President Joe Biden in 2024, compared to 2021.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images, NurPhoto/Getty Images

  • Joe Biden may have taken a leaf out of Donald Trump’s tanning playbook.
  • The president has appeared very bronzed in recent appearances.
  • He hasn’t always been this orange, and certainly wasn’t during his disastrous CNN debate with Trump.

If you think President Joe Biden has been looking a lot more orange, you’re not alone.

Biden’s complexion has changed remarkably since the start of his term, with his skin now emitting a Trump-esque glow.

The orange hue appeared all the more stark in his Friday interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.

On July 4, he appeared tanner than usual while speaking from the South Lawn of the White House.

President Joe Biden speaks during a 4th of July event on the South Lawn of the White House on July 4, 2024 in Washington, DC.
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The pronounced tan was obvious in multiple photos from the event.

President Joe Biden walks on stage during a 4th of July event on the South Lawn of the White House on July 4, 2024 in Washington, DC.
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

And Biden’s orange glow was apparent on July 3 too, when he was awarding the Medal of Honor to two Civil War soldiers.

President Biden at a ceremony awarding the Medal of Honor to two Civil War soldiers on July 3.

Same here on July 1, when he was speaking to the media at the White House following the Supreme Court’s ruling on charges against former President Donald Trump.

President Joe Biden speaks to the media on July 1.
Andrew Harnik/Getty Images

And the change seems recent. The president, aged 81, was not nearly this orange at the start of his term in 2020.

For example, speaking at the COP26 United Nations climate change conference in Scotland in November 2021, his face showed no hint of a spray tan.

President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference at the COP26 United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on November 2, 2021.
Evan Vucci/AP Photo

Biden has appeared slightly more tan in the summertime, as one does when the sun’s out. He was lightly bronzed during a speech in June 2023 about affirmative action in higher education. But super-orange Biden moments have been few and far between.

President Joe Biden makes a statement about the Supreme Court’s decision on affirmative action in higher education in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on June 29, 2023 in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla

The change in his visage has sparked memes and jokes on social media, with users on X calling him “BidenPumpkinHead” and “Spray Tan Joe.”

“Next time Joe, just let an Alabama sorority girl apply your spray tan,” said another X user on July 1.

Moira Coops, an experienced makeup artist and stylist who has worked with numerous politicians and CEOs, told Business Insider that Biden’s orange hue was more likely to be makeup than spray tan.

She said that people Biden’s age — especially when they are feeling unwell or haven’t seen the sun in a while — tend have a sallow complexion. Biden’s team probably bronzed him up to make him look “more healthy,” she added.

But the makeup was a “little bit too strong” for her taste, Coops said, adding that Biden’s makeup crew “could have gone one shade down.”

If Biden did get an image adjustment, it was fairly recent. His face was an entirely different color during his debate with Trump on June 27.

On the CNN cameras, his face appeared pale — and that, coupled with his slurred speech and jumbled lines, sparked concerns about his fitness to run for reelection.

Post-debate, anonymous sources told Politico that the Biden family had expressed anger about the president’s on-camera appearance, blaming the network’s makeup artists for making him appear too pale and drawn.

To be sure, Trump has also been known to go hard with tanning.

“I know exactly what he does to himself — the tanning bed, the spray tan, he wears the goggles and you can see the hyper-pigmentation around his eyes,” Jason Kelly, a Cleveland-based makeup artist who was hired to work at 2016’s Republican National Convention, told Harper’s Bazaar in June 2016.

Trump’s intense tan has also been something his critics have used against him. His former fixer turned nemesis, Michael Cohen, once called him a “Cheeto-dusted cartoon villain.”

Representatives for Biden didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider sent outside regular business hours.

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