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President Trump kicked off Aug. 28, 2019, by laying into Fox News and saying he is “the best thing that’s ever happened to Puerto Rico.” But exactly five years ago, then-President Barack Obama made some waves of his own on this day by, erm, wearing a tan suit, created by the late tailor Georges de Paris. That’s right: “Tan-Gate” is 5 years old.
In addition to being generally panned by fashion experts, Obama’s light-hued look, worn to a White House briefing, scandalized cable news pundits. Lou Dobbs called it “shocking,” while Republican congressman Peter King said it represented POTUS’s “lack of seriousness” in the wake of recent ISIS attacks.
— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) August 28, 2014
"There's no way I don't think any of us can excuse what the president did yesterday," King told Newsmax TV at the time. "You have the whole world watching, you have a week, two weeks of anticipation of what the United States is going to do and then for him to walk out — I'm not trying to be trivial here — in a light suit, a light tan suit."
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) August 28, 2019
As “Tan-Gate” marked it fifth anniversary Wednesday, many are now holding it up as an example of more innocent times. Though Melania Trump’s own wardrobe — most notably her “I really don’t care, do u?” Zara jacket worn en route to meeting detained migrant children last year — has been met with plenty of criticism, the fact that a president’s summery color palette could spark such outrage today seems, to some, almost quaint.
Among them is former White House photographer Pete Souza, who posted this tongue-in-cheek tribute to “scandal day.”
“On this day in 2014, President Obama draped a TAN SUIT on the back of his chair in the Oval Office, and then WORE THE SUIT IN THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING ROOM,” Souza wrote alongside a tally of other petty offenses committed by Obama on Aug. 28.
Obama himself didn’t seem too discouraged by the flak his suit — which he appears to also have been worn to the 2012 wedding of adviser Valerie Jarrett’s daughter Laura — received.
"Let me start off by saying that I was sorely tempted to wear a tan suit today for my last press conference, but Michelle, whose fashion sense is little better than mine, tells me that's not appropriate in January,” he quipped while wearing a standard navy suit to his final White House briefing in January 2017.
He has since rebounded on the fashion front, turning heads with his personalized Rag & Bone bomber jacket earlier this year.
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