Since Donald Trump begrudgingly left office in January 2021, he has moaned that the election was stolen from him and said he should have won.
These claims have been widely disputed but even if they were true it is worth remembering what he was like as a president, and why he absolutely should not be one again.
He's now had his luxury estate in Florida, Mar-A-Lago, raided by the FBI on the ground that he allegedly took classified documents from the White House. It remains to be seen as to what will happen next in the seemingly never-ending Trump saga, which has now been filled with controversy for decades.
It's still staggering to believe that he was ever the president of the United States and given the amount of controversy surrounding him how there is even the slightest chance he could ever be president again.
If you just need a reminder of those discrepancies, here are 55 of his worst acts when he held office.
Read to the end, if you dare..
1. When he dismissed Russian interference in the election
The spectre of Russia has haunted Trump since the 2016 election that brought him to power. Post-election analysis of data by the likes of academics seems to suggest that yes, Russian interference played a part in it.
But Trump, funnily enough, has never been keen to examine the role Russia might have had in seeing him elected. This means he’s not only blocked every attempt to investigate it but also sacked multiple officials who’ve threatened to do so, like former FBI director James Comey. Trump even admitted that Russia was part of his reasoning for firing Comey, making him only the second American president to sack his FBI director. Historic.
2. When he appointed his unqualified family to top administration roles
Ivanka Trump appears to be trying to get involved in a talk among Macron, May, Trudeau and Lagarde (IMF head).
Ah, the sweet smell of nepotism. As soon as Trump went to the White House, so did his family. But breaking with protocol, members of the extended Trump clan quickly received important high-ranking roles. Like daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared who are now special advisors, a role that is very vague but ensures they’re essentially part of running the country. Ivanka’s attempt to mingle with world leaders at the 2019 G20 summit was widely ridiculed.
It’s not stopped her, or the other Trumps, from ascending the power ladder though.
3. When he was literally impeached
You have to do something pretty bad to be impeached. Like have sexual relations with a much more junior member of staff and then lie about it. The accusation facing Donald Trump was that he pressured Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and his son Hunter, threatening to withhold aid unless the Ukrainian president complied with his wishes.
Trump was acquitted by the Republican Senate majority but people can examine the evidence for themselves…
4. When he tried to ban TikTok
Trump: "We're looking at TikTok, we may be banning TikTok." https://t.co/i5WEstwFfS
Donald Trump wasn’t aware of TikTok at the start of 2020 – but now the viral app ranked high on his list of enemies that summer. Why? Teens.
It wasn’t until teens claimed credit for half-filled seats at Trump’s ‘comeback’ rally in Tulsa.
After that, Trump decided the Chinese-owned app was a national security threat and has now forced the sale of TikTok in order for it to continue operating in the US.
Funnily enough, senior leaders who work at winning bidder Oracle, have a very close relationship with Trump’s administration.
Oracle’s win was a surprise, with most expecting Microsoft to succeed with their bid to “partner” with TikTok’s owners in the US.
Keep your friends close and your enemy apps closer!
5. When he approved a devastating oil pipeline through Native land
One of the very first things Trump did on ascending to office, was revive plans for a huge oil pipeline that had been rejected by Barack Obama.
Despite Obama deciding that the pipeline was not only environmentally unsound, it would also not deliver on promises such as lowering petrol prices, Trump merrily fired out an executive order in January 2017, signing off on the Keystone XL pipeline which would “ pump some of Canada’s most dangerous oil products over nearly 1,200 miles of US land and Indigenous territories largely for export to other countries”.
6. When he called far-right protestors “very fine people”
Remember Charlottesville? The white supremacist rally where counter-protestor Heather Heyer was killed after a member of the far-right drove a car into her. Well according to Trump, there were “very fine people” on both sides of that protest. One side was made up of Neo-Nazis and white supremacists. The other wasn’t.
7. When he appointed a far-right nationalist his chief strategist
The Trump Era in a nutshell: Steve Bannon was arrested only 3 weeks ago. Remember that??? If you turned on the news… https://t.co/gAZRziXt3k
When Trump entered the White House, so did Steve Bannon, a man regularly described as a ‘far-right nationalist’. Eventually, he was fired after Trump reportedly got sick of sharing the spotlight. Now he’s been charged with fraud after embezzling funds donated by Trump supporters to a crowd funder to build the infamous border wall. Classy.
8. When he imposed a ‘Muslim travel ban’
The court asked why we call it a Muslim ban when some Muslim-majority countries aren’t included.
The answer: Trump… https://t.co/FEGUvuDYjt
In 2017 Trump signed an executive order that temporarily suspended immigration to the US for all citizens of seven Muslim majority countries for 90 days. Citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen suddenly found themselves unable to enter America. Massive protests immediately took place as a response with courts eventually finding the ban unlawful and overturning it.
That didn’t stop Trump though; he issued a new ban in 2018 that instead restricted how many visas could be issued to applicants from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, along with Venezuela and North Korea.
This ban was eventually upheld by the Supreme Court. And in February it was expanded to cover citizens from Nigeria, Eritrea, Tanzania, Sudan, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar.
9. When he (repeatedly) refused to release his tax returns
Trump had 5 years to show us his Tax Returns. The New York AG has to force him to do it. What is he HIDING? Show us… https://t.co/UmjebxrQTj
From the very beginning, Trump refused to drop his taxes. Why? We can only guess. But former lawyer Michael Cohen suggested it might be for a very Trumpian reason.
“He doesn’t report the income he claims,” Cohen claimed during an interview to promote his book, Disloyal.
“His wealth is not as significant, and I imagine they were probably lenient in how they took deductions”.
He also said releasing the tax returns might throw up more problems for Trump.
“His biggest fear is, if that tax return was released, there’s a whole slew of accountants and forensic accountants that will rip through it and he will end up with a massive tax bill, penalties, fines, and possibly even tax fraud,” Cohen added.
10. When he tried to stop transgender students from using school bathrooms in line with their gender
In February 2017, Trump decided to go after one of the most marginalised groups possible by removing protections for trans students which allowed them to use bathrooms corroborating with their gender identity.
The harm the policy could cause was so evident that even education secretary Betsy DeVos opposed the move because of the effect it would have on trans students.
Trump went ahead with it anyway.
11. When he lied about his inauguration crowd sizes
Size matters to Trump which is why he and his team practised their very first professional gaslighting by insisting that the crowds gathered for his inauguration were the “largest ever”, despite extensive photographic evidence to the contrary.
Later it emerged a government photographer had even edited photos to make “crowds appear bigger’, according to a Guardian investigation.
12. When repeatedly called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas”
After Elizabeth Warren revealed she had Native American ancestry (which wasn’t too well received by actual Native Americans), Trump gave her a new nickname: Pocahontas.
But rather than mock just Warren, the nickname serves to ridicule Native Americans and indigenous cultures as a whole.
13. When he doubled fees at his resort hotel after becoming president
What’s the first thing you do when you become the leader of the ‘free’ world? Jack up the membership fees at your beach resort.
At the time, Norm Eisen, Barack Obama’s top ethics lawyer, called it “not very subtle exploitation of the fact that the club’s figurehead is now president of the U.S.”
“This type of naked profiteering off of a government office is what I would expect from King Louis XVI or his modern kleptocratic equivalents, not an American president,” Eisen said.
14. Tried to penalise ‘sanctuary cities’ for migrants
Sanctuary cities are a loose name for states or localities that have regulations which can act as an obstacle for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hunt down migrants they think they can deport.
So of course Trump has tried to penalise those areas.
How? By threatening to withhold federal funding from them.
15. When he fired the acting attorney general for not defending his travel ban
One of Trump’s first firings (setting the tone for a presidential term that would see one of the highest staff turnovers ever) was Sally Yates. The then-acting US attorney general refused to enforce his first Muslim ban.
17. When he seemingly told police officers to rough up suspects
In 2017, Trump gave a speech in Long Island to members of the Suffolk County Police Department. In it, he seemed to encourage roughing up suspects, saying:
"When you guys put somebody in the car and you're protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over, like, don't hit their head and they've just killed somebody. Don't hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, okay?"
He doubled down, saying “Don’t be too nice”. The remarks drew such criticism that Suffolk County even tweeted a rejoinder.
As a department, we do not and will not tolerate roughing up of prisoners.
— Suffolk County Police Department (@Suffolk County Police Department)
18. When he invented three million “illegal” voters to explain Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote
Nothing worse than a sore winner; even though Trump won the presidency, he can’t get over the three million votes which meant Hillary Clinton was the winner of the popular ballot.
From 2017, he promised an investigation into “massive voter fraud”, saying up to five million votes had been illegally cast for Clinton.
Trump has yet to offer any proof.
19. When he used his platform to ‘cancel’ a tire company
\u201c@SharylAttkisson Remember that time Trump cancelled Goodyear?\u201d
— Boris Johnson\u2019s Hair \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@Boris Johnson\u2019s Hair \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6)
We’re tired, you’re tired. Donald Trump hates Goodyear Tires.
20. When the Trump Hotel organisation received $60,0000 for hosting an event for Kuwait
Trump apparently never divested from his business interests – which means when an event held by Kuwait to celebrate their national day was held at Washington’s Trump International, there were questions raised.
Like whether the sitting president would see any of the reported $60,000 fee paid by Kuwait to host the event there.
"He lost, he let us down... I never liked him as much after that because I don't like losers,” Trump says during the clip.
He follows it up by denying McCain deserves the epithet of ‘war hero’.
"He is not a war hero…” Trump said.
“He is a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured”.
22. When he told a sheriff to ‘destroy’ the career of a senator who opposed police officers being able to seize assets
In 2017, Trump ‘joked’ about destroying the career of a Texas senator who wanted to crack down on asset forfeiture.
Asset forfeiture is a controversial practice that allows police departments to seize ‘suspicious’ assets and keep them… even if the person they’re seized from is never convicted or charged with a crime.
According to experts, the practice “disproportionately” affects people without means. Police can auction off the assets and the funds go back into their budgets.
However, Trump’s response to hearing about a senator who wished to reform the concept was pretty telling.
“Who is the state senator?,” he said, on being informed about proposed legislation to require conviction before asset forfeiture could be practised.
“Want to give his name? We'll destroy his career”.
23. When he appointed Jeff Sessions attorney general
Donald Trump might be slamming Jeff Sessions now but when he appointed him his first official attorney general, he seemed like a big fan.
24. When he ignored evidence of Michael Flynn’s meetings with Russia
One of the highest-profile falls from grace of Trump’s administration was Michael Flynn. Formerly Trump’s national security advisor, Flynn now faces criminal charges for accusations that he lied about contact with Russia before being appointed to the role.
But Trump was apparently warned about Flynn weeks before the adviser was forced to resign and only told vice president Mike Pence about the allegations facing Flynn when a Washington Post exposé on the matter the next day.
25. When he appointed Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon, secretary of housing and development
jeb bush: we shouldn't accept refugees
donald trump: we should nuke the refugees
ben carson: wizards are real and i'm made of butter
It got to the point where people were surprised to discover the man had actually qualified and practised as a world-renowned neurosurgeon.
So when Trump was elected, it came as an unwelcome surprise to discover Carson was being put in charge of a vital department, as secretary of housing development, with absolutely zero experience in the area.
33. When he nominated a climate change sceptic to chair the committee advising the White House on environmental policy
We can’t say that Donald Trump doesn’t take climate change seriously – but we can say that he withdrew from global commitments to tackle the issue, once tweeted about needing “a little of that good old fashioned Global Warming!”, and nominated climate change sceptic Kathleen Hartnett White to be his top environmental advisor.
So, you do the math.
34. When he removed protection status from 59,000 Haitians, forcing them to return to disaster-ridden Haiti by July 2019
In November 2017, Trump ended a humanitarian programme that had allowed 59,000 Haitians to reside and work in the U.S, as the country still tries to recover from 2010’s devastating earthquake, which ripped through its social fabric.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere; money sent back home from ex-pats is a lifeline.
Worse still, in 2020, the forced deportations of Haitians continued during the pandemic, despite human rights activists warning that Trump was essentially “exporting” coronavirus to a nation that would not be able to cope with an outbreak.
35. When he retweeted anti-Islam videos from the deputy leader of Britain First
Trump’s busy fingers on social media often display that he doesn't really think or check things before he shares them on his official account, which is a worrying thing to consider when you are talking about the US president.
Perhaps the most disturbing thing that Trump has ever shared on his timeline was a series of Islamophobic tweets from the deputy leader of the far-right group Britain First back in November 2017.
Trump did later apologise for sharing the tweets, telling Piers Morgan in a television interview that he knew nothing of the group beforehand, adding:
“If you are telling me they're horrible people, horrible, racist people, I would certainly apologise if you'd like me to do that.”
36. When he cut corporate tax to its lowest rate since 1939
If you are interested in things like corporate tax then you might not be surprised to learn that Trump has opted to favour the biggest companies in the world rather than the everyday blue-collar worker that he pretends to appeal to.
On December 22 2017 he signed in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which reduced taxes to somewhere between 35 and 21 per cent, reportedly the lowest the rate had been since 1939.
Trump even falsely bragged about this being the biggest tax cut in history, saying in April 2018: “We have the biggest tax cut in history, bigger than the Reagan tax cut. Bigger than any tax cut.” It was actually only the eighth biggest in US history.
Regardless, under Trump, the rich get richer and the poor stay the same.
37. Allegedly referred to the likes of Haiti and El Salvador as “s***hole countries*
2018 got off to a hell of a start for Trump when he reportedly called countries like Haiti, El Salvador and nations in Africa 's***holes’ during a meeting with congressional leaders.
According to the Washington Post, Trump said: "Why are we having all these people from sh*thole countries come here? Why do we need more Haitians?"
Take them out.
Trump was widely condemned for his comments but a few countries used the president’s ignorance to their advantage with both Namibia and Zambia using ‘s***hole countries’ as part of their promotional material for tourists.
38. When he accused Democrats of “treason” for not applauding his 2018 State of the Union address
We all know by now that Trump is a very, very sensitive man and can’t take the slightest criticism against him. However, to accuse Democrats of ‘treason’ for not applauding his 2018 State of the Union address is a bit of a stretch.
Yet that’s exactly what he did during a speech in Cincinnati, Ohio in February 2018:
39. When he oversaw the longest government shutdown in US history
Between December 22 2018 and January 25 2019 almost nothing happened in the US government due to the longest shutdown in United States history.
At a time when his people needed him the most, he opted to look the other way. Shameless.
41. When he mocked the testimony of Dr Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault
When Trump’s supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was accused of historical sexual assault by Dr Christine Blasey Ford at a college party in 1982, Trump did what any decent president would do; he mocked her.
Speaking at a rally in Mississippi in October 2018, Trump appeared to suggest that Ford was drunk on that date as an excuse to pour scorn on her claims. Kavanaugh denies her allegations.
42. When he separated migrant children from their parents
Of the many scandalous things that Trump has done in his presidency, the separation of children from their parents at his controversial detention facilities at the US/Mexico border was probably the worst.
43. When he blamed mental illness and video games for gun violence
As we have already mentioned, Trump has failed to do anything about gun violence in the US but in August 2019 he did find something to blame; mental illness and video games.
Speaking after a weekend where 31 died after shootings in Ohio and Texas, Trump criticised “gruesome video games” that “celebrate violence” adding that: “Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger, not the gun.”
44. When he peddled a conspiracy theory about Joe Biden and Ukraine
Towards the end of 2019 Trump began spreading and widely debunked conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine and not Russia that had interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of the Democrats.
During an interview on Fox News in November 2019, Trump said:
“A lot of it, they say, had to do, they say had to with Ukraine. It is very interesting, it is very interesting, they have the server from the DNC. You know, the FBI’s never gotten that server. Why did they give it to a Ukrainian company?”
45. When he sprayed Black Lives Matter protesters with tear gas so he could attend a photo op
As the Black Lives Matter protests escalated across the United States following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers, Trump decided to show no compassion or words of solace or peace.
Instead, he order the military to hit protesters outside of the White House with tear gas just so he could walk a few metres across the street and hold up a bible outside of a church for a shameless photo op, a stunt which left the churches resident ‘distraught’.
Why did Trump do this? According to CNN, it was because he was ‘upset’ for being mocked for being rushed into a bunker by the secret service after riots broke out near the White House.
46. Tried to take credit for the Covid vaccine
Just days after he lost the election, news of a successful coronavirus vaccine was announced. The Trump administration was quick to claim a victory over the pandemic and falsely attributed Operation Warp Speed with being instrumental in the vaccination. In a similar move, on 11th November Trump did a tone-deaf tweet about how well the stock market was doing and that the 'vaccine coming soon.' In comparison to the more reserved statement from the incoming Biden administration, Trump's tweet looked insincere at best.
Four Seasons vs. Four Seasons Total Landscaping https://t.co/HZDrCz2uP7
47. Tried to launch a 'voter fraud hotline' that was flooded by prank calls
After he lost the election to Joe Biden, Trump did everything in his power to try and overturn the results. One of his efforts included launching a 'voter fraud hotline' where Trump supporters could call in and report anything suspicious they had seen at polling stations. This didn't result in any substantial evidence being brought forward but did see it inundated with some very funny prank calls.
I...may just do this all night https://t.co/OFtKDeMBqE
48. Gave his 'most important speech' ever that was just full of lies
A month after the election, Trump shared a 46-minute video on Facebook that he called the 'the most important speech I've ever made.' What followed was nothing but baseless claims about the results of the vote, vague claims and evidence of voter fraud and calls for judges to help him win.
"This election was rigged ... our country needs somebody to say, 'you're right'" -- Trump wound down his lie-filled… https://t.co/SaknTpsaVP
49. Walked out of a medal ceremony in the Oval Office
On 7th December, Trump hosted a special ceremony for Dan Gable, a wrestler who was being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Nothing wrong there. Surely Trump couldn't do anything scandalous here, right? Wrong. After saying a few further things about the election, Trump abruptly decided that he'd seen enough and walked out of the event leaving Gable looking completely baffled and confused, alone in front of the press.
As his presidency started coming to an end, everyone who had even the vaguest connection to Trump started to put in requests for pardons against any misdemeanours in their past. There were so many requests that staff actually had to start a spreadsheet. Eventually, Trump did manage to pardon a few individuals including George Papadopoulos (who lied to the FBI), Republican Duncan Hunter (who violated campaign finance laws) and Republica Chris Collins (who also lied to the FBI).
51. Delayed signing the Covid relief bill
Towards the end of December, Trump belated signed a $900bn Covid relief bill into law, after millions of Americans had already lost their unemployment benefits. Although the bill had been delayed for months thanks to disagreements between Democrats and Republicans, Trump had initially refused to sign the bill calling it "wasteful spending" and actually wanted the stimulus checks to be increased from $600 to $2000, which we can probably all agree is a good thing. However, the delay put many unemployed Americans in desperate situations as was exemplified by the replies to this tweet by journalist Dan Rather.
I am thinking of all those desperate for extended unemployment benefits tonight. Heartbreaking. The abject cruelty,… https://t.co/yHV3Yq1twj
52. Edited a video to make it look like he won the Nobel Prize
Nearly two months after the election, Trump released a bizarre campaign video, which parodied a beef commercial from the 1990s. If that wasn't strange enough an image included in the short video featured Trump on the White House balcony with the Israeli prime minister and officials from UAE and Bahrain with a Nobel Peace Prize superimposed on it for no apparent reason at all other than to make it look like he might have actually received the prestigious prize.
@realDonaldTrump When it says you “stand for peace” they show an image of the Nobel Prize—something you never won l… https://t.co/b203K0d9az
53. Attacked a Republican for having a brother that doesn't exist
As his options for overturning the election started to run dry, Trump began lashing out at Republicans, specifically targeting Brad Raffensperger the secretary of state for Georgia. In a strange moment, Trump tweeted a conspiracy theory that Raffensperger's brother "works for China" and that they "definitely don't want 'Trump.'" The only problem is that Raffensperger doesn't have a brother at all.
@realDonaldTrump What if I told you Brad Raffensperger doesn’t even have a brother?
54. Asked Georgia officials to fix the election for him
Trump’s mad start to 2021 saw him caught on a phone call to officials in Georgia, including the aforementioned Brad Raffensperger, asking them to basically fix the election for him. At one point he asked them to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than the Democrats have which would swing the election in his favour. It was almost so unbelievable that it was inevitably turned into a song.
full 11,780 Votes song––with more begging, harmonies, and gruff "No"s 📻
— The Gregory Brothers (@The Gregory Brothers)
55. Incited a violent attack on the Capitol building that left five people dead
In perhaps the darkest day, in not just Trump's presidency but in the history of the United States, thousands of armed Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in a violent attempt at a coup to stop Biden from being certified as the next president by the Senate.
The mob smashed through windows and doors and managed to make their way into the chamber as well as elected officials' offices, all while Senators and others were locked away for their own personal safety.
The riot led to the deaths of five people including one police officer and came just hours after Trump had held a 'Save America March' outside of the White House where he had encouraged the crowd to march down Pennsylvania Avenue and make their presence known. Trump failed to immediately act to stop the riot and eventually tried to distance himself from any blame. The aftermath saw members of Congress call for Trump to be immediately impeached, whereas on social media, Trump's Twitter account was permanently suspended and he was locked out of many other platforms to prevent any further incitements of violence. For all of the scandals that has dogged Trump's presidency the image of his rabid supporters draping Trump flags over the steps of the Capitol, intimidating the press and overall posing a threat to democracy will be the enduring legacy of his presidency. The hearings opening up information of that day are only just starting
Well, that was exhausting.
This article was originally published in October 2020
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