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US official resigns after dressing a man as an old woman to make a press conference look better

It’s all about the optics.

Fake Old Woman Sue Stenhouse (L), the official in question, speaks alongside a man dressed as an elderly woman. Source: AP

AN OFFICIAL IN the city of Cranston, Rhode Island has resigned after being caught in a plan to dress a middle-aged man as an elderly woman, in order to make a press conference look better.

Sue Stenhouse, the city’s director of services for the elderly, wanted to include an old woman in a photo op about a snow shoveling program, and persuaded a middle-aged man to play the role – dressing him up in a wig, earrings, lipstick and a dress.

The man stood next to the mayor of Cranston at a news conference touting the program and wore a name tag that said “Cranston Senior Home Resident.”

Local TV channel WJAR-TV uncovered the ruse in reports this week.

It is unclear why officials decided to use a stand-in for a woman during the news conference on 5 January, which was held at the old folks home where the man worked as a van driver.

Stenhouse, who organised and took part in the news conference, resigned last week.

The 2006 Republican nominee for Rhode Island secretary of state did not return messages from the Associated Press requesting comment.

City official Rob Coupe refused to explain what happened, saying it was a personnel matter.

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, the 2014 Republican nominee for governor of the state, did not return a phone message seeking comment.

cranston Van driver David Roberts. Source: Latino Public News/WPRI via YouTube

Two city councilmen told the Providence Journal they believe the stunt was meant to deceive the public. City Council President John Lanni said he would ask the mayor for an explanation.

Meanwhile, hair salon owner Elaine Mancuso told WJAR-TV that she unwittingly supplied the wig for the caper to David Roberts, the van driver who transports seniors to the salon. Roberts did not immediately return a message left at his work.

He says to me, ‘Elaine, do you have a wig that I could borrow? I have to get dressed as a senior.
I said, ‘Oh, my God. He wanted it for that.’ I probably would have given him a better wig if I had known.

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