You think your Monday mornings are bad? I just spent mine examining photos of Donald Trump’s crotch.
The former US president gave a moderately anticipated speech over the weekend, addressing the North Carolina Republican Party’s state convention.
The substance of this speech is worth discussing, but before we get to it, we need to deal with the style, which is all anyone has been talking about.
I am of course referring to Mr Trump’s pants.
Footage of the trousers went viral, as the dancing TikTok youths say, with a bunch of people online wondering whether Mr Trump had them on backwards.
At first glance, you can understand the confusion.
Let us acknowledge that the pants look weird. The wrinkles on Mr Trump’s thighs are particularly incomprehensible, and in the footage above, there appears to be no fly. But are the pants on backwards? This is the question we must fact check.
I delved into the evidence, and the answer is no. Photos from the event clearly show a fly on the front of these pants, right where it should be.
Look for yourself, if you wish.
The backwards pants theory was always implausible, of course. Have you ever put on suit pants? If so, you will know they button up at the front. These aren’t trackies from Kmart; you couldn’t possibly wear them the wrong way round without noticing.
The more reasonable explanation is that Mr Trump, already famous for his unfashionably baggy suits, needs to make better use of his many millions of dollars and find a more competent tailor.
Also, the baffling thigh wrinkles suggest Mr Trump has discontinued the practice of making his staff steam his pants while he’s already wearing them. When we first heard about that practice back in 2017, I confess I felt it odd, but perhaps it was necessary after all.
Someone get Hope Hicks on the phone, and get her to retrieve the steamer. Pay her any sum. Any price is worth paying to ensure I never again have to spend 450 words writing about this guy’s pants.
We could end this article now, but as I mentioned at the top, Mr Trump wasn’t just parading around on a catwalk. He gave a speech. So, what did the former president have to say?
He started with a condemnation of the Biden administration, which he called “the most radical left-wing administration in history”.
“It’s a disgrace, what’s happening to our country,” said Mr Trump.
“The survival of America depends upon our ability to elect Republicans at every level, starting with the midterms next year. We have to get it done. We have no choice, actually. We have to get it done. Together, we’re going to defend our freedoms.
“You take a look at what’s happening. We have to defend our borders. We have to do all of these things, and the cancel culture, the defunding culture, we’re not going to let it go any longer. Going to stand up for our values.
“We’re going to take back our country and we’re going to take it back at a level that is very, very good for our country and it’s good for citizens, because we can’t allow bad things to happen to our country. Bad, bad things are happening to us, perhaps like never before. You’ll be seeing what goes on, and perhaps like never before.”
He went on to speak at length about several of his usual topics: taking credit for the Covid-19 vaccines, slamming Joe Biden’s immigration policies, accusing him of trying to pass “the largest tax hike in American history”, and of kowtowing to China.
On the subject of China, Mr Trump brought up his long-running assertion that the coronavirus pandemic originated in a Wuhan lab.
The theory has gained traction in the US media recently, and late last month Mr Biden revealed he had ordered the country’s intelligence agencies to find more information about Covid’s origins.
Mr Biden said the intelligence community had “coalesced” around two possibilities: that the virus leaked from a lab, or that it jumped to humans from an infected animal. At the moment there is insufficient evidence to draw a conclusion either way.
In his North Carolina speech, Mr Trump spoke as though the lab theory had been proven.
“The media, the Democrats, and the so-called experts are now finally admitting what I first said 13 months ago. The evidence demonstrates that the virus originated in a Chinese government lab,” he said.
“The time has come for America and the world to demand reparations and accountability from the Communist Party of China. We should all declare with one unified voice that China must pay. They must pay.”
He called for the US to impose a “firm 100 per cent tariff” on all goods made in China.
Naturally, Mr Trump also spent much of his speech questioning the result of last year’s presidential election.
“That election will go down as the crime of the century,” he said, going on to repeat many of the same false claims you’ve heard before.
Mr Trump lost the election, and never produced any evidence to back up his allegations of widespread fraud, which is why his campaign’s lawsuits challenging the results in key states led nowhere.
Last week it emerged that Mr Trump had been telling political allies he expected to be “reinstated” as president before the end of this year. This is not actually possible, and he made no mention of it in his speech.