Decoding Trump's Staged Inaugural Speechwriting Photo

Donald Trump
Donald Trump will become the first president to have written his inaugural address with a Sharpie. Twitter

Lost in all of the hype surrounding Friday's inauguration, with the last-minute artist bookings, the boycotts and the protest rallies, is that Donald Trump will deliver a speech. According to reports, it will last about 20 minutes and focus on Trump's nationalism, rather than specific policies.

Related: These lawmakers will boycott Trump's inauguration on Friday

Trump has said that he is writing the speech himself. This is amusing because, as evinced by his Twitter feed, Trump isn't exactly the literary type, and most of his campaign speeches were either ad-libbed or pretty clearly written by someone other than Trump (the latter being something of a norm, of course, considering the long history of presidential speechwriters). To prove that he's serious, he tweeted a picture on Wednesday that offered Americans a glimpse into his writing process.

Writing my inaugural address at the Winter White House, Mar-a-Lago, three weeks ago. Looking forward to Friday. #Inauguration

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2017

This is obviously not really how Trump wrote his speech (if he actually wrote it at all), but let's go ahead and deconstruct what will likely be the first of many staged propaganda photos in the coming four years.

The expression

To show that he's a big fancy businessman—and now a big fancy president—Trump often scowls at the camera. His Twitter picture is a perfect example of this, as are most of his magazine covers. It's clear that in this speechwriting glamour shot, though, he is going for a look that is sincere and thoughtful rather than intimidating. Unfortunately, he ends up looking like a petulant child who has just been forced to eat his vegetables.

The setting

The Spanish tiles of Mar-A-Lago, Trump's "Winter White House," provide a nice backdrop for some speechwriting. What seems like an ornate office is, in reality, the Mar-A-Lago concierge desk. Pure class.

This is amazing (H/T to @origiful for pointing it out.

— Galen (@gln) January 18, 2017

The pen

Trump is known for signing his photos, loyalty pledges and hate letters to journalists with large felt-tipped pens. He appears to have written his inaugural address with one, as well.

so trump wrote his inaugural address with a sharpie

— Adam Freelander (@adamplease) January 18, 2017

The pad

It's pretty obvious what's going on here, as pointed out by Johnny McNulty.

*casually pulls up corner of the notepad so we can't see the blank piece of paper*

— Johnny McSeasonal (@JohnnyMcNulty) January 18, 2017

It's frightening (and yet somehow unsurprising) to learn that our new president apparently has the same prowess for staged photos as Vladimir Putin.

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