His incredible rise from businessman and TV star to US President was a Hollywood style story in itself.
But since taking up residence in the White House, Donald Trump has continued to ‘entertain’ – word used euphemistically – the world with his occasionally jaw-dropping gaffes and errors of judgement.
Built on a foundation of unflinching support from Republicans across America, Trump is pretty much able to do and say as he pleases without harming his popularity in any way.
Even after his frankly bizarre handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the President’s support has remained largely intact – although his betting odds of being re-elected against Joe Biden in the November election put him as a 50-50 chance of winning another term in office.
Is this the ed of the most divisive Presidential run in US history? Perhaps, so to celebrate here’s a look at Donald Trump’s most outrageous gaffes and mistakes.
#10 – Another Brick in the Wall
Trump really doesn’t like Mexican people.
And it’s fine for a President to be opinionated and outspoken when the populace believes that strong change is needed in American politics. But when it borders on xenophobia? Maybe not.
The word ‘borders’ appears at an opportune moment, as the infamous ‘wall’ claims that Trump made even before elected remain one of this most shocking gaffes – even if, ultimately, it was such shock-and-horror tactics that saw him win the election.
Trump not only promised to build a fortified wall along the border of America and Mexico, but he also claimed he’d ‘make Mexico pay for it.’ As of May 2020, the only progress that has been made is the repair of sections of the existing wall.
When inaugurated, the new President was asked to clarify his comments on Mexican immigration. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots 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.”
#9 – Near the Knuckle
A President is allowed to deal with a serious situation with humour and a light touch – it’s what marks them out as human.
But when the U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot at a baseball game in June 2017, it left him fighting for his life.
He eventually recovered, and after returning to work some months later Trump welcomed him back to the Senate. “It’s a hell of a way to lose weight, Steve,” he joked.
Trump on Steve Scalise being shot: “It’s a hell of a way to lose weight, Steve” pic.twitter.com/gs5reREpv8
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) December 20, 2017
And a whole nation put their fists in their mouths.
#8 – Tongue Tied
Some of Trump’s speeches have become the stuff of legend for his ability to completely say the wrong things. Or, in a twist on Eric Morecambe’s classic line, they’re the right words just said in the wrong order.
When addressing a Values Voter Summit in 2017, the President presumably wanted to speak powerfully about the lives of hard-working Americans.
“They [parents] work two jobs and sometimes three jobs. They sacrifice every day for the furniture – and future – of their children,” was what he actually said. God bless Americans, working their fingers to the bone to give their coffee table the best possible start in life….
#7 – Covfefe, Madam?
No matter of your political allegiance, the US President should be a strong and clear communicator who can enunciate his or her messages clearly and concisely.
So why his advisers would let Trump manage his own Twitter account remains mind-bogglingly unclear, especially when his commitment to proofreading his tweets is sub-par.
In May 2017, Trump tweeted ‘despite the constant negative press covfefe’ – presumably misspelling the word ‘coverage’.
But unable to handle the slander on his ego of making a mistake, the President amazingly claimed he meant to write covfefe, and his press secretary Sean Spicer claimed ‘I think the president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.’
#6 – Scout’s Honour
For all the serious stuff that the US President has to do, there’s also the chance to engage in some fun community-minded activities along the way.
Invited to a Boy Scout jamboree, all Trump had to do was smile, wave and say a few platitudes.
Instead, for reasons unknown, he found himself ranting about the property magnate William Levitt, threatening to launch into an X-rated story of what he might or might not have gotten up to on his private yacht.
“I won’t go anymore than that because you’re Boy Scouts, so I’m not going to tell you what he did.” An unusual show of restraint from the President. “Should I tell you? Should I tell you?” he went on to goad his crowd of innocent children.
#5 – Taking Down the Enemy
Just a week after being inaugurated, Trump’s fear and loathing was quick to surface.
Referencing 9/11, the new President unleashed his ‘Muslim ban’ – barring nationals from Syria, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and the Yemen from entering the US.
The issue was that nobody from those countries has ever committed an act of terrorism on American soil, and that 15 of those responsible for the New York atrocities were from Saudi Arabia, not on Trump’s hitlist.
Know thy enemy, and all that.
#4 – A Heroic Besmirching
Senator John McCain held a number of high-ranking positions in US politics, and that came after a background as a Naval officer which saw him serve on the frontline in the Vietnam War.
He would be captured during the conflict, and was tortured to such an extent he was left with physical impairments for the rest of his life.
You can trust Trump to tiptoe poignantly around the subject, right? Right? “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” Oh, Donald.
#3 – Little Rocket Man
Ah, 21st century politics.
With politicians able to run wild and free on social media, gaffes and mistakes are almost a given – especially, in the case of the President, when there’s not a PR team keeping an eye on everything he does.
It leads to the very real possibility of one of the most dangerous people in the world being publicly heckled, as was the case when Trump fired up his Twitter feed to call North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ‘little rocket man’ and possibly stoke the fires of World War III.
The Chinese Envoy, who just returned from North Korea, seems to have had no impact on Little Rocket Man. Hard to believe his people, and the military, put up with living in such horrible conditions. Russia and China condemned the launch.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2017
Won’t somebody please just take his phone away from him!?
#2 – A Choice Phrase
There’s walking the line with your comments, and then there’s crashing over it with gay abandon.
There’s a turn of phrase that is acceptable when questioning something, and then there’s being out-and-out offensive.
The US President should be toeing the line, of course, but Trump’s ego dictates that he doesn’t need to worry about stuff like that.
He launched into a rant about why there were so many immigrants from ‘s***hole’ countries like Haiti, El Salvador and some African nations in America, with absolutely no regard for any offence caused.
This is the most powerful man on the planet.
#1 – Pardon Me
When Richard Nixon was forced to declare ‘I’m not a crook’ when his private affairs were put under the microscope, it was a shocking moment for the US Presidency.
Step forward Donald Trump, who allegedly called upon some Russian assistance in his 2016 election campaign.
Quizzed about the possibility of impeachment, Trump brushed aside any concerns. “As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself.”
As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong? In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2018
An extraordinary show of hubris from a President who, heading into his re-election campaign, may have plenty more gaffes up his sleeve.