Sadly, someone told Donald Trump about cancel culture and now he won’t stop talking about it.
In fact, he’s decided to base a sizable amount of his platform for the 2020 presidential election on being the ‘warrior’ who can stop cancel culture in its tracks.
Which is an interesting tactic for many reasons, given firstly, as CNN points out, Trump is not above the odd ‘cancellation’ campaign himself.
But also because if cancel culture was as real and as effective as Trump is trying to make out, the man wouldn’t be president of the United States.
Here’s 10 times cancel culture should have taken care of Trump if it really existed.
1. When he accused Barack Obama of being born in Kenya
Remember the time Donald Trump led a concerned campaign to prove that the first Black president was not born in America? That very racist effort stretched over several years and only ended by Barack Obama wearily producing his birth certificate. At the time, Trump received plenty of flack from outraged public and politicians alike. But he remained uncancelled.
2. When he bragged about sexually assaulting women on tape
During the 2016 presidential election, The Washington Post published now-infamous audio of Trump and his friend Billy Bush, shooting the s**t regarding women. Dating from 2005, on the tape, Trump details what appears to be a sexual assault on a married woman (and has faced allegations since that seem very much to align with the behaviour he describes). “I just start kissing [beautiful women]”, Trump says on the tape. “It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything. … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything”.
Was he cancelled for this? No, he won the election.
3. When he encouraged police brutality
Does America have a problem with police brutality? Yes, thinks Donald Trump, officers aren't brutal enough. In a 2017 speech, he told assembled officers:
Now, we're getting them [criminals] out anyway, but we'd like to get them out a lot faster, and when you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, I said, please don't be too nice.
Like 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?
Even the police department he was speaking to at the time condemned his remarks. Yet he was resolutely not cancelled.
4. When he seemed to call for innocent Black boys to be killed
When five Black boys were wrongly accused and jailed for a brutal rape in 1989, Trump – then a preppy heir to a property empire – bought newspaper adverts lobbying New York State to adopt the death penalty.
These were widely interpreted to be asking for the five boys to be sentenced to death for the crime.
Trump wasn’t cancelled then for the move (unsurprising, given the time) but over the years, people began demanding an apology for his role in “inflaming” the public mood at the time and potentially influencing public conceptions of their guilt. Since the five were exonerated, those calls have reached an all time high. Will he apologise? No, says Trump. Will he be cancelled for it? Also, no.
5. When he made creepy comments about his own daughter
No woman seems to be safe from Trump’s misogyny, not even his daughter, Ivanka.
Trump has a strange and uncomfortable record of comments regarding his favourite child, including calling a teenaged Ivanka “voluptuous”, “a piece of ass” and saying that if she wasn’t his daughter, perhaps he would be “dating her”. Sexualising your own daughter seems like a cancellable offence.
6. When he called Mexican immigrants “rapists”
A highlight from Trump’s 2015-16 presidential campaign.
“When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best,” he said, in a speech that signalled early on what his approach to migration would be.
“They're sending people that have a lot of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people”. Sadly, he wasn’t cancelled for this then and he still isn’t cancelled now.
7. When he specifically tried to ban an entire religion from coming the US
He blamed Islam and called for a “total ban” on all Muslims entering the US. Which was obviously Islamaphobic and othering to a degree that seems obvious.
Did he ask for a ban on atheists or white people following the Las Vegas shooting? Of course not. But Trump was neither cancelled at the time of the comments, nor two years later when he signed a travel ban into law that prevented individuals from five Muslim-majority countries from entering the US.
8. When he used antisemitic tropes
In 2015, for example, he addressed a room of Jewish Republican supporters by saying: "You're not gonna support me because I don't want your money. You want to control your politicians, that's fine. Five months ago I was with you," and "I'm a negotiator like you folks, we are negotiators. Is there anybody that doesn't renegotiate deals in this room? This room negotiates them – perhaps more than any other room I've ever spoken in".
He was met with boos but he was not cancelled.
9. When he tried to do a Black vs white season of The Apprentice
In 2005, Donald Trump had the 'brilliant' idea of pitting a team of Black contestants against a team of white ones for his show, The Apprentice.
At the time the idea was panned, even with the racial blindspots that early 2000s reality TV possessed. Exploiting racial tensions for television surely is a cancellation waiting to happen? Except it didn't.
10. When he compared same-gender marriage unfavourably to golf putters
Trump sees the entire world through the prism of a game of golf so he even makes his awful remarks using putting metaphors.
Discussing his opposition to same-gender marriage in 2011, Trump said:
“It’s like in golf. A lot of people – I don’t want this to sound trivial – but a lot of people are switching to these really long putters, very unattractive. It’s weird. You see these great players with these really long putters, because they can’t sink three-footers anymore. And, I hate it. I am a traditionalist. I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but I am a traditionalist.”
Not only did his remark not make sense at all (what does it mean?) it’s also more than enough to see someone cancelled, if cancel culture actually existed at all.
But Trump still appears to be pootling along, swinging his club around as much as he likes.
Cancel watch: Donald Trump remains, distressingly, uncancelled.