It might have made for a great story 18 months ago: "Donald Trump's Infamous Coif Gets Boost from Hair-Growth Drug." Why not? He was just a long-shot primary candidate back then, one of 17, and the riddle posed by Trump's enigmatic hair had been stumping the nation for decades. But he's not just "Donald Trump" anymore — he's President Trump. And with his deluge of executive orders, Cabinet appointments, questionable tweets, and aggression towards the press, knowing where to focus attention is hard enough already. Whatever temporary schadenfreude Trump's hair-supplement revelation provides, spotlighting Trump's golden combover really accomplishes just two things: 1) distracts from actually important news, and, 2) serves as further proof to Trump supporters that the media is "out to get him."
For starters, even within the article itself lay more important information than the un-startling fact that Trump wants to plump up his hair. Dr. Harold N. Bornstein is Trump's longtime doctor, and the eccentric physician made quite a name for himself during the Republican primary. In a letter, he claimed Trump would be, "Unequivocally ... the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency."
Putting the obvious equivocations aside, in the New York Times article headlined with Trump's love of hair-boosters, Bornstein also revealed that Trump takes medication for his "elevated blood cholesterol."
I love that we're all so concerned about Trump's hair growth meds. Like, really? That's what we're gonna talk about? #headlinefail— Leks Drakos (@siniharakka) February 2, 2017
Upside-down ranking of headlines this morning as usual: TRUMP TAKES HAIR GROWTH DRUG (8yr old US girl killed in botched special forces raid)— Matt Jones (@jonesmatthewm) February 2, 2017
According to the Mayo Clinic's website, cholesterol-lowering statin drugs — like the kind Trump takes — have some worrisome potential side effects. Among them are muscle damage, liver damage, increased risk for Type 2 diabetes, and possible memory loss and/or confusion. Trump is already the oldest first-term president, his 70 years beating out President Reagan's inaugural age by a few months. Now we also know that he has high cholesterol, an aversion to exercise, and a prescription for a drug that can cause neurological side effects. That seems a good deal more newsworthy than hair-growth boosters.
Here's a hairy little revelation. RT Trump's doctor says president takes hair-growth medication https://t.co/AriJ8PcbSZ— Bill Neville (@wgn3) February 2, 2017
But put all that aside. In under two weeks as POTUS, Trump has signed an executive order to reopen possible construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, put in place an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria, seated white-supremacist promoter Steve Bannon on the National Security Council, seen Jeff Sessions almost entirely through the confirmation process as Attorney General, sent spokesman Sean Spicer out to chastise the press for accurate reporting the president doesn't like, removed any mention of Jews from the White House statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day...
And that's just a short list gathered at random. Many millions of Americans are understandably upset by this onslaught of controversy, and trumpeting the hair obsession of our new POTUS does nothing to address any of these much more legitimate stories.
Perhaps more important is the backlash such reporting tends to evoke from Trump supporters. Even those who back him with caution often feel compelled to defend Trump against a "smear" headline about his hair. There are so many rational arguments one could make right now about why hope in the current President is foolish and unproductive. But stories like this often serve only to further entrench the idea that the press is "out to get" Trump.