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100 Reasons Trump Is Unfit to Be President

A timeline of Trump outrages.
June 26, 2020
Featured Image
(Hannah Yoest / Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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.

  • 1

    1985-1994

    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.

  • 2

    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.

  • 3

    1990s

    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.

  • 4

    1991-2009

    Declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy for his various businesses six times.

  • 5

    2005

    Bragged about grabbing women “by the pussy” in a conversation with Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush picked up on a hot mic.

  • 6

    2011-2016

    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.

  • 7

    2015-2016

    Attacked in sexist and demeaning ways women who raised critical questions about his character. See: Megyn Kelly, Carly Fiorina, Hillary Clinton.

  • 8

    2015-present

    Denies accusations of sexual misconduct, ranging from unwanted kissing to rape, by calling the women “liars” and not “his type.”

  • 9

    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.”

  • 10

    July 18, 2015

    Said Vietnam POW John McCain is “not a war hero” and “I like people who weren’t captured.”

  • 11

    November 22, 2015

    Claimed that “thousands and thousands” of people in New Jersey’s Arab communities cheered on 9/11.

  • 12

    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.

  • 13

    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.

  • 14

    May-June 2016

    Said Judge Gonzalo Curiel is unfit to rule on a lawsuit filed by Trump University students because “he’s a Mexican” (in fact, the judge is an American citizen born in Indiana). Trump would later settle the lawsuit for $25 million.

  • 15

    July 27, 2016

    Called on Russia to hack and release Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails.

  • 16

    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.

  • 17

    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.”

  • 18

    Fall 2016

    Before Election Day, repeatedly hyped unfounded fears of a “rigged” election. Then, after Election Day, he stated, without any evidence, “I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”

  • January 20, 2017

    Trump inaugurated, becomes the 45th president of the United States.

  • 19

    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.

  • 20

    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.

  • 21

    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.

  • 22

    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.

  • 23

    May 9, 2017

    Fired FBI Director James Comey. Comey later said that Trump had told him during a private January 2017 dinner that “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.”

  • 24

    May 11, 2017

    Created a federal commission to investigate voter fraud that failed to find any examples of voter fraud.

  • 25

    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.

  • 26

    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.

  • 27

    August 15, 2017

    Said there were “very fine people on both sides” of the alt-right protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.

  • 28

    August 25, 2017

    Pardoned Joe Arapaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, who had been convicted of criminal contempt for disregarding a court order in a racial-profiling case.

  • 29

    October 11, 2017

    Tweeted a suggestion that “fake news” networks, such as NBC, should have their broadcast licenses “challenge[d].”

  • 30

    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.

  • 31

    November 26, 2017

    Stood by Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore amid credible accusations that Moore had committed acts of sexual misconduct.

  • 32

    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!”

  • 33

    January 11, 2018

    During an Oval Office meeting about immigration, asked lawmakers “Why do we want all these people from shithole countries coming here?

  • 34

    February 5, 2018

    Said Democrats who declined to applaud his State of the Union speech were “treasonous,” a charge that he would go on to level at other political opponents as well.

  • 35

    February 21, 2018

    Required a handwritten reminder to appear empathetic when he met with students and parents affected by school shootings.

  • 36

    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.”

  • 37

    April 5, 2018

    Denied any knowledge of the $130,000 hush-money payment his lawyer Michael Cohen made to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels to keep her silent during the 2016 election. A book by Daniels laying out the details of her alleged 2006 affair with the married Trump was published later in 2018.

  • 38

    April 6, 2018

    Instituted a “zero tolerance” policy at the border requiring the forced separation of families; it was rescinded weeks later, after more than 2,300 children had been separated from their parents.

  • 39

    May 2018

    Overruled objections from national security officials to give son-in-law Jared Kushner a security clearance.

  • 40

    May 2018

    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.)

  • 41

    June 2018-present

    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.

  • 42

    July 12, 2018

    Threatened that the United States might “go our own way”—interpreted as a signal that he wanted to pull out of NATO—throwing a summit with world leaders into turmoil. He had repeatedly called NATO “obsolete” during the 2016 campaign, then “not so obsolete” once he was in office.

  • 43

    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.

  • 44

    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.

  • 45

    July 22, 2018

    Used Twitter to issue an all-caps threat to Iran.

  • 46

    August 15, 2018

    Revoked former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance in retaliation for his criticism of the president.

  • 47

    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.

  • 48

    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.

  • 49

    September 29, 2018

    Talked affectionately of his relationship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un: “We fell in love, okay?

  • 50

    October 29, 2018

    Just days after Trump fanatic Cesar Sayoc was arrested for sending pipe bombs to CNN offices and to prominent Trump critics, Trump tweeted, “The Fake News Media the true Enemy of the People.”

  • 51

    November 7, 2018

    Fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The president’s chief grudge against Sessions? The fact that Sessions recused himself from the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. (Sessions was legally obligated to do so as a participant of Trump’s campaign.)

  • 52

    December 6, 2018

    The New York Times reported that the Trump Organization employed undocumented workers at his New Jersey golf course.

  • 53

    December 12, 2018

    Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen is sentenced to three years in prison.

  • 54

    December 19, 2018

    Ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, abandoning America’s Kurdish allies, which led to the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

  • 55

    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.

  • 56

    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.)

  • 57

    February 25, 2019

    Falsely credited his daughter Ivanka with creating “millions of jobs.” (In 2016, he had said that his children would have no role in the White House; instead, Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner were given large advisory portfolios.)

  • 58

    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.

  • 59

    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.”

  • 60

    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.)

  • 61

    May 20, 2019

    Blocked former White House counsel and Mueller Report key witness Don McGahn from testifying before Congress—one of numerous witnesses the White House refused to let testify.

  • 62

    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.

  • 63

    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.

  • 64

    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.

  • 65

    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.

  • 66

    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.”

  • 67

    July 23, 2019

    Attacked Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the eve of his testimony before Congress.

  • 68

    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.

  • 69

    August 20, 2019

    Said that Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats are guilty of “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”

  • 70

    August-September 2019

    Invited the Taliban to Camp David.

  • 71

    September 2019

    Canceled GOP presidential caucuses and primaries in four states.

  • 72

    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.

  • 73

    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.”

  • 74

    October 23, 2019

    Described NeverTrump Republicans as “human scum.”

  • 75

    October 27, 2019

  • 76

    November 2019

    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.

  • 77

    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.)

  • 78

    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.

  • 79

    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.)

  • 80

    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.

  • 81

    February 26, 2020

    Said that “within a couple days” the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States—there were then 15 confirmed cases—was “going to be down to close to zero.” (See also the Bulwark timeline “The Ten Weeks That Lost the War.”)

  • 82

    February 28, 2020

    Said that Democrats “are politicizing the coronavirus” and that “this is their new hoax.”

  • 83

    March-May 2020

    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.

  • 84
  • 85

    April 3, 2020

    Fired the intelligence community inspector general in retaliation for delivering the whistleblower complaint that triggered impeachment.

  • 86

    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.

  • 87

    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.

  • 88

    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.”

  • 89

    May 12, 2020

  • 90

    May 2020

    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.”

  • 91

    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.

  • 92

    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.

  • 93

    May 26, 2020

    Tweeted misinformation about mail-in ballots, forcing Twitter to label Trump’s tweet with a fact-check.

  • 94

    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.

  • 95

    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.

  • 96

    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.”

  • 97

    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.”

  • 98

    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.

  • 99

    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.

  • 100

    June 26, 2020

    As of this date:

    The national debt stands at more than $26 trillion, having increased by at least $5.2 trillion since President Trump assumed office.

    The most recent estimate for the monthly unemployment rate was 13.3 percent.

    More than 124,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.

Amanda Carpenter

Bulwark political columnist Amanda Carpenter is a CNN contributor, author, and former communications director to Sen. Ted Cruz and speechwriter to Sen. Jim DeMint.