Fierce

These Weird Photographs of Men In Politics are Really Hard to Explain

The Daily Beast

Since we live in a world of photoshop and picture manipulation, it’s common to see throughly bizarre pics online. It can even be difficult to tell which of these uncanny photos are real and which are just real cases of “fake news.” Adding pictures of politicians into the mix makes telling real from fake even harder.

Even when manipulated pictures are excluded, we still have a whole mountain of material that’ll make you say “¡Qué raro!.” Between photo-ops, public meet-and-greets and their own strange behavior, politicians put themselves in all manner of unusualness. Let’s not forget: the internet is forever so these weird photos will always exist online.

Here are some of the strangest real photos of the people who run this country.

1. If only their conservative voter base can see them now.

New York Magazine

This image comes from a video then-mayor Rudy Giuliani made for the Mayor’s Inner Circle Press Roast. In the cringeworthy and transphobic video, Giuliani dresses as an old dame and goes perfume shopping with Trump. However, Trump just can’t help himself; pushing his face into the fake cleavage and kissing the mayor’s neck. Considering what we know about Trump, this violation isn’t all the surprising but it still is weird af.

2. What’s creepier than a mime? Ted Cruz.

Twitter / @tedgenoways

Ted Cruz is a weird guy all on his own. From the resemblance to Grandpa Munster to the Zodiac Killer rumors, there’s a lot to work with. While that strangeness is out of his control, the decisions that led to this photo arguably were. Not only does this creepy picture show a young Cruz dressed as a mime, he’s portraying Adam — the first man — in mime form. Dios mio.

3. This meme from 2008.

KnowYourMeme.com

The 2008 presidential election was a wild time — and not just because of Sarah Palin. This indescribable pic comes from the last presidential debate between then-Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain. We don’t really have insight as to why McCain made this face behind Obama’s back but it became a popular meme nonetheless.

4. Release the child, Joe.

Washington Examiner

Now that former-Vice President Joe Biden has put his name in for the 2020 presidential election, his past behavior is under a microscope. However, it doesn’t take much digging to find some absolutely creepy photographs of him. After the inauguration of Senator Mitch McConnell, this pic was snapped of Biden holding a young girl’s head while placing a smooch on top. Her face says it all.

5. Not proper behavior for a funeral — or anywhere really.

Twitter / @AlexKaseberg

In 2018, we lost an icon when Aretha Franklin passed away. What followed was a memorial worthy of the Queen of Soul. One of the event’s highlights was when pop princess Ariana Grande took to the stage to perform Franklin’s classic “Natural Woman.” That’s where this creepy shot comes from. Yes, that’s former-President Bill Clinton and, yes, it appears he’s ogling the starlet. You’re at a funeral, Bill; show some respect.

6. Trump was Team Dark Side all along.

The Daily Beast

Like the combo of Takis and limón, sometimes collaborations can lead to bigger and better things. Still, they can also bring some really weird experiences. This pic from a 2005 episode of “Celebrity Apprentice” is one of those times. Appearing between Chewbacca and Darth Vader, the former-reality show host deliberated who to fire on this special episode. Spoiler Alert: he fired Chewie and kept Vader, obviously.

7. At least he committed.

Washington Post

Aside from being wildly problematic, former-President George W Bush is a goofy guy. Never afraid to make a fool of himself, W really committed to enjoying the photo-ops White House publicists set up. That’s where these groovin’ pics come from. In 2007, the president invited the KanKouran West African Dance Company to the Rose Garden. Busting out moves you won’t see at even the most lit quiñces, W leaned into this weird moment.

8. No one wants to see that, Beto.

New York Magazine

Social media has granted us unprecedented access to celebrities and politicians. Sometimes this is a good thing but other times we get a photo like this. For some strange reason, presidential-hopeful Beto O’Rourke shared his dental cleaning with Instagram followers and the world earlier this year. Not exactly the presidential photo-op we would suggest but at least it reminded us to schedule our own cleaning.

9. Why were these pics even taken to begin with?

TheStanfordFlipside.com

Okay, so maybe all presidential elections are weird because they sure encourage the strangest photo-ops ever. In 2011, VP-hopeful and P90X devotee Paul Ryan was featured in “TIME” magazine alongside these laughable pics. The backwards hat, the fingerless gloves and the awkward stare make this photo series hard to process. The strangest thing about it, though, is that no one warned the VP hopeful against this shoot.

10. Two for the price of one.

Twitter / @tvaziri

Unfortunately for us, when politicians get together, arguing and inaction are the usual results. Sometimes, though, we get chilling pics like this one. Maybe it’s the lighting but when Senator Mitt Romney joined Trump for a private dinner after the 2016 election, things got weird. The conflicting looks on the two men’s faces don’t help the situation either.

11. The creepy thing here is the homophobia.

Politico

Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the first openly gay person to run for the office of president. While this is a great step towards LGBTQ representation in politics, it has brought out an unfavorable element. Namely, the gross, homophobic protesters who have shown up at his recent public appearance. That’s where this diablo-costumed idioto comes into play. Why are people like this?

12. Is this a robot going down a slide or?

APNews.com

Oh, those photo-ops; they get us every time. Seeing political hopefuls enjoy themselves as every day folk is surprisingly extra bizarre. When Representative John Delaney announced his presidential run, he headed to Iowa to take in their state fair. Between tasting fried food and chatting up voters, he enjoyed (?) a ride down this giant slide. Sitting absolutely straight, face blank and with hands resolutely placed on his lap, Delaney painted an absolutely joyless picture on this slide.

13. The 90’s were a weird time.

EOnline.com

During Bill Clinton’s presidential run, one of his goals was to present himself and the DNC as the fresh and youthful option for voters. This wasn’t easy since he had a reputation for liking his fair share of fried foods. So, out came the short shorts for him and running mate Al Gore. They completed this publicized run with a trip to McDonald’s. There isn’t anything more American than that.

14. Something alien.

Politico.com

Is there an outbreak we should be preparing for? No, that’s just Senator John Kerry going where no man has gone before. Well, technically, he’s just crawling through a hatch on the Discovery Space Shuttle. That weird haz suit he’s wearing is called a “bunny suit,” which makes it cuter but no less weird.

15. TFW you’re homophobic and your boss has no boundaries.

Medium.com

Politics make for strange bedfellows. Case in point: Trump and his VP Mike Pence are a wacky pair. One is a straight laced, bigoted ultra conservative, the other is a showboating, unqualified narcissist. Though odd, this photo offers insight into their respective personalities. Remember: when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

16. The NRA doesn’t think this is strange at all.

CBSNews.com

Remember Rick Perry? He’s the once Texas Governor, one time presidential candidate and current US Secretary of Energy. Surprise, surprise: he’s also a huge fan of guns. Still, with the climate of gun violence and calls for regulation, this pic gives off an unsettling energy. Or maybe we’re just concerned that Perry’s finger is on the trigger.

17. Ignoring your problems like…

Reddit.com

Senator Lindsey Graham is arguably one of the most despised Republican politicians of our time. A lot of that ire comes from his involvement in Judge Brett “I Love Beer” Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. That’s where this cringe-worthy photo comes from. As Graham adjusts his tie with a smarmy look, a distraught protester calls after him. Additionally, the look on that officer’s face is a whole mood.

18. Some sort of Senator beach playdate.

Mashable.com

2014 was only 5 years away but it feels like 100 because we have no memory of this strange moment. In something called “Rival Survival” Senators Jeff Flake and Martin Heinrich agreed to spend a week alone on a deserted island. They had to work together and with their limited resources to service. Here they are, trying to use paper and sunglasses to start a fire. Still more productive than most sessions of Senate.

19. The Stare.

TIME.com

Sometimes the creepiest photos are the ones that make us face an uncomfortable truth. Enter this pic of former- US Attorney General Jeff Sessions. While we’re used to seeing Sessions look more like a Keebler Elf, this image makes him look ominous, evil and dangerous. The the lighting and hyper realism of this photo are giving us nightmares.

20. We don’t even know anymore.

Mashable.com

Can we just all agree that we never want to see photo-ops of politicians eating ever again? Hot dog eating contests, sloppy sandwiches and carnival foods on a stick have become props that lead to really uncomfortable pics. This one of Joe Biden is made even worse because it looks like he’s purposfully posing with $20 cash. We have no idea what the goal of this photo was but we can agree it’s weird.

Colombia Is On Alert After Six Candidates Running For Mayor Have Been Murdered In The Past Six Weeks

Things That Matter

Colombia Is On Alert After Six Candidates Running For Mayor Have Been Murdered In The Past Six Weeks

Stern / Instagram

Yesterday saw police in Colombia arrest two people in connection to the death of Orley García, the mayoral candidate for the municipality of Toledo. But the wildest thing is that García isn’t the first mayoral candidate to have been killed this election cycle in Colombia. In fact, he’s actually the sixth

The most heartbreaking death was that of Karina García.

Pinterest / The Guardian

The 32-year-old was running to be the first female mayor in the rural municipality of Toledo when she was attacked. Following a day of campaigning on September 1, García was returning to her hometown of Suarez when the car she was traveling in was shot at, before being set on fire. Six people died from the attack, including García’s mother, three local activists and a candidate for the municipal council, who were also in the car at the time. According to authorities, a grenade was used in the attack. Somehow, though, García’s bodyguard, who was driving the vehicle, survived.

Before she was killed, Karina reported receiving threats and asked for security.

Twitter / @JZulver

A reward of almost $44,000 has been offered for information leading to the capture of the dissidents who were responsible for the murder of Karina García, who is survived by her husband and three year old son. It seems like a case of too little, too late, though, as García had already reported to authorities that she was on the receiving end of death threats. It was only in August that four armed men confronted members of her campaign, ordering them to take down banners and posters supporting her candidacy. García took to social media, calling on authorities to protect her and her fellow candidates against harm. “Please, for God’s sake, don’t act so irresponsibly,” she said in a video posted to Facebook on August 24. “This can bring fatal consequences for me.”

Authorities are blaming the killings on FARC rebels.

Instagram / @stern

And just who are FARC? The Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, on the most fundamental level, are a guerilla movement that began in 1964. Motivated by Marxist-Leninist leanings, on paper they’re a peasant force that promotes anti-imperialism. However, what this means in practice is that they kidnap, ransom, drug run and extort their way into opposing Colombian authorities and consolidating power. By the time 2016 rolled around though, the group was running out of steam. This led to a ceasefire accord between FARC and the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos. June 2017 saw FARC hand over its weapons to the United Nations.

Yes, FARC legitimized itself legally but several dissidents disagree with that decision.

Instagram / @leperejulot

Obviously, that’s not the end of the story. Despite the peace deal, and despite the fact that FARC had officially announced its transformation into a legal, political party, there are still plenty of dissidents out there who disagree with the change and still operate under the original FARC doctrine. What’s most likely sparked the recent mayoral candidate killings is FARC’s announcement, on Youtube no less, that it’s resorting to violence due to the Colombian government’s failure to comply with the peace agreements from 2016. Of course, Colombian officials heartily disagreed with this statement, and responded with offensive strikes against FARC.

This has basically turned into tic for tac killing.

Twitter / @Citytv

And the repercussions of the violence and killings are far-reaching. Beyond the devastated friends and family left behind, this also spells trouble for the democratic process in Colombia. Because who’s going to risk running for office, if they’re risking not only their own life, but the lives of their friends, family and coworkers? And who’s going to even consider turning up to vote, when the candidates themselves are being murdered, left, right, and center? It’s hard to conceive of cultural and legislative change in a country where part of what needs to be changed is what’s preventing change in the first place.

The other thing to keep in mind is that this is the exact kind of violence that people are fleeing when they arrive at the US border and make an appeal for asylum.

Instagram / @every_day_donald_trump

It’s a legitimate fear: the operation of gangs and cartels negatively impacts on the safety of the citizenry, as well as influencing the way that the entire country can be governed. However, because US legislation under the Trump administration states that asylum seekers cannot be granted refuge against gang violence, it means that these people have no choice but to go back to their country of origin and continue to risk theirs and their family’s lives. Something’s gotta give – otherwise, we’re going to see a lot more deaths at the hands of these gangs.

At this stage, we can only keep our eyes peeled for more news coming out from Colombia, as the elections are to be held October 27, across almost 1,100 municipalities. Unfortunately, with the murder of the sixth mayoral candidate in Colombia, this marks an even more violent election season than that of 2015, which saw the deaths of five mayoral candidates.

Here’s What Happened When Alyssa Milano Live-Streamed Her Gun Reform Discussion With Ted Cruz

Things That Matter

Here’s What Happened When Alyssa Milano Live-Streamed Her Gun Reform Discussion With Ted Cruz

milano_alyssa / Instagram

Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano has long been using her platform to creatively advocate for political change in America. In the past, she’s even called on women to partake in a sex strike in response to the onslaught of abortion ban bills that swept the nation. More recently, she’s taken to calling out the elected officials whose careers are most benefitted by the National Rifle Association (NRA). The Congressperson who received the highest donation from the NRA and other gun-rights organizations is none other than Texas Republican Ted Cruz. 

The two have been spitting fire at each other via Twitter for the last few weeks. All of it culminated in an actual, real-live, live-streamed meeting between the two Tuesday morning. Why was it live-streamed? Because Milano wanted to make sure “the American people can hear your bullshit 1st hand.”

Alyssa Milano told Ted Cruz that part of the reason she wanted to meet was to make sure he was a human being. Literally.

Credit: @BIZPACReview / Twitter

“That is why this meeting was so important to me,” she told him during the live stream. “I wanted to look at you in the eye and know that you really are a human with a heartbeat.” Ted Cruz started the meeting by telling Milano that he was a fan of “Who’s the Boss?” and “Commando,” while Milano started by letting Cruz know his politics on gun control “has made you almost like this caricature of a villain.”

The two talked for more than an hour on gun control, with Milano beginning the conversation by imploring, “I’m asking you, begging you, to have the courage to lead.” In the room was also Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was murdered during the Parkland shooting. 

Cruz didn’t make any revolutionary statements throughout the meeting, arguing that merely having a civil discussion is a triumph.

Credit: @SenTedCruz / Twitter

“This is a divided time. This is an angry time. … I think it is beneficial for is to have a human conversation,” Cruz said. “I also hope that just seeing people on different places on the spectrum, treating people with civility and humanity, that is contagious.” Instead of agreeing to introduce or urge the Senate to discuss new gun control laws, Cruz instead wanted to “focus on policies that would really stop these crimes.” Cruz claims to be leading the charge on preventing mass shootings in America by proposing harsher prosecutions of gun cases and making background checks more “accurate.”

Cruz and Milano agreed to meet last week, after tweeting jabs at each other over their stances on gun control.

Credit: @Alyssa_Milano / Twitter

We hear that a lot, right? The “God-given right” to own guns in America. Cruz decided to respond to Milano, tweeting, “it is of course not the right to a modern-day firearm that is God-given but rather the right to Life & the right to Liberty. Essential to that right is the right to DEFEND your life & your family.”

Cruz gave a lengthy (for Twitter) response to Milano:

Credit: @tedcruz / Twitter

He went on to say, “The right to self-defense is recognized repeatedly in the Bible, eg Exodus 22:2: ‘If a thief is caught breaking in at night & is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed.’ (Note, though, verse 3 says it IS murder if during daylight (ie, not self-defense). The Declaration of Independence acknowledges our rights thusly: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” And, for that reason, the Second Amendment provides “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, SHALL NOT be infringed.” It wasn’t to protect people’s ability to hunt, or to shoot target practice, but to defend their lives, their homes & their families. Stephen Willeford exercised that fundamental right when he risked his own life to stop the Sutherland Springs murderer, saving countless others as a result.” 

Just like that, the meeting was born in resentment and frustration but seemed to end in civil resentment and frustration.

Credit: @Alyssa_Milano / Twitter

After the meeting, Milano tweeted, “He was gracious. I’m unsure if it changes anything. But appreciative for the opportunity to bridge the divide with civil, meaningful discussion.” Cruz described the meeting as “productive and respectful.” Basically, nothing noteworthy really happened except for that Alyssa Milano gave Ted Cruz a hug. What is noteworthy is that civil discourse cannot sway the NRA-lined pockets of Ted Cruz.

READ: Ted Cruz’s Legal Team Believes That His Fight For $10,000 Is The Same As Rosa Parks’s Fight For Civil Rights