Why this photo of Donald Trump’s desk has gone viral

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Kayleigh Dray
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A photo of Donald Trump working at his desk in the White House has been shared over 13,000 times on Twitter – but why? 

The White House recently released several photographs with the subject line: “Photos of President Donald J. Trump working in the White House during the Democrat shutdown.”

The images suggested that, rather than partying with supporters at a planned Mar a Lago celebration, the POTUS instead chained himself to his desk in an attempt to resolve the not-so-small crisis of the US government shutdown.

Eagle-eyed social media users, though, have spotted an issue with the image. One which suggests that it may not be quite as genuine as it first seems…

“Hey, all you People Who Know Desks: Does this look like the desk of somebody who works?” tweeted Honor Sachs, a historian and professor.

She is, of course, referring to the fact that the Resolute desk is almost entirely bare. The only thing on it, in fact, is a phone – which Trump appears to be using in the image.

And Sachs didn’t stop there: instead, she went on to post a series of photographs – each of which shows a past president sitting at their own desk.

“That desk thing is still bugging me,” she captioned the thread, further highlighting the fact that Trump’s workspace, in comparison, seems unnaturally bare.

Of course, Trump supporters have pointed out that a paper-free desk doesn’t necessarily mean that no work is being done.

According to a 2013 study by Kathleen Vohs and others at the University of Minnesota, “working at a clean and prim desk may promote healthy eating, generosity and conventionality” (hmm).

More importantly, though, it is 2018. Surely Trump, as a modern-day president (and die-hard Twitter fan), is more likely to do the majority of his work by computer?

However, this suggestion was naturally met with scorn on Twitter. Mainly because… well, because there isn’t a computer on Trump’s desk, either.

“Even if he didn’t like working in hardcopy, you’d think there would at least be a laptop and some Post-its,” wrote one user.

“Ok so no paper = no work is not true because computers. So what does no computer mean?” wrote another.

And then, of course, came this damning response:

The partial government shutdown was sparked when the Senate blocked a short-term spending bill: Democrats had voted against the measure because it did not include protections for the DREAMers, who now have temporary legal status under an Obama-era program called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The shutdown lasted through Monday evening when Congress approved a new short-term spending bill that will expire in February.

You can find out more about the ongoing immigration dilemma here.



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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.