Ever since John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon squared off in America’s first televised debate, much of politics has relied on how things look. Kennedy was very handsome, Reagan was a reasonably attractive movie star (albeit a B movie star), Obama was great looking and energetic, Trump was dripping in goldtone and wallowing in the wealthy, successful tycoon image that was burnished for him by the showrunners at NBC. How it looks matters.

Photographed for GQ by Martin Schoeller

Some may consider this a trivial point. But with Trump, we’re talking about a man who lives for how things look to others. And he’s made a part-time career out of rating and berating women on their looks, which is particularly interesting coming from an unattractive man with a body like a wet Nerf ball, a face painted the color of an Oompa Loompa’s nut sack and hair that looks like cotton candy marinated in cat piss.

On the other hand, Joe Biden is a very attractive and fit working man’s man, typically clad in what looks like classic Brooks Brothers attire and his trademark Ray Ban Aviators. Sure, the hair plugs are a bummer, but he’s an all American Joe – an imperfect but handsome, well-presented regular guy who always looks like he’s here to get a job done. Not afraid to cry, quick to laugh when something is funny and ready with a Hollywood-wattage smile when it’s warranted. There’s a human being with a soul in there.

And now that it’s showtime, there will be endless pictures. And here’s the thing: Trump will never look as good as Biden in a photograph. He never has and he never will. After all the decades in public life… after all the magazine spreads with photographs from countless photographers… all the lighting, makeup and airbrushing couldn’t help. Trump will never take a picture as good as Biden.

Photographed for GQ by Martin Schoeller.

The visual contrast between the two men is staggering, and not in Trump’s favor. Trump knows it, and it really gets under his skin. And I love that.

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