Many jokes have been made about Donald Trump. About his hair, the color of his skin – and of course his weight. The look at the populist’s waist size has repeatedly made headlines in the past; Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon and all the late-night talkers filled entire shows with monologues about Trump’s belly fat. Many people, especially Democrats, found it funny and laughed at it. Trump’s supporters complained about body shaming – often because they weighed too much themselves. Now the story is taking a new turn, because Trump has apparently lost weight significantly. This was visible to everyone in a photo that his son Donald Jr. posted on Easter. It shows the former president with two of the grandchildren.

It shows Trump with a significantly slimmer face, a pointed chin and a dark suit that is too baggy for him. When Trump was briefly arrested by police in Georgia a few weeks ago for his trial on election manipulation, he stated his height as 1.90 meters and his weight as around 96 kilos. While he was still in office as president in 2018, his doctor certified that he weighed just under 110 kilos and had a BMI of 29.9. Which is just 0.1 points below the obesity limit. Even then, many people laughed at him. Didn’t he actually weigh much more – according to speculation in those days – and was he just hiding the truth?

In any case, the reactions to Trump’s new look didn’t take long to arrive. At CNN, journalist Lulu Garcia-Navarro noted: “He looks really slim.” There was a quick discussion on X (formerly Twitter): “Is this the big O?” “O.” stands for Ozempic, the so-called weight loss injection. Editors at the New York Times published a questionnaire they sent to the former president a few days ago. Among other things, it asked the question: “Has President Trump taken Ozempic or similar weight-loss medications? If so, at what dose – and is he still taking them?” The online portal “Slate” headlines an article: “The incredible shrinking of Donald Trump.”

The picture not only sparked enthusiasm among his followers. On X it said: “We are not ready for Ozempic-Trump”. Or: “It’s over. He won’t win a single voter anymore.” Another asked: “Was he replaced by an actor?” And in a nod to Trump’s love of fast food, one advised: “The guy needs a hamburger.”

In the USA it was long said: “Trump is larger than life”. A sentence that is difficult to translate into German. The term “oversized” may best describe it. The appearance was part of the brand, also because he was so similar to many of his followers. For them, he embodied the epitome of the American, true to the motto: He is one of us. It may sound crazy, but for his fans, that has been part of his appeal so far. There is a lot of speculation as to why he is suddenly getting thinner. Is it high blood pressure, diabetes, fear of weight-related illness? Or the fascination of becoming lighter and healthier with a simple injection? Finally, Trump is also considered extremely vain.

But when someone like Trump loses weight, it’s about more than just his weight. There will be elections in the USA in November. And of course the question now arises: whether and how will his physical transformation be reflected in the election results? Can the slimmed-down Trump still be successful? Suddenly the question arises: If Trump no longer looks like Trump, does he still function as Trump? For weeks, Republicans have been trying to turn the vote on the presidency into a referendum on Joe Biden’s age. A slimmer Trump could now play into their hands, as a direct assist and constant reprimand: Look how young and fresh our 77-year-old Trump looks.

And yet the new look also carries risks – namely if it alienates Trump from his core voters. Then he might just be one of those rich New Yorkers or Californians who use expensive injections to slim themselves down. So it’s no wonder that Trump’s environment has been telling a different story for days. Accordingly, the weight loss was not due to Ozempic, but to his wife Melania. She helps her husband lose weight and guides him in his attempt to eat better. It has been a long time since Trump was seen at his Mar-a-Lago residence loading ice cream or chocolate cake onto his plate at the buffet. He should also exercise regularly.