Part of the mad genius of Donald J. Trump is that he never runs from scandals. He just creates more of them. So many more that anyone attempting to track them all risks becoming numb as a survival mechanism.
A collective amnesia sets in. We ask ourselves, “Do you remember that time when Trump got impeached, said that super-racist thing, cozied up to dictators, threatened our elections, or oh, whatever that was?”
Well, we at The Bulwark do. Yes, it can be hard to keep up. We all need reminders. So, lest anyone forget or require convincing, here’s a non-exhaustive list of 100 reasons Donald Trump is unfit to be president.
Reported $1.17 billion in business losses over the decade. Trump “appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer,” according to the New York Times.
May 1, 1989
Took out $85,000-worth of full-page ads in New York newspapers calling for the death penalty for the Central Park Five—whose convictions were later vacated after DNA evidence proved their innocence. Trump never apologized.
Contrary to his story of being a self-made billionaire, Trump received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father’s real-estate empire, much of it transferred through suspect tax-dodging schemes.
Declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy for his various businesses six times.
Bragged about grabbing women “by the pussy” in a conversation with Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush picked up on a hot mic.
Promoted birtherism against President Barack Obama—the false claim that Obama was not born in the United States, that his birth certificate was fraudulent, and that therefore he was constitutionally ineligible for the presidency.
June 16, 2015
Announced his presidential campaign by describing America as “a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems.” Mexicans coming to America, he said, were “bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
July 18, 2015
Said Vietnam POW John McCain is “not a war hero” and “I like people who weren’t captured.”
November 22, 2015
Claimed that “thousands and thousands” of people in New Jersey’s Arab communities cheered on 9/11.
2016 campaign season
Encouraged violence. Said that he’d like to punch a protester “in the face”; that his supporters should “knock the hell” out of protesters—“I promise you, I’ll pay the legal bills”; and that the police should not protect suspects’ heads when loading them into squad cars.
May 11, 2016
Refused to release his tax returns for public inspection after having previously promised to do so. On other occasions, he falsely claimed he could not release them because he was under audit. When, in 2019, Congress subpoenaed Trump’s tax returns, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin refused to comply—kicking off cases that went to the Supreme Court.
July 27, 2016
Called on Russia to hack and release Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails.
July 30, 2016
Denigrated the family of U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed in 2004 while serving in Iraq, after Khan’s father delivered remarks at the Democratic National Convention.
July 30, 2016
Broke with U.S. policy of supporting Ukraine over Russia’s invasion of Crimea, saying: “The people of Crimea, from what I’ve heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were.”
January 20, 2017
Trump inaugurated, becomes the 45th president of the United States.
January 21, 2017
As one of his first official acts as president, deployed White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer to lie about the size of his inauguration crowds.
January 21, 2017
Blasted the news media and bragged about the size of his inauguration crowds—as well as his intellect—in front of the CIA’s wall of stars memorializing agents who died in service to the country.
January 27, 2017
Enacted the “Muslim ban” that, through executive order, prevented foreign nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days; the order was quickly contested in the courts, and its enforcement was blocked.
April 29, 2017
Told Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who had sanctioned the extrajudicial killing of drug suspects, that he was doing an “unbelievable job” of cracking down on his country’s drug problem.
May 16, 2017
Remained silent when security forces working for Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, attacked protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C.
July 9, 2017
Considered creating a joint cyber security task force with Russia, despite the fact that Russia has been responsible for a host of cyber attacks against the United States. He tweeted, “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded.” Putin confirmed in a 2018 event that he had discussed the idea with Trump.
August 15, 2017
Said there were “very fine people on both sides” of the alt-right protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
October 11, 2017
Tweeted a suggestion that “fake news” networks, such as NBC, should have their broadcast licenses “challenge[d].”
October 24, 2017
Asked then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo to meet with a conspiracy theorist who believes that Russia didn’t hack emails from the Democratic National Committee computers during the 2016 campaign, but that the DNC itself leaked them.
November 26, 2017
Stood by Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore amid credible accusations that Moore had committed acts of sexual misconduct.
January 2, 2018
Escalated nuclear tensions with North Korea by tweeting, “I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
January 11, 2018
During an Oval Office meeting about immigration, asked lawmakers “Why do we want all these people from shithole countries coming here?”
February 21, 2018
Required a handwritten reminder to appear empathetic when he met with students and parents affected by school shootings.
March 3, 2018
Congratulated Chinese President Xi Jinping on eliminating term limits. “I think it’s great,” Trump said. “Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”
April 5, 2018
Overruled objections from national security officials to give son-in-law Jared Kushner a security clearance.
Accepted a memo from President Erdoğan of Turkey that claimed innocence for a Turkish firm under investigation by the Southern District of New York. According to John Bolton’s 2020 memoir of his time as Trump’s national security advisor, Trump “told Erdogan he would take care of things, explaining that the Southern District prosecutors were not his people, but were Obama people, a problem that would be fixed when they were replaced by his people.” (On June 20, 2020, he did fire the U.S. Attorney for the SDNY, Geoffrey Berman, who not only had indicted the Turkish-owned firm but had reportedly opened an inquiry into Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.)
Makes a habit of questioning the intelligence and mental stability of his black critics—such as Rep. Maxine Waters, CNN host Don Lemon, and NBA star LeBron James.
July 13, 2018
Lifted a ban preventing the Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE from doing business with U.S. companies. ZTE was widely considered to be a threat to U.S. national security; without Trump’s intervention, it likely would have gone bankrupt.
July 16, 2018
Sided with Russian president Vladimir Putin in rejecting the findings of the U.S. intelligence community about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election during a joint news conference with Putin in Helsinki, Finland.
July 22, 2018
Used Twitter to issue an all-caps threat to Iran.
August 15, 2018
Revoked former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance in retaliation for his criticism of the president.
September 13, 2018
Denied that 3,000 Puerto Ricans died in hurricane Maria and Irma and blamed Democrats for manipulating the numbers to make him look bad.
September 25, 2018
Claimed at the U.N. General Assembly that his administration had accomplished more in two years than “almost any administration in the history of our country”—a boast that immediately elicited the laughter of world leaders.
September 29, 2018
Talked affectionately of his relationship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un: “We fell in love, okay?”
December 6, 2018
The New York Times reported that the Trump Organization employed undocumented workers at his New Jersey golf course.
December 12, 2018
Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen is sentenced to three years in prison.
December 22, 2018-January 25, 2019
Caused the longest government shutdown in American history, because he could not persuade Congress to fund the border wall he wanted to build.
February 15, 2019
Declared a “national emergency concerning the southern border of the United States”—a move that allowed him to shift funding from the Pentagon budget to help pay for the border wall. (As of 2020, the sections of the wall that have been built have cost U.S. taxpayers nearly $30 million per mile. Mexico has not paid for the wall as Trump promised it would.)
March 13, 2019
Paul Manafort, Trump’s 2016 campaign manager, was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison after being convicted of tax fraud, bank fraud, and failure to disclose a foreign bank account.
March 24, 2019
Attorney General William Barr released a misleading four-page summary of the long-anticipated Mueller Report. Three days later, Mueller wrote that Barr’s summary “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions.”
April 24, 2019
Recalled U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch after Trump’s lawyer Rudy Guiliani and his associates led a smear campaign against her. (Seven months later, he would attack her while she testified before Congress.)
May 24, 2019
Circumvented Congress by declaring an “emergency” over Iran so he could sell arms to Saudia Arabia, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates.
June 19, 2019
Began pushing aides to block military aid to Ukraine, an action that was carried out later and that the Government Accountability Office said broke the law. This same day, he also falsely implied in a TV interview that Ukraine, not Russia, was somehow linked to the hacking of the DNC emails during the 2016 campaign.
June 28-29, 2019
Lauded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and declined questions about the brutal killing of Washington Post writer and legal U.S resident Jamal Khashoggi, whom the CIA concluded the prince had ordered dead.
June 28-29, 2019
Asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him get re-elected, according to then-National Security Advisor John Bolton’s later account: During the G-20 meeting, Trump “stunningly . . . turned the conversation to the coming U.S. presidential election, alluding to China’s economic capability to affect the ongoing campaigns, pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win. . . . He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome.” Bolton also reports that Trump told Xi he supports his building of concentration camps that hold an estimated one million Uighurs.
July 14, 2019
Said of a trio of freshman minority Democratic congresswomen, “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
July 23, 2019
Attacked Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the eve of his testimony before Congress.
July 25, 2019
Asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden—the action that led to President Trump’s impeachment by the House of Representatives in December 2019 and trial in the Senate in January and February 2020.
August 20, 2019
Said that Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats are guilty of “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
Invited the Taliban to Camp David.
Canceled GOP presidential caucuses and primaries in four states.
September 4, 2019
Displayed an official National Weather Service map in the Oval Office that was falsified with a Sharpie to make it seem as if government forecasters had during the previous week projected that Hurricane Dorian might strike Alabama, as he had erroneously claimed.
October 1, 2019
Reports surfaced that Trump had suggested soldiers shoot migrants illegally crossing into the United States. He reportedly also inquired about putting a “water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators” at the border, “prompting aides to seek a cost estimate.”
October 23, 2019
Described NeverTrump Republicans as “human scum.”
October 27, 2019
Claimed that he had predicted Osama bin Laden’s 9/11 attack.
Intervened in the case of Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher, following his trial for war crimes. Upon Trump’s order, Gallagher’s demotion was undone and he was allowed to keep his Navy SEAL Trident insignia, which he was about to be stripped of. Navy Secretary Richard Spencer was fired for opposing the president’s intervention.
November 7, 2019
Ordered to pay $2 million in damages to settle claims brought by the New York state government that the Trump Foundation had misused funds. (The foundation was already being dissolved because of what New York officials called a “shocking pattern of illegality . . . including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more.” Much of this story was first unearthed by Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold.)
November 19, 2019
Smeared Alexander Vindman, a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel detailed to the National Security Council, after Vindman testified in the House impeachment investigation.
February 7, 2020
Fired impeachment witnesses Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. (Also fired Alex Vindman’s brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, also a National Security Council staffer.)
February 20, 2020
Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone was sentenced to more than three years in prison after his conviction on seven felony charges, including lying under oath to Congress and obstructing the investigation into the 2016 election.
February 28, 2020
Said that Democrats “are politicizing the coronavirus” and that “this is their new hoax.”
Repeatedly touted the antimalarial drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as treatments for COVID-19, despite the lack of high-quality evidence regarding either their effectiveness or their potential harmful side effects. On April 20, the administration demoted a top government virologist who questioned the scientific merits of these drugs for treating COVID-19. On May 18, Trump claimed that he had been taking hydroxychloroquine pills himself, although a note released that evening by the White House physician did not confirm the claim. By June, with the president’s attention elsewhere, both the NIH and the FDA cautioned against the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for treating COVID-19.
April 3, 2020
Fired the intelligence community inspector general in retaliation for delivering the whistleblower complaint that triggered impeachment.
April 4, 2020
Blasted Navy Capt. Brett Crozier for writing a letter informing Navy leaders about the outbreak of coronavirus among sailors aboard the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.
April 7, 2020
Said that “mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country because they’re cheaters.” But President Trump had himself voted absentee by mail the previous month, and the vice president, the attorney general, several cabinet members, and numerous White House staffers had voted by mail as well.
April 23, 2020
Suggested that light or disinfectants could be applied to the human body to treat coronavirus: “Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous—whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light. . . . supposing you brought the light inside the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that too. It sounds interesting. . . . And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs.”
May 12, 2020
Promoted a conspiracy theory accusing MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough of murder.
Pushed a new conspiracy theory, “OBAMAGATE,” that alleges that his predecessor used the final days of his presidency to lead a coup against the incoming Trump presidency—a scandal that would, in Trump’s words, be “the biggest political crime in American history, by far!” Trump later said, without evidence, that Obama had committed “treason.”
May 15, 2020
Fired the inspector general of the Department of State at the request of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whom the IG was investigating.
May 20, 2020
Threatened to withhold federal funding from Michigan and Nevada if officials go forward with plans to mail absentee ballots or applications to voters.
May 29, 2020
As of this date, according to a database compiled by the Washington Post, President Trump had told over 19,000 lies since he assumed office.
May 29, 2020
Called Minneapolis protesters “THUGS” and said “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter flagged the tweet as violating the platform’s rules against glorifying violence.
June 1, 2020
Ordered the dispersal of peaceful protesters—by law-enforcement officers who attacked them with flash grenades, smoke grenades, rubber-ball grenades, pepper spray (a kind of tear gas), and pepper balls—so that he could walk from the White House across Lafayette Square for a photo op in front of St. John’s Church. In the days that followed, representatives from the White House, the Trump campaign, and various law-enforcement agencies denied that tear gas was used during the incident, although they later walked back their denials. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff later apologized for his presence at the scene. The incident also led former secretary of defense James Mattis to condemn the president: “We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square.”
June 9, 2020
Speculated that a 75-year-old Black Lives Matter protester who was hospitalized after being shoved on June 4 by Buffalo police is an “ANTIFA provocateur.”
June 20, 2020
Held an indoor campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma—without requiring the masks and social distancing recommended by government health authorities. Told the crowd that he believed too many cases of coronavirus were being logged and that he had instructed “my people” to “slow the testing down.” (After initial speculation that this was a joke, he later said that it was not, and that he really had ordered a slowdown in testing.) Two Secret Service agents present at the Tulsa rally later tested positive for COVID-19, a fact that then resulted in dozens of Secret Service personnel having to quarantine themselves. Eight staffers from Trump’s campaign staff also tested positive, so all campaign staffers who attended the rally reportedly had to quarantine themselves.
June 21, 2020
Said that he delayed sanctions against Chinese officials involved in running concentration camps because he thought it would hurt his trade deal with the country.