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2009 vs 2019 challenge: Washington, DC edition

The glow-up is real

January 14, 2019

6:40 PM

14 January 2019

6:40 PM

‘A week is a long time in politics,’ Harold Wilson supposedly once said. If the former British Prime Minister is correct, then 10 years is akin to several millennia.

But just how much can a decade really change us? The latest social media trend, the 2009 vs 2019 challenge, is seeking to answer that very question. The premise is simple: find a photograph of yourself from 2009 and post it alongside one taken this year. For many younger folk, the comparison has a feel-good factor, as 10 years later they find themselves more stylish and attractive (they have undergone the ‘glow-up’, if you will.) If you’re a member of the older generation, however, the exercise is somewhat more depressing: wrinkles have carved their way across your face, you find bulges where they shouldn’t be, everything has sagged slightly and each graying hair seems like another minute closer to the grave.

And if time is cruel to us, just imagine how unforgiving it must be to our public servants in Washington…

Donald Trump

In 2009, Donald Trump was opening a new tower and hotel in Chicago, hosting the second season of The Celebrity Apprentice, and his casino business was undergoing bankruptcy restructuring for a second time. It was a more innocent time for us all…look at how radiant young Don is! He also joined Twitter in March 2009, so it wasn’t all sunshine and roses.

Melania Trump

Melania Trump, in her late-thirties in 2009, spent her year at red carpet events in New York, raising her three-year-old son Barron. Dare I say she seemed to be having more fun?

Nancy Pelosi

There must be a portrait in Nancy Pelosi’s attic. She hasn’t aged a day in the last 10 years. Then again, she did spend nine of those in opposition.

Chuck Schumer

Back in ’09, Chuck Schumer was lamenting the cost of the war in Afghanistan and advocating for a scaling back of US troops. Yet a couple of weeks ago, Schumer was lamenting the cost of withdrawing from Afghanistan, expressing concerns about ‘abandoning our coalitions, allies, and the Kurds; and surrendering the field to Putin, Iran, Hezbollah, ISIS, the Taliban, and Bashar Al-Assad.’

Mitch McConnell

Cocaine Mitch looks on edge in ’09 as he watches Michelle Obama and Sen. Harry Reid unveil a bust of Sojourner Truth in the US Capitol. He seems in much higher spirits in 2019, as the longest government shutdown ever drags on.

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren was named Bostonian of the Year by Boston.com in 2009. It was a good year for the Harvard Law professor, as she saw her public profile raised with appearances on The Daily Show and by chairing the Congressional Oversight Panel (remember Congressional Oversight?) Now the Massachusetts senator is gearing up for a Presidential challenge and swilling beers on Instagram Live

Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris was in the process of running for California Attorney General throughout 2009. Not much has changed 10 years down the line (apart from a bit more brown in her hair), as the senator seems to be prepping for another race, this time for the White House.

Kirsten Gillibrand

Ten years ago, Kirsten Gillibrand was being sworn in as junior senator for New York, after Hillary Clinton had vacated her seat to become Secretary of State. In 2019 she’s blonder, more streamlined and woker: she called for the abolition of ICE and led the #MeToo charge against Sen. Al Franken.

Chris Christie

A well-built lawyer had just been elected Governor of New Jersey in 2009, though it was often speculated that his ambitions would lead him to higher office. How the mighty fallen: after a failed Presidential campaign and selling his soul to the Trump campaign, he was passed over for every role in the Donald’s White House. He began this year quietly watching his beloved Dallas Cowboys beat the Seattle Seahawks. Still, at least he has his health.

Bernie Sanders

The Vermont senator has maybe four more lines on his forehead, but is otherwise utterly unchanged. Maybe he’s born with it, maybe it’s Marxism.

Lindsey Graham

Lindsey Graham served in Afghanistan during the 2009 summer recess and sat on the Senate Special Committee on Aging. It looks like he learned a lot from it.

Ivanka Trump

Ivanka had a swell year in 2009: she got married to Jared Kushner, (partially) wrote her self-help book The Trump Card, and was a judge on The Celebrity Apprentice along with her father and older brother. Plus she was allowed to be a Democrat.

Hillary Clinton

Fresh from a Democratic primary defeat by Barack Obama, Hillary spent 2009 as Secretary of State, traveling around the world enhancing her hawkish reputation. It seems she’s happy to live in the past: this year, she’s got back into New York state politics, helping Governor Cuomo promote his Reproductive Health Act, as well as proffering digs on Twitter at President Trump.

Donald Trump Jr

Get a load of this guy! Back in ’09, Donald Trump Jr was clean-shaven, happily married, had just become a father (to Donald Trump III), and was enjoying his first real job at The Trump Organization. Life couldn’t be better. Now 41 years old and terrified of being indicted, DJTJR is hoping he spends 2019 in a pinstriped Trump suit, rather than an orange jumpsuit.


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