Looking the Part

Yesterday, we published an essay of mine called “Books and Covers.” It is part of a new collection, Digging In. Can you judge a book by its cover? Sure, sometimes. And other times not. You have to be careful about those other times.

At The New Criterion today, I have an anecdote that relates to books and covers. I overheard something at Lincoln Center last week, kind of annoying. And here on the Corner, I’d like to talk T. — talk Trump.

“Presentation is very important,” said his spokesman. This was in discussing the boss’s personnel picks. More than a few have come from television — Fox News, in particular. And you remember what Trump said after choosing Mike Pence as his running mate. Among other things, “he looks very good.”

“The man with the mustache!” That’s what President Bush (43) exclaimed once, when he spotted his U.N. ambassador, John Bolton. I will now quote the Washington Post, from last month:

“Several of Trump’s associates said they thought that John R. Bolton’s brush-like mustache was one of the factors that handicapped the bombastic former United Nations ambassador in the sweepstakes for secretary of state.”

Bolton is not bombastic, by the way. In fact, he’s a rather cool, brainy, analytical customer.

Anyway, the Post quoted one Trump associate, “who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly”: “Donald was not going to like that mustache. I can’t think of anyone that’s really close to Donald that has a beard that he likes.”

I like Bolton’s mustache a lot. But then, I like Bolton. Muchly. Bigly.

Let’s talk presidents for a minute. FDR looked like one, wheelchair-bound or not. He was from Central Casting. How about Coolidge? Not the same, right? But Cal was very, very effective.

Everyone said that Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings (D., S.C.) looked like a president. He didn’t get very far in the 1984 primaries. How about Trump? Does he look like a president? To a majority — of the Electoral College, at least — yes.

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