“You’re In Such Good Shape…(For 64)”

At the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron, President Trump, accompanied by First Lady Melania, arrived in Paris today to celebrate Bastille Day, essentially the French corollary to American Independence Day.

Having toured the museums at Les Invalides, President Trump looked at French First Lady Brigitte Macron and, in apparent astonishment, said, “You’re in such good shape” before turning to her husband and adding, “Beautiful.”

The ensuing crack heard around the world was a momentary hairline fracture in the internet. Trump’s coarse reputation preceded him to Paris, of course, which is perhaps why this has been so widely reported as another embarrassing gaffe by the embattled president.

It’s perhaps worth considering what exactly the president meant by the compliment in the first place. Did he simply mean to compliment Mrs. Macron’s trim figure, or was he genuinely surprised that, at sixty-four twenty five years her husband’s senior, she still looked good?

Does the president simply see nothing wrong with complimenting a woman the best way he knows how — by commenting on her figure? Does he really not know not to objectify women? Has he really not been paying attention to the changes in social custom that the last fifty years have wrought?

Or perhaps, rather more complexly, are we to discern a rebel yell in his flattery of Ms. Macron — that is, does he speak so recklessly in defiance of the constraints of political correctness?

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