Four years and thousands of tweets ago, Donald Trump ran for the Presidency and won, beating the likes of Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders along the way. Like him or loathe him, Donald Trump is arguably the most controversial President in United States history.
Many of his policies, speeches and decisions have been overshadowed by comments and actions which many would describe as publicity stunts. Whether it’s getting into Twitter spats with London mayor Sadiq Khan or starting a trade war with China, Trump has never been one to back down or mince his words.
A businessman first and foremost, he is anti-political correctness personified.
There have been several unbelievable moments during Trump’s presidency. Here are the top three most jaw-dropping moments from the 45th President of the free world.
‘Kung-flu and disinfectant’
Coronavirus has impacted the world, and the United States is no exception. First being reported in Wuhan, China, it spread worldwide which has had catastrophic effects on multiple levels. Different countries have handled it in different ways, some worse than others.
Trump has been accused of not handling the virus seriously enough, and this was not without good reason as the United States has recorded over 200,000 deaths due to COVID-19.
Trump, sparked fury and controversy when he suggested that disinfectant be injected into the body to combat Coronavirus. During a press conference at the White House, Trump, who himself later caught Coronavirus, said, “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? So it’d be interesting to check that.”
Sticking to coronavirus, at a rally Trump nicknamed the disease as ‘kung-flu’, relating to its Chinese origin. The phrase caused significant backlash across the entire political spectrum, as many saw it as a racial slur against Asian Americans. It comes as part of Trump’s rhetoric to blame China solely for the coronavirus pandemic.
He has also used phrases such as ‘Chinese virus’ and ‘Wuhan virus’ in order to demonise the Chinese as much as possible. Such was the backlash that Trump felt forced to publicly declare his support for Asian American citizens.
‘Greenland is not for sale’
In 2019, Trump confirmed that he was considering purchasing the country of Greenland. He said it would be “essentially a large real estate deal”, and was met with fierce backlash and ridicule.
Trump said, “Denmark essentially owns it… We’re very good allies with Denmark, we protect Denmark like we protect large portions of the world. So the concept came up and I said, ‘Certainly I’d be.’ Strategically it’s interesting and we’d be interested but we’ll talk to them a little bit. It’s not No1 on the burner, I can tell you that.”
Of course, this was met with both ridicule and anger, especially from the Danish as Greenland is a territory of Denmark. Former Prime Minister Lars Løkke said in a tweet, “It must be an April Fool’s Joke … but totally out of season!” Current Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called the idea ‘absurd’, and a spokesperson for the Danish People’s Party said that this was “final proof he had gone mad.”
It did not help things that after being categorically denied permission to purchase the country, Trump cancelled a state visit to Denmark. “It has gone from a great opportunity for enhanced dialogue between allies to a diplomatic crisis,” said former foreign minister Kristian Jensen.
When a country starts to make threats against another, most world leaders would try to diffuse the system and prevent war and conflict to the best of their ability. Diplomacy would be key, and the situation would have to be handled in a delicate and sensitive manner. However, when a character like Donald Trump is neither diplomatic nor sensitive, it does not fill a person with confidence or reassurance.
Donald Trump engaged in a war of words with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un over Twitter. Jong-un had become increasingly threatening and hostile in nature through testing nuclear weapons, despite being told to denuclearise and signing the Denuclearisation Agreement with Donald Trump in Singapore.
The purpose of this nickname is debatable. Some believe that it was an attempt to emasculate and undermine Jong-un, to make him realise that the United States do not see North Korea as a legitimate threat. However former US national security adviser John Bolton said that “Little Rocket Man” was a term of endearment to the North Korea leader.
In his book The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, Bolton remarked that Trump had an “inordinate interest” in giving Kim Jong-un a CD of the song Rocketman by Elton John. He said, “Trump didn’t seem to realise Pompeo hadn’t actually seen Kim Jong Un, asking if Pompeo had handed [the CD]. Pompeo had not. Getting this CD to Kim remained a high priority for several months.”
Donald Trump was a Marmite president; you either loved him or hated him. There have been several highs and lows during his time and he certainly divided opinion. Whether you thought he was the best President ever or the devil incarnate, one thing is for certain; Trump was a controversial character, the likes of which we may never see again.