On the anniversary of the day that Obama wore a tan suit — a choice he was heavily criticized for — people are realizing how little scandals there were when he was in office

By Joelle Goldstein
August 29, 2019 12:52 AM
Barack Obama and Donald Trump
Mark Wilson/Getty Images; SAUL LOEB/Getty Images

It was the outfit choice heard ’round the world, but now, it has an entirely different meaning.

Back in Aug. 2014, former President Barack Obama wore a tan suit during a press conference at the White House where he spoke about combating ISIS in Syria.

The suit, however, prompted a great deal of backlash from people who claimed it represented a “lack of seriousness” and resembled an outfit he would wear to a Hamptons party — despite the fact that numerous past presidents, including Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, have sported the outfit in the same hue.

Flash-forward five years, and Obama’s “suitgate” now seems like the most innocent controversy for a president to have in comparison to the many scandals that President Donald Trump has found himself involved with.

Barack Obama
Olivier Douliery/Getty IMages

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It hasn’t gone unnoticed by the general public, either.

Many have pointed out that the suit wasn’t so scandalous after all, especially after a week that saw Trump, 73, demanding that U.S. companies leave China, reportedly discussing nuking hurricanes, implying that his wife Melania had met North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and suggesting that the G7 Summit be held at his Florida golf resort next year.

The president also made headlines for calling himself “the chosen one” in regards to the ongoing trade war with China.

“Imagine all the money he’d make off of that! Definitely not a conflict of interest or waste of more taxpayer dollars! But, never forget the day Obama wore a tan suit! #NeverForgetAnythingObamaDid #CompletelyIgnoreOrJustifyAnythingTrumpDoes,” wrote one Twitter user about the golf resort suggestion.

“August 2014: Obama wears a tan suit and the right goes crazy August 2019: Trump calls himself ‘the chosen one’ and the right says” added someone else.

“If only we could return to a time when a tan suit is the scandal,” wrote Mia Farrow.

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Some outlets have suggested that Obama’s suit choice caused such an uproar due to the fact that he was typically seen in gray or blue suits. The former president, 58, even said it himself, while speaking to Vanity Fair in 2012.

“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” he said. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”

Others, including the New York Times chief fashion critic Vanessa Friedman, looked deeper into the meaning and claimed that the color was symbolic to Obama’s uncertainty when it came to his plan against Syria.

“Khaki is a sort of wishy-washy color, neither white nor brown, and hence seemed a particularly odd choice for a discussion of wishy-washy military policy,” Friedman said, before suggesting that the tan color might also represent “a color associated with the military.”

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“Was he trying to show his support for real action? Or subconsciously hoping listeners might associate his gear with a more aggressive potential approach, even if he didn’t articulate that?” she asked.

Regardless of the meaning behind the suit, the Washington Post‘s reporter Jason Rezaian — who was arrested in Iran on espionage charges and later convicted in an Iranian trial, according to CNN — pointed out the obvious.

“I was in prison when this happened. Today is literally the first time I’m hearing of it… If this was actually a thing to be covered at the time — and now — we are indeed the most privileged –and perhaps pettiest– nation ever,” he tweeted.

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