Plenty of American presidents have behaved badly, but few have exhibited the levels of ego, dishonesty, and vindictiveness that Donald Trump puts on display on a daily basis — and always without a trace of remorse, or even any awareness that he’s done anything wrong. Since he lives in a bubble of reality of his own making, and his inexplicably rabid followers lap up every minute of it, it’s time to take a hard look at the things Trump does that no other president or politician could ever get away with.
Quick note: We’re not going to get into Russian collusion or any other “alleged” activities, because he hasn’t been proven guilty of those things. (Technically.) We’re also staying away from Stormy Daniels. In a perfect world, she would certainly qualify, but we live in a world where other Presidents have gotten away with illicit affairs, so sadly, this particular activity doesn’t set Mr. Trump apart.
That said… We’re not holding back here, so buckle up and settle in.
1. Donald Trump Lies Constantly, and Doesn’t Care
Donald Trump is a pathological liar. He never holds himself accountable for anything he says. Most of the time when he speaks, he’s just talking out of his butt. This is news to no one. The Washington Post says that he lied more than two thousand times during his first year in office. (At the time of this writing, the count has surpassed 2,500.) It continues to happen so often that he rarely gets called on it anymore.
It’s not unusual if it’s the status quo.
Wanna blow smoke at somebody giving you a hard time? Go nuts! Feel like bragging about something someone else accomplished (see #10)? Do it, who cares! This is the same man who regularly claimed that his New York high-rises were several floors taller than they really are. Trump has spent his whole life lying and embellishing in virtually every statement he makes. It’s become so commonplace that he doesn’t understand the difference between truth and lies.
It’s undoubtedly freeing for the Donald to be able to say anything he wants to anyone (the batsh*t crazy stuff he says on Twitter will be pointed to for generations as textbook examples of what happens when unstable people are given unchecked power), but it has the unfortunate side effect of causing others to never know when he’s actually telling the freaking truth.
When do we take him seriously? Should we be terrified when he threatens nuclear war with North Korea? Or is it just bluster? It’s probably big talk, but you never know. Maybe he knows he’s lying and doesn’t care. But we think he says what he wants to be true over and over until he’s convinced that it really is.
2. Donald Trump Bullies and Insults Absolutely Everyone
People love to toss out the word “narcissist” to describe President Trump. And it’s absolutely true that he fits the mold. Narcissists are defined as needing the admiration of others, unable to handle criticism, and lacking empathy for others. Narcissists are arrogant, manipulative, self-absorbed, and have a way-over-the-top estimation of themselves.
Sums him up, don’t you think? But chances are, we’ve had other narcissistic Presidents in the past. The thing about Trump’s narcissism is that it’s paired with a 6-year-old spoiled brat’s temperament. He’s a child who bullies everyone around him, who wants what he wants right now, and if he doesn’t get it he’s prepared to throw a temper tantrum.
Remember his insulting nicknames to politicians he didn’t like on the campaign trail? He still does it to this day — just look at “Slippery Comey,” aka “Lyin’ Comey,” which became a Trump-ordered website at lyincomey.com. Others include “Crooked Hillary,” “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz, “Sloppy Steve” Bannon, “Pocahontas” (Elizabeth Warren), “Crazy Joe” Biden, “Little Marco” Rubio, “Low Energy Jeb,” “Crazy Bernie” Sanders, “Cryin’ Chuck” Schumer, “Psycho Joe” Scarborough, “Dumb-as-a-rock Mika” Brzezinski, and many more. It’s like a passive-aggressive marketing trick, only without the passive part. It’s both a catchy slogan and a cruel put-down.
Setting aside the fact that he has far too much free time to sit around and dream all of this stuff up… There’s no other word for this kind of name-calling than juvenile.
Trump’s insults hurled at Mexicans are infamous. He once tweeted that Angela Merkel was ruining Germany, though to be fair, he was probably fuming because she’d just been named Time Magazine’s Person of the year instead of him. (He’s got the ego of a small planet, so nothing gets under his skin like someone getting an accolade that he covets.) He called Brussels, Belgium a “hellhole.” He attacked San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz soon after Hurrican Maria all but destroyed Puerto Rico. He demonstrated his total lack of sensitivity when he insulted London Mayor Sadiq Khan about the UK’s response to terrorist attacks.
Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his “no reason to be alarmed” statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2017
His ignorant and stupidly-timed comments come across like the disapproving mother-in-law who decides to criticize your low-level income on the same day that you get laid off.
He flip-flopped on China constantly during the campaign, saying “I love China!” one minute and “China is not our friend” the next. He predicted that China will “overtake us” if we don’t act against their dominance of global commerce. He actually invoked the word “rape” in describing their “currency manipulation.” He later flat-out lied that he’d never described China as a “currency manipulator.” Failing memory or failing morals? You decide. But as usual, his big talk wound up being nothing more than that; after meeting the Chinese Prime Minister at Trump-a-Lago, the two became BFFs.
I probably don’t even need to get into his relationship with North Korea. The guy happily took part in a pissing contest between a couple of childish blow-hards that, if escalated further, could have turned into a game of chicken with both men’s tiny fingers on their nuclear launch buttons. Because if want to appear tougher than your enemy, “thermonuclear war that would kill millions” are the stakes you want to play with.
The craziest part of Trump’s reckless bluster is that he and those he insulted have remarkably short memories about it. He’s verbally (and viciously) abused many members of his own party, including Paul Ryan, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, none of whom wanted anything to do with the Trump Train at the time. But when he won the election, they jumped on board faster than Ron Weasley running to catch up with the Hogwarts Express.
3. Donald Trump Has a Huge (But Fragile) Ego
Look, you have to have some ego to envision yourself as leader of the free world. You can’t apply for the job without it. But Trump is like a bridezilla. He’s Trumpzilla. He loves bragging about himself, his supposed business successes, his conquests of the opposite sex, his so-called education. He bragged so much on the campaign trail that he eventually ran out of things about himself to describe as “great” and resorted to saying “I know words, I have the best words!” (That really happened.)
Everything in Trumpworld is about Trumpzilla himself. Nothing else matters. Just watch any public appearance he makes and every tweet he sends out. It doesn’t matter what the topic of the day is, he always manages to turn it into a pat on his own back. It follows a very simple either/or pattern. If he’s talking about something he sees as positive, he’ll brag and/or take credit for it (usually he’s just making crap up). If something is negative, he’ll moan about being unfairly criticized or victimized.
Have you ever seen him give someone a handshake? His method is to grab the other person by the hand and yank them in closer to him, hard.
Remember when he shoved his way to the front of the procession of world leaders at the NATO Summit?
Did you notice that he applauded his own statements at the 2018 State of the Union Address?
Dude might as well have “ALPHA DOG” tattooed on his forehead!
We get it, Donald. You don’t know how to function unless everyone believes you’re the most important person in the room.
What a sad, small life you live.
4. Donald Trump is Blatantly Racist. And Sexist.
Our illustrious President flat-out refused to condemn white supremacists after the neo-Nazi-fueled violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Days later he finally came out against the racist demonstrators, but then held a press conference where he walked back his tough talk against the Nazis, calling out extremists and “very fine people on both sides.” He also refused to condemn David Duke, who heartily endorsed Trump for President. His feeble excuse? That he didn’t know anything about David Duke. A proven lie.
Targets of Trump’s flagrant sexism make for a very long list, including the likes of Rosie O’Donnell, Heidi Klum, Arianna Huffington, Angelina Jolie, Bette Midler, Elizabeth Warren, and of course Hillary Clinton. He called Megyn Kelly a bimbo and told his cult followers that she “had blood coming out of her wherever,” insinuating that she was menstruating while moderating one of the debates. He insulted Mika Brzezinski after she was supposedly “bleeding badly from a facelift.” I already mentioned Carly Fiorina. He cheats on Melania (allegedly, but come on) and treats her like property — and it couldn’t be clearer that she despises him for it.
He likes to “grab [women] by the p*ssy.” He once said that the best way to keep women in check is to “you have to treat ’em like sh*t.” He’s on record as having once said that “it doesn’t really matter what the media writes [about you] as long as you have a young and beautiful piece of ass,” suggesting having an attractive woman on his arm would negate any bad publicity about him. One time he dumped red wine down the dress of a female reporter he didn’t like — at a fancy black-tie party. (Actually, he’s done that at least twice.) He regularly rates women he sees as successful or unsuccessful as being so based on their looks.
These outrageous statements and actions would never fly coming from any other person in governmental power. For that matter, any other person would never have been elected with a record like this. Why does Trump get away with it?
5. Donald Trump Demonizes the Media
Once upon a time there was an immature businessman whose favorite thing to do was brag about himself. He fancied himself the only person in the nation who could fix all of its problems, an idea most of the country found laughable — and dangerous. The American media saw the absurdity of this notion and was compelled to report on his illogical ideas, his fear-based proposals, and his endless ramblings about his own supposed greatness.
This didn’t sit well with the businessman, so he did what he always does to those who oppose him: he gave them a degrading nickname. (See #2.) Every media outlet that didn’t overflow with praise for him and tailor their narratives to expound on his successes became “fake news.” (Note: His definition of fake news is “anyone who criticizes me.”) They were labeled liars and manipulators — by the same man who, as I’ve already mentioned, told more than 2,000 lies in his first year as President.
History has a name for leaders who have suppressed media freedom among their people: dictators. Adolf Hitler, he already does.), Saddam Hussein, and even contemporary leaders like Hugo Chavez and Kim Jong-un have been known to prevent public access to free speech media, preferring to replace it with state-sanctioned media sources. And you know Trump would just LOVE to have his own media outlet that would toot his horn 24 hours a day. (Some would argue
“Fake news” is Trump’s petulant, political equivalent of “I know you are, but what am I?” and he enjoys repeating this refrain at every opportunity. But his hostility toward the media doesn’t end there. He openly incited violence against members of the media at his election rallies. He posted an (admittedly satirical, but still) video of himself beating up CNN, on Twitter. Now THAT’S presidential.
In short, Donald Trump’s endless barrage against the news media has done more to delegitimize it than any other politician ever. The result of this nonstop attack on the First Amendment is a society where we all now ingest one-sided news that’s defined by which side of the political divide we find ourselves on. For Conservatives, it’s Fox News, Breitbart, The Blaze, and others. For Liberals, the list includes CNN, The Washington Post, Slate, etc. And for both sides, trusting the “news” that comes from one of the opposing sources is pulling a Benedict Arnold.
Donald Trump has singlehandedly taken the subtle biases of various news agencies and forced them to their extremes, creating a society of paranoia and conviction that “anyone who thinks differently than me” is hopelessly deceived. An unconscionable act committed by a man without a conscience.
6. Donald Trump Tried to Undermine the Election Process
There may be very few things you can do to damage the sanctity of a democracy than cast doubt upon the validity of its citizens’ votes. Even the most underhanded and power-hungry of politicians submit to the legitimacy of the will of American voters. They understand that calling an election into question could be disastrous, unraveling the foundations of our entire government.
Donald Trump is not intelligent enough to understand this. In whining about a supposedly-rigged election, he said that if he didn’t win, the results would be invalid because of “millions” of illegal voters. But if he won, that’d be fine. No presidential candidate in history has had the nerve to make such an idiotic attack on our election process. And make no mistake, it was an attack. Everything about it was designed to sabotage the credibility of the election — in case Little Donny didn’t get what he wanted.
What about the “birther movement”? Trump helped spread a conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, therefore making him ineligible to be President. Despite zero evidence to support this claim, Trump tweeted it and stated it in interviews multiple times. (His views were shared by an unsurprising group of giddy nut jobs that jumped at any chance to attack Obama — factual data be damned — including Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Sean Hannity, Joe Arpaio, Roy Moore, Michael Savage, and more.) Even though the whole thing was so stupid that it didn’t deserve acknowledging, Obama eventually released his Hawaiian birth certificate just to shut them all up.
As late as November 2017 — a full year after he’d won the election, and 14 months after he himself publicly declared that the entire thing was untrue — Mr. Trump was still clinging to his birther/Obama theory.
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
Then there was the time that he made insane claims that his election offices at Trump Tower in New York had been wiretapped by the Obama administration. Once again, there was no evidence to support this, but Trump has never met a conspiracy theory he didn’t like. Maybe he felt his life would not be complete until he created one himself. The wiretapping claims were later debunked as completely false. Trump made it up, maybe while he was bored and tweeting on the toilet. Some of his cult followers continue to believe it to this day.
All through the election he made endless, personal, tasteless attacks on his fellow candidates. Some, like Jeb Bush, were unable to escape the shroud of insults that Trump covered him in. Trump being Trump, he couldn’t just let it go. So of course he bragged about singlehandedly ending Bush’s presidential bid. He insulted Carly Fiorina’s looks, and then later claimed that he didn’t. He constantly belittled Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. He farted from his mouth that Cruz’s father was connected to the JFK assassination. He accused Ben Carson of having an incurable temper, comparing him to the pathological condition of being a child molester. And then he made Carson a member of his Cabinet.
If you attack someone’s character one day and then a few months later install them as part of your inner circle… Your words lose all meaning. We live in a world where the President of the United States can say anything he wants, with no consequences whatsoever. Nothing matters. Including election results — unless they work in his favor.
7. Firing Someone Is Donald Trump’s Solution to Everything
Coming from a business-centric background, it’s somewhat understandable that Donald Trump would treat everything in his administration like a business deal. But the differences in running a government versus running a corporation are never more glaring than when he breaks out two of his favorite words of all time:
Sally Yates had the “honor” of being the first to get the door shut in her face during Trump’s tenure. Yates was the acting Attorney General until Trump’s nominee — Jeff Sessions — could be approved by Congress. When Trump tried to push through his ban on Muslims entering the U.S., she refused to implement his orders and was promptly sacked.
FBI Director James Comey was axed in an obvious attempt to end the investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 election. No doubt Trump was advised by countless minions not to do it — it would only make him look guilty, of course — but he disregarded their counsel and did what he wanted to do. How dumb was this? He actually admitted on camera that he’d fired Comey for that exact reason.
The man is a cartoon villain.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was ousted reportedly after challenging his boss’ poor decisions one too many times. Tillerson famously (and allegedly) called Trump a “moron” behind closed doors, after a meeting where Trump proposed increasing America’s nuclear arsenal times ten. Of course there was also poor Andrew McCabe, Deputy Director of the FBI, who was fired after pissing off Jeff Sessions just a little more than a day before he was set to retire. The firing caused him to lose out on all of his built-up pension benefits. If that’s not pure spite, I don’t know what is.
The line between flat-out firing someone and asking for an underling’s resignation is particularly blurred when it comes to Trump. There have been some seemingly amicable resignations, such as National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, but the majority of quitters left during times when the spotlight was focused acutely on their actions. So unofficially, they were totally fired. These unfortunate minions include Sean Spicer, Walter Shaub, Reince Priebus, Anthony Scaramucci, Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, Tom Price, Omarosa Manigault Newman, Rob Porter, Hope Hicks, Gary Cohn, David Shulkin, and more.
Ten bucks says Trump’s wet dreams involve him gaining the power to fire Senators, Governors, Mayors, judges, and all other officials he doesn’t like.
8. Donald Trump Loves Surrounding Himself with Rich, White, Male, Older, Non-Politicians
In theory, the idea of having a Cabinet and advisors made up of people with no political experience sounds good. It plays right into Trump’s “drain the swamp” theme, suggesting that “business as usual” in Washington doesn’t work, so it’s time to shake things up with a bunch of outsiders to the system.
The problem is, Trump’s no-politicians-allowed picks are all older, rich, white men. There are a handful of token women, but for all intents and purposes, diversity does not exist at the White House. How do you drain the swamp of elites making decisions for Middle Class citizens with a giant squad of rich, old, white guys sitting pretty at the top of the financial food chain?
Of the 16 official Cabinet positions, 12 are occupied by wealthy white men with an age range of 49 to 80. There’s only one African-American among them (Ben Carson, who is also rich), and three women (multi-millionaires all). One of the women is Chinese-American Elaine Chao, which gives Trump a little uptick on the diversity meter. But Chao also happens to be Mitch McConnell’s wife, which pretty much negates her diversity standing.
9. Donald Trump Hires His Own Family Members
When was the last time a President hired members of his own family as senior officials in his administration? It’s happened more often than you might think, particularly prior to the mid-20th Century. The most prominent recent examples are Hillary Clinton’s appointment by her husband Bill to a healthcare reform task force, and JFK naming his brother Robert as Attorney General. Those were significant, but limited and focused roles.
The last time a President put a family member in a position of far-reaching and not-entirely-defined power — such as the “Senior Advisor” roles given to Ivanka and Jared Kushner — was Franklin Roosevelt, who made his son James an administrative assistant and over time moved him up to overseeing some 18 federal agencies.
Ivanka and Jared’s qualifications as federal employees are questionable, at best. They both follow Donald’s footsteps with experience in the business world but no experience in politics. Just like her father, Ivanka is a media personality and entertainer, having been a regular on The Apprentice for several years and launching lifestyle and clothing brands based on her name. Jared is also a businessman and was formerly a publishing entrepreneur, owning a New York newspaper for a dozen years.
Do any of these things qualify Ivanka and Jared for high-ranking administration positions? You could argue either way, but one thing is certain: Donald Trump is not afraid to hire whoever the heck he wants, including his relatives. They worked for him before he entered government service, and he’s not about to change his tendency toward nepotism now just because of a little thing like becoming President of the United States.
It’s only a matter of time before he makes Barron a special envoy to elementary schools or something.
10. Donald Trump Is Obsessed with Winning, Getting Credit, and High Ratings
He takes credit for everything in his administration that goes well, but he throws his employees under the bus anytime something goes bad. (He himself never makes bad decisions or mistakes, therefore he never has anything to apologize for.)
Perfect example: The day after his acceptance speech of the Republican nomination at the RNC, instead of commenting on his campaign or stating what an honor it is to be the official nominee — you know, something classy and presidential — he tweeted a video. That video’s sole message was a breakdown of how much of his RNC speech time was given over to applause. It literally lists the length of the speech and then celebrates the number of minutes during that speech that were devoted to people cheering for him.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2016
That perfectly encapsulates his outlook on everything you need to know about who and what Donald Trump is. The content of the speech was unimportant, the promises he made inconsequential, the impact on the country or history all insignificant. What matters is stroking his ego, so that he can be lauded as the best ever at everything he does. Doing a good job isn’t about helping people or doing the right thing. It’s about getting a standing ovation.
He’s always been obsessed with things like ratings on The Apprentice or his beauty pageants (it still bothers him BIGLY that The Apprentice never won an Emmy). Even now, as President, he continues to point to TV ratings, popularity, periodical circulation, and so on as measures of not just success, but value and worth. One of the biggest insults (in his mind) that he can lob at someone is to suggest that they’re failing and on the verge of collapse.
How did such a petty, childish, narcissistic, foolish, self-centered, cartoony, egotistical, racist, sexist, immoral liar become President of the United States? And maybe more importantly, why do millions of Americans continue to support him as the God-sent savior of our nation?
Take a look in the mirror, America. I hope the face you see there isn’t an orange one.