Trump attacks energy-efficient lightbulbs, says ‘you look better with incandescent’

Source: By Dino Grandoni, Washington Post • Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2019


President Trump answers questions from reporters on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Trump renewed his attack on energy-efficient lightbulbs, disparaging the way they make him look — and holding them up as a prime example of his deregulatory agenda.

Trump ad-libbed praise of old-fashioned and energy-intensive incandescent bulbs as he announced a pair of executive orders on transparency in the guidance and enforcement of regulations.

“Of course, who cares about looks?” Trump said.  “But you look better with incandescent lights.”

By contrast, he said energy-efficient lightbulbs are “a much more expensive lightbulb that does not have a good-looking light.”

The off-the-cuff commentary shows how the lightbulb has quickly become one of the president’s go-to examples when it comes to explaining why his administration is rolling back so many Obama-era regulations. Last month, the Energy Department prolonged the lives of incandescent lightbulbs by reversing energy-efficiency standards put in place on President Obama’s last day in office.

Yet the image-conscious president’s criticism takes on a uniquely Trumpian flare by focusing how the lightbulbs make him look personally.

During a policy retreat with House Republicans in Baltimore last month, for example, Trump drew laughs when he asked, “what’s with the lightbulb?”

He continued: “The bulb that we’re being forced to use, No. 1 to me, most importantly, the light’s no good. I always look orange. And so do you. The light is the worst.”

The Obama-era standards, an effort to slow down climate change, would have effectively phased out certain traditional bulbs by Jan. 1 and eased the way for the wider use of more energy-efficient compact fluorescent and LED bulbs. According to one study, Trump’s move to undo the standards will result in $14 billion in higher energy costs per year.

But Trump’s energy officials said it was offering consumers more options when they go to the hardware store, an argument Trump himself echoed on Wednesday.

“We are allowing people to choose,” Trump said. “They can purchase less expensive lightbulbs. It will look better. Or they can spend more money on what they were doing, and that is fine.”

Yet Trump’s personal motivation may be flawed: Newer lightbulbs aren’t responsible for Trump’s signature orange hue, a number of photographers and a makeup artist told The Post’s Rebecca Tan last month. According to Jason Kelly, the official makeup artist for the 2016 Republican National Convention, Trump’s skin tone is more likely the result of artificial tanning and bronzer.