A Reminder That Donald Trump Has Offended Pretty Much Everyone During His Campaign
Donald Trump’s attacks on federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over a lawsuit against Trump University, have provoked a furious political backlash — from the media, from the candidate’s political opponents, even from leaders in the Republican Party.
Was it, though? Impugning the integrity of a respected jurist and former attorney only because his parents came from Mexico is pretty terrible. But Trump has said many terrible things during his presidential campaign.
In fact, he has built so many nasty statements that it’s difficult to remember all of them, let alone put them into perspective.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a listing — a compendium of outrageous and offensive statements that Trump has constructed since announcing his White House run. Together, they provide a pretty good synopsis of the Trump campaign to date.
We thought about ranking them, but there’s truly no way to do that. What’s more nasty: Disparaging women or Mexicans? Condoning violence or threatening freedom of the press? Calling for the commission of war crimes or seriously proposing to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S .?
This will be an active, living document to which we’ll add new Trump statements when warranted. In the meantime, readers can decide for themselves which quotes are the most reprehensible — or whether, in the end, such distinctions even matter.
1. “They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” June 16, 2015
It all started with his campaign announcement speech. Speaking at Trump Tower in New York City, in what would soon become his familiar style of extemporaneous spout, Trump explained why it was necessary to take aggressive steps to deport undocumented immigrants:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best . … 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 presume, are good people.”
In case you were wondering, the claim that the Mexican government is sending criminals to the U.S. — or that immigrants are disproportionately responsible for crime — is utterly without basis. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker devoted it Four Pinocchios.
2. “I like people who weren’t captured.” July 18, 2015
Trump didn’t serve in the Vietnam War, thanks to a series of deferments. Sen. John McCain( R-Ariz .) did — and expended five excruciating years in captivity, often enduring torturing, after the North Vietnamese shot down his airplane. So what does Trump think of the senator’s service?
“He’s a war hero because he was captured, ” Trump said during an appearance in Iowa. “I like people who weren’t captured.”
3. “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her — wherever.” Aug. 7, 2015
For many Americans, this was the first exposure to Trump’s predilection for lashing out at journalists — and attaining denigrating comments about females. The day after a Fox News debate in which co-moderator Megyn Kelly asked Trump about misogynist things he had said in the past, the candidate called in to CNN and offered a hypothesi on why Kelly was putting forward such tough questions: “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her — wherever.”
Trump subsequently denied that he was referencing Kelly’s menstrual cycle, saying “only a deviant” would think that.
4. “Look at that face! Would anybody vote for that? ” Sept. 9, 2015
Trump has a long history of judging females by their appearances and taunting those who don’t live up to his criteria. While sitting for an interview with Rolling Stone and watching video of a previous Republican presidential debate, Trump turned his attention to Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO and rival for the GOP nomination: “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next chairwoman ?! … I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta tell bad things, but truly, folks, come on. Are we serious? ”
5. “What a beauty, that one…” Sept. 9, 2015
Probably no moment of the campaign has been as singularly creepy as Trump, in that same Rolling Stone interview, talking about his daughter Ivanka: “Yeah, she’s genuinely something, and what a beauty, that one. If I weren’t blithely marriage and, ya know, her parent . . . “
6. “There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases.” Nov. 19, 2015
Days after the terrorist attacks in Paris, an NBC reporter asked Trump whether the U.S. should have a registry of Muslims living in the country. “I would certainly enforce that, ” Trump said. “Absolutely . … There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases. We should have a lot of systems.” The reporter followed up: Would Muslims be required to register? “They have to be — they have to be, ” Trump responded. He later said he had not understood the reporter’s question and merely wanted a registry of refugees from places like Syria, although he added that a full Muslim registry is “something we should start thinking about.”
7. “Thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down.” Nov. 21, 2015
“I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down, ” he said at a rally in Birmingham, Alabama. “And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that build was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”
The next day, “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos pointed out that “the police say that didn’t happen.” Trump insisted otherwise: “It was on television. I insured it happen.”
The narratives of mass 9/11 festivities by American Muslims have been around for a long time — and have been subjected to numerous independent inquiries by journalists and fact-checkers. The verdict is always the same: The festivities didn’t happen.
8. “Written by a nice reporter. Now the poor guy. You ought to see this guy.” Nov. 24, 2015
While under scrutiny for his claim that he saw thousands of Muslims cheering 9/11, Trump cited a 2001 Washington Post story reporting that officials had investigated reports of some people celebrating the attacks. The story, by reporter Serge Kovaleski, had mentioned “some” people , not “thousands” — and the reports of celebrations were not corroborated. But never mind that.When Trump was telling a South Carolina audience about the article, he digressed and started talking about Kovaleski: “Written by a nice reporter. Now the poor guy. You ought to see this guy.” And as Trump was saying these things, he contorted his face and moved his arms and hands around awkwardly.
Kovaleski has arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that can limit joint movement or lock legs in place.
9. “A total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Dec. 7, 2015
Trump emailed a statement to the press, then read it aloud( referring to himself in the third person) during a campaign appearance in South Carolina. “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on, ” it read.
Campaign aide Corey Lewandowski later confirmed that the prohibition would encompass “everybody, ” including Muslims seeking tourist visas — although neither Trump nor his aides ever explained how they could successfully implement such a plan, since many passports don’t indicate religion, or how such a policy squared with the basic American credo that nobody should be judged based on his or her faith.
10. “[ Putin] ’s operating his country and at the least he’s a leader.” Dec. 18, 2015
Trump expended much of the fall trading kind words with Russian President Vladmir Putin. He explained why in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“He’s operating his country and at the least he’s a leader, ” Trump said. “You know, unlike what we have in this country.”
Co-host Joe Scarborough pointed out that Putin is a strongman whose political adversaries, including those in the media, frequently end up dead. Trump responded by saying, “Well, I believe our country does plenty of killing also.” He went on to note that Putin’s poll numbers in Russia were much higher than those of U.S. President Barack Obama.
11. “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue, shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” Jan. 23, 2016
During an Iowa campaign appearance, Trump marveled at the loyalty of his supporters: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue, shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”
Craziest thing about this statement? It might have been true.
12. “I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” Feb. 6, 2016
Several Republican presidential candidates said they supported using brutal interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists. Days before the New Hampshire primary, during a debate, Trump outperformed them all.
“We have people chopping the heads off Christians, we have people chopping the heads off many other people, ” Trump said. “Not since medieval hours have we seen what’s going on. I would bring back waterboarding, and I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”
13. “He dipped them in pig’s blood.” Feb. 19, 2016
Trump’s support for torment elicited widespread disapproval, much of it from former representatives from the armed forces and national security experts. Trump’s immediate reply, naturally, was to double down. During a rally in South Carolina, he told his supporters a tale about America’s occupation of the Philippines in the early 20 th century — and the methods Gen. John Joseph Pershing supposedly used to fight Muslim rebels there.
“They were having terrorism problems, just like we do. And he caught 50 terrorists who did tremendous injury and killed many people. And he took the 50 terrorists, and he took 50 men and he dipped 50 bullets in pigs’ blood — you heard that, right? He took 50 bullets, and he dipped them in pigs’ blood. And he had his men load his rifles, and he lined up the 50 people, and they shot 49 of those people. And the 50 th person, he told: You go back to your people, and you tell them what happened. And for 25 years, there wasn’t a number of problems. OK? Twenty-five years, there wasn’t a problem.”
Experts consider the story apocryphal, as multiple media outlets quickly reported. Trump kept repeating the tale anyway.
14. “I’d like to punch him in the face.” Feb. 22, 2016
By February, interruptions at Trump rallies had become part of the routine: A protester would interrupt the candidate, who would say something nasty about the protester while security escorted him or her off the premises.
Sometimes Trump would simply shout “get out! ” Other days, he’d offer more commentary — which is what he did during a Las Vegas rally. “Here’s a guy, throwing punches, nasty as hell, calling at everything else, when we’re talking, ” he said. “The guards are very gentle with him. He’s walking out, like, big high-fives, smiling, laughing. I’d like to punch him in the face, I tell ya.”
15. “I’m going to open our libel laws.” Feb. 26, 2016
Trump, whose candidacy has benefited staggeringly from free media coverage, has spent much of the campaign assaulting the press. He announced at a Texas rally that he’d continue doing so as chairperson — and would seek to change laws, so that suing the media would become easier:
“I’m going to open up our libel statutes so when they write intentionally negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re going to open up those libel laws. So when The New York Times writes a hitting piece which is a total humiliation or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a make piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re altogether protected.”
As usual, Trump didn’t go into details — like, for example, whether he understood the current standards for libel come from a 1964 Supreme Court case that virtually no jurist seriously questions.
16. “I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK? ” Feb. 28, 2016
Former Ku Klux Klan leader and Louisiana politician David Duke is among the many white supremacists who have supported Trump’s candidacy. CNN’s Jake Tapper gave Trump the chance to disavow that support — and Trump declined to do so three times. The candidate said he required more information about Duke, who is arguably the nation’s best known associate of the KKK and about whom Trump had spoken previously.
“Just so you are familiar with, ” Trump said on CNN, “I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK? I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know — did he endorse me or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke.”
17. “5 0 bucks a steak.” March 8, 2016
Triumph doesn’t soothe Trump’s fragile ego. Case in point: After winning the hugely important Florida primary, Trump employed his victory press conference to rebut former GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s suggestion that Trump-branded commercial products had been miserable failures.
“I have very successful companies, ” Trump said, pointing to a nearby table with consumer goods bearing his name — including, supposedly, a heap of Trump Steaks. “If you want to take one, we’ll charge 50 bucks a steak.”
It took journalists all of a few seconds to notice that the steaks had labels from a local supermarket — and a few more hours of research to determine that the steak line was defunct, just as Romney had claimed.
Consequential? No. Indicative of a brazen willingness to lie? Yes.
18. “I’ve informed my people to look into it.” March 13, 2016
At a North Carolina rally, a 78 -year-old Trump supporter named John McGraw walked across a row of seats and sucker-punched a protester who was being escorted away by security. Video footage captured the incident, raising new questions about whether Trump was implicitly fostering such violence — by, among other things, vowing to pay the legal fees of any advocates who opposed protesters and faced arrest as a result.
Chuck Todd, host of NBC’s “Meet the Press, ” asked Trump whether that meant he’d pay McGraw’s legal fees. “I’ve actually informed my people is currently considering it, yes, ” Trump said. “I don’t condone violence, ” Trump added, although he also went out of his way to kudo McGraw. “He obviously loves our own countries, ” he told. “And maybe he doesn’t like insuring what’s happening to the country.”
19. “I think you would have riots.” March 16, 2016
In early March, it seems very possible that Trump could win more delegates than his challengers but still fall short of securing the number needed to clinch the nomination. This raised the possibility of a contested convention in Cleveland, and Republican leadership constructing somebody else the party’s presidential nominee.
As is typical, Trump afterwards clarified that he wasn’t condoning or encouraging violence. He was merely pointing out that it could happen. “I wouldn’t result it, but I believe bad things would happen, ” he said.
20. “We’re better off if Japan protects itself.” March 29, 2016
Since World War II, a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy has been to limit the spread of nuclear weapons — especially to areas of potentially high tensions, like the Korean peninsula. Trump shocked both liberal and conservative foreign policy experts when he proposed upending that policy — specifically, by having Japan and South Korea defend themselves, with their own nuclear arsenals, rather than rely on the U.S. military.
“At some phase we have to say,’ You know what, we’re better off if Japan protects itself against this madman in North Korea, we’re better off, candidly, if South Korea is going to start to protect itself, ‘” he told.
When wished to know whether the same policy might apply to countries like Saudi Arabia, Trump said he imagined the country would get a nuclear arsenal eventually, although he wouldn’t proponent giving it one. “It’s only a question of day, ” Trump said. “They’re going to start having them or we have to get rid of them entirely.”
21. “What was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald? ” May 3, 2016
Trump was poised to win the Indiana primary and secure the GOP nomination. But instead of easing up on his chief rival, Sen. Ted Cruz( R-Texas ), he started talking about a bizarre National Enqurier tale that suggested a is connected with Cruz’s father and John F. Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.
“His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being, you know, shoot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous, ” Trump said during a phone call to Fox News. “Nobody even brings it up. They don’t even talk about that. That was reported, and nobody talks about it . … What was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the shooting? ”
The Washington Post asked Trump about the hypothesi, popular in some conservative circles, that Hillary Clinton had something to do with the 1993 death of Vince Foster, a personal friend who was serving in the White House. Trump “ve called the” demise, which multiple inquires determined to be a suicide, “very fishy.” Trump proceeded to address the matter in what’s become his signature technique: He repeated discredited allegations of foul play( “there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder”) while claiming not to know the truth because he didn’t have all the related information( “I don’t know enough to really discuss it” ).
24. “This judge is of Mexican heritage. I’m constructing a wall.” June 3, 2016
The personal attacks. The disdain for political norms. The denigration of immigrants. It’s all there in Trump’s commentaries about Curiel, who was born Indiana and, as it happens, risked his life as a prosecutor to seek Mexican drug cartels.
During a sit-down interview on CNN, Tapper asked the business mogul whether questioning Curiel’s integrity because he’s the son of immigrants amounts to racism.
“This judge is of Mexican heritage. I’m building a wall, ” Trump told, as if that somehow demonstrated his phase. He returned to that defense every time Tapper pressed him for a different answer.
In subsequent remarks to other journalists, Trump has conceded that the same logic might disqualify a Muslim judge, dedicated Trump’s suggestion that all Muslims should be banned from entering the U.S. He has not withdrawn or apologized for that statement, or for what he said about Curiel — except to say that his comments were “misconstrued” and that “I do not feel that one’s heritage stimulates them incapable of being impartial.”