Trump has finally admitted that he’ll be leaving the White House on 20 January. But after months of saying the election was rigged, he stopped short of admitting that he had lost the election.
After the chaos of his supporters descending on Capitol Hill, it seems that Trump’s presidency has hit an all-time low in its last two weeks.
But if only someone had warned us it’d be such a disaster…
Oh wait, they did.
During the presidential campaign of 2016, Hillary Clinton was not afraid to point out exactly how awful Trump would be.
(She’s not held back since, either.)
Now – through the magic of hindsight – we can compare what she predicted to precisely what she got right.
And the results are equal parts shocking and impressive:
1. Trump didn’t pay any income tax
During a Presidential debate in 2016, Clinton speculated on why the then-Republican nominee refused to release his tax returns, saying:
[Trump] didn’t pay any federal income tax.
Trump then interrupted, saying: “That makes me smart.”
Cut to this week when the New York Times released an explosive report detailing Trump’s alleged taxes, which reportedly showed the POTUS paid just $750 of tax in both 2016 and 2017, as well as no tax at all in 11 out of the 18 years prior.
Tweets featuring Clinton calling Trump out were shared all across social media:
By the way, @HillaryClinton told y’all... https://t.co/kOrsJ3nCeg
In fact, just five months after Trump officially became POTUS, a survey from the Pew Research Centre showed a sharp drop in the approval of Trump as president, in comparison to Barack Obama.
The survey of 40,447 people in 37 countries found just 22 per cent of people had confidence in Trump to do the right thing – compared to 64 per cent for Obama.
Furthermore, 75 per cent of people described him as “arrogant”, 65 per cent as “intolerant” and 62 per cent as “dangerous”.
As for the reputation of the country as a whole, it dropped from 64 per cent to 49 per cent.
The research concluded around the time Trump first became POTUS:
Favorable views of the U.S. remain at historic lows in many countries polled.
For reference, Trump’s approval rating has only slightly improved from 22 per cent in 2017 to 29 per cent in 2020.
3. The possibility of military conflict
In 2016, Clinton said:
This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes – because it’s not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because somebody got under his very thin skin.
Donald Trump doesn’t know the first thing about Iran or its nuclear program. Ask him. It’ll become very clear, very quickly.
Earlier this year, Trump ordered a US airstrike on Iran’s second in command, Qasem Soleimani.
After news of his death emerged, Iran's leader Ayatollah Khomeinei promised "harsh vengeance" in response to the attack.
Donald Trump responded to these threats of retaliation with a tweet saying “Iran never won a war”:
The rising tension between the US and Iran caused “World War 3” to trend on social media, with many anticipating the end of the world.
4. Mexico won’t pay for Trump’s wall
In 2016, Clinton said:
Mexico’s not paying for his wall either. If it ever gets built, you can be sure that American taxpayers will be stuck with the bill.
To date, Mexico’s former President Enrique Pena Nieto and its current President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrado, have emphatically refused to fund the wall. It’s estimated the US government has spent more than $11bn on the cost of building the wall – and counting.
So what’s the progress on the wall since Trump’s administration took office?
Well, according to a report by the San Antonio Express News:
The federal government has completed 260 miles of replacement and secondary walls, but only five new miles of the 30-foot high steel bollard fencing where none existed before.
Just when you thought the ridiculous promise couldn’t get any worse.
5. Racial tensions will rise
In 2016, Clinton said:
He certainly doesn’t have any solutions to take on the reality of systemic racism and create more equity and opportunity in communities of color.
Trump is reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters. It’s a disturbing preview of what kind of President he’d be.
In 2017, a White House reporter asked Trump:
How concerned are you about race relations in America? And do you think things have gotten worse or better since you took office?
I think they’ve gotten better or the same.
When later asked to clarify if he’d condemn the neo-Nazis at the protest, Trump responded:
I think there’s blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either.
He later added:
You had some very bad people in that group [of neo-Nazis], but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.
According to data from the Pew Research Centre released last year, two years into Donald Trump’s presidency, 56 per cent of Americans say Trump has made race relations worse.
This number is even higher in Black people (73 per cent), Hispanics (69 per cent) and Asian respondents (65 per cent).
Racial tensions hit an all-time high in the US this year after the brutal killing of George Floyd in May.
The death has resulted in countless Black Lives Matter protests held around the country – and internationally – ever since.
In fact, in Tuesday’s presidential debate, Trump refused to formally condemn white supremacists and instead said: “Stand back and stand by”.
Why am I not surprised that the president who once praised Nazis as “very fine people” just refused to condemn white supremacists?
Addressing a fundraising dinner for The Center – an LGBTQ+ community organisation – in 2017, Clinton warned that the LGBTQ+ community should watch out for "the progress that we fought for, that many of you were on the front lines for."
It may not be as secure as we once expected. We may not ever be able to count on this administration to lead on LGBT issues.
Earlier this year, the Human Rights Campaign’s President Alphonso David shot back at Trump’s claims to have made “unprecedented steps” for the LGBTQ+ community.
He damningly said:
Don’t gaslight us. The Trump-Pence administration is the most virulently anti-LGBTQ administration in decades -- the RNC cannot put lipstick on a pig.
Since Trump and his administration took office, he’s opposed the Equality Act, banned transgender service members from the military and issued an executive order to create further obstacles for LGBTQ+ people fleeing persecution and seeking asylum in the US.
He even joked that Mike Pence wanted to “hang” all LGBTQ+ people.
7. Handing tax cuts to billionaires
In 2016, Clinton remarked:
[Trump’s] plan will give the wealthy and corporations the biggest tax cuts they have ever had... Donald always takes care of Donald and people like Donald.
It's absolutely true that Donald Trump handed billionaires "the biggest corporate tax cut in US history", according to the BBC.
And according to University of California at Berkeley, economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, Donald Trump’s $1.5tr tax cuts helped billionaires pay a lower rate than the working class for the first time in history.
Their book, The Triumph of Injustice, explains that the richest 400 families in the US paid an average effective tax rate of 23 per cent in 2018, while the bottom half of American households paid a rate of 24.2 per cent.
It's important to note that Trump has repeatedly tried to brag that his tax cuts were the "biggest in US history", but this is only true for corporate tax – not individual taxes.
8. That he’d claim the election was rigged if he lost
During the final presidential debate, Hillary pointed out that Trump has a history of saying things are rigged against him when the result doesn’t go his way. Back then, Trump was already planting the seeds to claim the 2016 election was rigged if Hillary won and was refusing to commit to a peaceful transition of power. She pointed out that he’d even once claimed the Emmys were rigged because he didn’t win.
She said: “Every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is is rigged against him.”
If only people had heeded Hillary Clinton's dire warnings...