launch. Famous Faces Decoded: A Guidebook for Reading Others and its shorter supplement, Decoding Faces: Applications in Your Life, went live as of September 12, 2018. Available via Amazon, Famous Faces Decoded covers seven emotions how they get expressed, what they mean, and top 10 lists of the celebrities who show them most often, including illustrative stories. There’s also a vital epilogue about what people may show if lying. Decoding Faces provides advice on how to best handle situations where these emotions arise on the job or in your personal life.