The Mona Lisa Presidency

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

Earlier this month, just after President Trump delivered a speech before the General Assembly of the United Nations that 1) threatened to annihilate North Korea and 2) referred to the leader of that nation as an Elton John lyric, images of the speech began circulating on Twitter—not of Trump delivering his oration, but of John Kelly, the president’s current chief of staff, reacting to it. One of the photos, shot by the Associated Press’s Mary Altaffer, featured Kelly covering his face with his hand. Another found him cradling his chin, staring intently at the ground. Another depicted him from a side angle, leaning into his closed fist. “John Kelly apparently went through some sort of existential crisis during Trump’s UN