Trump's Bumps: His Most Notable Missteps on the Campaign Trail
Throughout this year’s presidential election, people have had a lot to say about Republican nominee Donald Trump. Chrissy Teigen called him a “twat.” Sarah Palin dubbed his campaign a “movement.” But there’s one term that no one has used to describe the presidential hopeful thus far: boring.
And these incidents explain why Trump’s managed to avoid that certain descriptor throughout his campaign.
The generalization of Mexican-American immigrants.
Trump started off his campaign on a controversial note. During his launch event back in June 2015 at Trump Tower in New York City, he first introduced his plan to build a wall separating Mexico and the United States, with the intention of keeping out illegal immigrants. When announcing these intentions, he made some comments about the country’s Mexican-American population that had heads turning. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” These comments led others to call Trump a racist.
The Megyn Kelly comments.
After the first Republican debate, when Trump butted heads with Fox News host Megyn Kelly, he came under fire for saying that Kelly’s questions were “off base,” implying that they were so because Kelly was menstruating. “She gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions,” Trump said. “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”
The John McCain comments.
Not even members of Trump’s own party are exempt from his comments: Discussing former Republican nominee for president and Vietnam prisoner of war John McCain, Trump said: “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.” The comments deeply hurt McCain’s daughter, Meghan. After waking up to countless texts and calls from friends and family, she was afraid something had happened to her father. “I thought my dad had died,” she told PEOPLE. “Then I turned on TV and I just saw John McCain and I had my computer and John McCain was trending on Twitter and I was like oh my god my father died. So I cried with that because it scared me. And then I saw what Trump said and I cried as well.”
The time he said he could shoot someone and still not see a drop in his poll numbers.
Despite these controversial remarks, Trump’s poll numbers continued to rise, a phenomenon he spoke of at a campaign rally in Iowa. “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” he said.
The time he didn’t reject the support of a former KKK leader.
When Trump gained the endorsement of David Duke, who was once a grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, he was repeatedly asked what he thought of the man’s praise. In an interview with CNN, he avoided any sort of outright condemnation of Duke, saying, “Honestly, I don’t know David Duke.” When asked about the Ku Klux Klan in particular, he said he needed more information. “I don’t know what group you’re talking about,” he said. “You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about.”
The debate in which he made a reference to his size down there.
During another Republican debate, at the height of the “small hands” discussion, Trump alluded to the size of his penis, saying that Marco Rubio had implied it was lacking. “And, he referred to my hands – ‘If they’re small, something else must be small,’ ” Trump said. “I guarantee you there’s no problem. I guarantee.”
The "I love Hispanics" tweet.
While the world was celebrating Cinco de Mayo, Trump chimed in on Twitter to do the same – but something was lost from thought to execution. First, he claimed that the best taco bowls are made in the Trump Tower Grill – which, as you might have guessed, is not a Mexican restaurant. He ended the tweet with, “I love Hispanics!” It received more than 83,000 retweets, and soon became a meme across social media.
The comments he made about the judge assigned to the Trump University case.
Trump is currently dealing with a lawsuit against his now-defunct business school, Trump University. The judge assigned to his case, Gonzalo Curiel, is of Mexican-American heritage, which Trump said would make him unable to be impartial when deciding his case. “I’m building a wall,” he said. “It’s an inherent conflict of interest.” Trump received bipartisan backlash for his comments.
The misinformed Scotland tweet post-Brexit.
The morning after the Brexit vote, Trump arrived in Scotland for the opening of his new hotel, the Trump Turnberry. He tweeted: “Just arrived in Scotland. Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take America back. No games!” The only problem? Every voting district in Scotland voted to remain in the European Union, a fact hundreds of Twitter users quickly reminded him of.
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The Star of David poster.
In a tweet attacking his opponent Hillary Clinton, Trump included a photo of Hillary over a pile of money, with the phrase “most corrupt candidate ever!” in the shape of a Star of David. It was later deleted and replaced with the shape of a circle, but not before the tweet was called anti-semitic.
The new campaign logo.
After Trump announced his vice presidential pick, Indiana governor Mike Pence, the Trump campaign released a new logo for the pair: a T being inserted into the top part of a P. The imagery, however, led some people to think of things besides politics, and it was suddenly all the rage on social media. We haven’t seen much of the logo from the Trump campaign since.
The speech his wife, Melania, gave at the Republican National Convention.
When Trump’s wife, Melania, took the stage on the first night of the RNC, her words sounded familiar – really familiar. Turns out, a section of her speech was lifted nearly word-for-word from the speech Michelle Obama gave in 2008 at the Democratic National Convention. A speechwriter from the Trump campaign later took the blame, but not until after the campaign had claimed it wasn’t plagiarized.
The feud with the Khan family.
Trump has received bipartisan backlash for his comments about the Khan family, who lost their son Humayun in the Iraq War and were invited to speak at the Democratic National Convention. First, he suggested that Ghazala Khan, Humayun’s mother, didn’t speak at the DNC because her husband Khizr Khan, wouldn’t allow it. “If you look at his wife, she was standing there,” Trump said days later in an interview with George Stephanopoulos. “She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.”
But his comments about sacrifice really caught people’s attention. In his impassioned speech, Khizr accused Trump of never sacrificing for his country. Trump’s response didn’t do much to convince people otherwise: “I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices,” he said. “I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I’ve done – I’ve had tremendous success. I think I’ve done a lot.”
People in both parties, from John McCain and Hillary Clinton to Sarah Palin’s son-in-law Dakota Meyer, himself a war vet, have called upon Trump to apologize to the Khan family.
The time he kicked a baby out of one of his rallies.
During an August 2016 rally in Virginia, the young child of a Trump supporter started crying. At first, Trump seemed to be understanding, saying: “I love babies. I hear that baby crying – I like it. What a baby! What a beautiful baby.” Then he revealed that he was just joking: He didn’t want the baby there, and was kicking it out. “You can get the baby out of here,” he said. “I think she really believed me that I love having a baby crying while I’m speaking.”
The remarks about the Purple Heart.
At an August 2016 rally in Ashburn, Virginia, Trump was given a Purple Heart medal – generally given to military members who were wounded in combat – by a retired lieutenant colonel, Louis Dorfman. “And I said, ‘Man, that’s like big stuff. I always wanted to get the Purple Heart,’ ” Trump said after receiving Dorfman’s medal. “This was much easier.”
Many veterans have criticized Trump’s comments, saying he shouldn’t have accepted the medal and he doesn’t deserve it. Illinois representative Tammy Duckworth, who lost both her legs after being wounded in Iraq, tweeted a photo of herself in the hospital with the caption: “This is how one usually looks when you are awarded the Purple Heart. Nothing easy about it.”
These comments came at a particularly awkward time, as Trump’s multiple draft deferments from the Vietnam War have recently come into question.
The Second Amendment comments.
At a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina, Trump spoke to a group of supporters, warning them about the impact a Clinton presidency would have on the future of the Supreme Court. “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Trump said. However, it was his next comment that made headlines. “Although the Second Amendment people – maybe there is, I don’t know.”
With this, many accused Trump of promoting violence against his competitor, including Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine. He said: “Nobody who is seeking a leadership position, especially the presidency, the leadership of the country, should do anything to countenance violence, and that’s what he was saying.” Days later, it was revealed that the Secret Service met with Trump’s campaign staff to talk about the comments, with Trump later claiming that he was only encouraging people to vote.
The Obama/ISIS accusations.
Most recently, Trump seemed to blame President Obama for the rise of the terror group ISIS, saying he “founded” the organization. “In many respects, you know, they honor President Obama,” Trump said at a Florida rally. “He’s the founder of ISIS. He’s the founder of ISIS. He’s the founder. He founded ISIS.”
Trump also loaded some of the blame on Clinton’s shoulders, saying: “I would say the co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton.”