The physical toll the trial took on Trump

The effect that Donald Trump’s conviction will have on his candidacy for president is clear, but it has already taken a toll on his physical appearance.

The former president appears visibly more tired and less confident after his grueling weeks-long criminal trial, experts told The Daily Beast.


Donald Trump walks to speak to the media following his sentencing in a secret trial at Manhattan Criminal Court, May 30, 2024, in New York.

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“He looks visibly exhausted,” said Michele Green, a cosmetic dermatologist in New York. “Her under-eye area appears darker and more puffy, overall her skin color and tone is softer. It looks like he hasn’t slept.

The trial forced the famously agitated former president to sit in a cold Manhattan courtroom almost every day for seven weeks, awaiting what was ultimately a unanimous “guilty” verdict on 34 counts of accusation of falsification of documents.

Donald Trump


Donald Trump raises his fist after his inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in January. 20, 2017, in Washington, DC.

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It was enough to cause anyone to lose some restful sleep, but Green suggested the stress could be coming from elsewhere.

“He had this ban on speaking – I wonder if the stress of that affected him,” she mused. “It looks worn out, and I wonder how much this item costs.”

Donald Trump


Donald Trump stands on the Truman Balcony of the White House, October 1, 2017. 5, 2020, in Washington, DC.

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Trump held a news conference Friday morning to respond to the verdict, and body language expert Patti Wood said she saw less of his usual bravado. She noted that he began speaking before he even reached the podium — a marked departure from his usual dramatic pause that could indicate high levels of anxiety.

“His typical way of starting a speech is to go to the podium, pause and wait,” Wood said. “He usually enjoys that moment when people are waiting for him and he keeps them waiting.”

The lack of a break, she added, is “an indication of anxiety and a desire to get out of it, to get over it, to get through it.”

Even before the verdict was delivered, Trump showed fewer signs of his usual brazen confidence. In a courthouse video posted to Instagram by his son, Donald Trump Jr., the former president sat with his fingers on the table and his wrists down, a pose Wood calls “piano playing position.”

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Donald Trump arrives at the “Stop The Steal” rally in January. September 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.

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“There’s a tension that forces the wrists down, the emotional message… is, ‘I don’t know what to do,'” she said. “He comforts himself by touching his fingertips to the table in front of him. Symbolically, he doesn’t know how to play this.”

S. Jay Olshansky, an aging researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said it’s hard to say how all this stress will affect Trump’s overall health.

“We know that at our last evaluation, he definitely had cardiovascular disease,” Olshansky said, referring to an analysis of Trump’s health records that he and seven other researchers conducted in 2020. “You’re introducing a high stress situation in someone suffering from cardiovascular disease, [that’s] Probably not a good idea.”

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Donald Trump speaks to reporters before his speech during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center on March 4, 2023, in National Harbor, Maryland.

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But presidents and presidential candidates, he added, tend to handle stress differently than the general population. Presidents actually tend to live longer than the average man of their generation, according to a report Olshansky wrote in 2011.

Americans have not received an updated medical report on Trump since his last medical exam at the White House in 2020, the researcher said, making it difficult to draw conclusions about his health.

Ultimately, he said, the changes in Trump’s appearance could come down to a few lost nights of sleep.

“If I lose a night of sleep, I look horrible,” he said. “If you’re dealing with multiple nights of lost sleep, I can’t imagine what that does to someone.”

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