Former FBI Director James Comey has not been complimentary of President Trump since the president fired him in May 2016. His comments have ranged from dismissive to damning to downright petty — and there's a little bit of everything in his new book, A Higher Loyalty. In the book, Comey describes Trump's appearance, and it's not exactly a pretty picture.
The fired Justice Department official took the opportunity to describe his thoughts on how Trump looked as part of his description of his first meeting with the then president-elect. His first impression? Trump, at 6 feet 3 inches, is still shorter than he'd seemed.
"He appeared shorter than he'd seemed on a debate stage with Hillary Clinton," Comey began. Comey, it must be noted, is 6 feet 8 inches — and Clinton is 5 feet 5 inches at most. "Otherwise, as I looked at the president-elect, I was struck that he looked exactly the same in person as on television, which surprised me because people most often look different in person," Comey continued.
At that point, however, the description takes a turn:
His suit jacket was open and his tie too long, as usual. His face appeared slightly orange with bright white half-moons under his eyes where I assumed he placed small tanning goggles, and impressively coifed, bright blond hair, which upon close inspection looked to be all his. I remember wondering how long it must take him in the morning to get that done. As he extended his hand, I made a mental note to check its size. It was smaller than mine, but did not seem unusually so.
In this description, Comey hits on three elements of Trump's appearance that have each drawn ridicule: the color of his skin, his hair, and his hands. The orange hue of Trump's skin has been an element of serious discussion and speculation— where does it come from? Tanning gone bad? Perhaps more prominently, though, it's become the butt of many insults — "desperate Cheeto" and the like.
His hair, of course, has played a similarly outsized role, from the moment when Jimmy Fallon ruffled it on TV to the viral video of the wind blowing it up in a flap as Trump climbed the stairs toward Air Force One. No one, including Comey, knows exactly how it works or can imagine exactly what it looks like when Trump wakes up in the morning — but it's likely that everyone has wondered.
While Trump hasn't cared to make much of a response about his skin tone and hair arrangement (besides making it clear that it's not, in fact, a toupee, and he does try to hide his bald spot), comments about the size of his hands were something that prompted him to speak up. Vanity Fair's editor began referring to him as a "short-fingered vulgarian" as early as the 1980s, and Marco Rubio took up the cause in the run-up to the 2016 election when he called Trump's hand's small — which Trump then seemingly connected to the alleged size of his genitals.
“He referred to my hands — if they’re small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there’s no problem. I guarantee it," Trump said, of Rubio, in the next debate, in what was surely a dubious first.
Comey, of course, could not back up or deny any claims of that nature, though adult film tycoon Stormy Daniels has claimed she could. His description of the president hit on just about every other major point of contention in the president's physical image, though.
Soon after excerpts of the book began leaking to the press, Trump lashed out at Comey. There's no telling exactly what sent him into that rage, and there was a lot in the book that could have angered him. It's entirely possible that this paragraph was part of it.