Not just smile or make funny faces. He does plenty of that. But really laugh—a guffaw, a belly laugh, even a chuckle sustained for more than a syllable’s worth?
Not likely. But for a single verifiable sighting, this possible next president of the United States does not laugh in public. We don’t know what he does behind closed doors, but before the cameras, the candidate hasn’t emitted deep, jocular bursts of air in nearly a year and a half.
This isn’t funny. It’s creepy. Or as Trump himself might say, There’s something going on.
And a lot of people are saying this. Well, maybe not a lot. But Brendan O’Connor wrote at Gawker (before potential Trump Supreme Court nominee Peter Thiel sued the site to death): “[A]fter watching hours upon hours of footage from his campaign rallies, cable news interviews, and debate performances, I realized that I could not recall having seen the Manhattan real estate developer laugh—like, genuinely laugh—a single time.”
And on Reddit, “Ebolatastic” pointed out that “the press has too many articles titled ‘Donald Trump is laughing at <group>’ right now. I can’t find any footage at all and cannot recall a single moment of laughter out of him ever in like 20 years of seeing him on TV.”
O’Connor, the Reddit thread, and I eventually dug up the same lone video clip that shows Trump laughing. The context: In February, Hillary had barked like a dog at a rally as part of a joke (which she pulled off handily, though you’d never know it from the “bitch”-festooned social media pile-on). Shortly after that, a real dog barked at one of Trump’s rallies.
It’s no surprise that Trump’s one true LOL came at Hillary’s expense. But it was the element of surprise—someone in the audience beat him to his punch line—that caught Trump off guard and forced him to bark out some genuine laughter. (If you find other examples, please send!)