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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 10 August 2022

How a controversy a day kept Donald Trump in the headlines (and at the top of the polls)

From his attacks on Mexican immigrants to his incendiary comments about Muslims – Trump has been in the limelight constantly since his campaign launch.

NEVER A STRANGER to controversy, Donald Trump has been making news for DECADES for his views on all manner of subjects – perhaps most notably:

  • His views on women (he appears to believe they’re only around to be aesthetically pleasing objects, as this Huffington Post piece detailed). 
  • His clashes with locals in Scotland opposed to his plans to build “the world’s greatest golf course” (check out this Business Insider piece for more). 
  • His bizarre ‘Birther’ campaign questioning whether Barack Obama was born in the US (ABC News has a run-down on how that played out).

Almost as soon as he entered the Republican White House race, back in June, he began to hoover-up all available airtime and attention. There was controversy from the get go (remember those ‘Mexicans are rapists’ comments?) and there’s been another incendiary comment from the real estate mogul pretty much every day since.

Assiduous use of Twitter and his unfettered access to the airwaves via the US news networks meant he easily eclipsed the more establishment figures in the race – many of whom have held elected office for years.

Even his less-talked about tweets (like the one below, stridently attacking a fellow GOP hopeful) still generated plenty of online comment…

But it was the major controversies that kept the billionaire topping many polls for months on end – as he capitalised on his reality show stardom and a jittery mood in some sections of the electorate in the wake of the Paris and California attacks to remain in the limelight, at the expense of his less high-profile rivals.

We tried to limit ourselves to ten (yes, it was difficult):

“You’re fired”

A number of well-known brands and companies cut all ties with Trump, over his comments at his campaign launch.

We mentioned them earlier, but here are those controversial remarks about Mexicans in full:

“They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some I assume are good people, but I speak to border guards, and they tell us what we are getting.”

NBC – which airs The Apprentice – said that as a result of “recent derogatory statements” it would be ending its business relationship with Trump.

1 Source: AP

Trump v Megyn

The businessman came in for huge criticism for his remarks about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, made during a Republican debate.

The journalist had asked him a string of tough questions about his views on migrants and women.

In a later interview with CNN, Trump said she had “blood coming out her eyes” and “blood coming out of her … wherever”.

Trump denied he was suggesting Kelly was on her period – saying he was actually talking about blood coming out of her nose. Only a “deviant” would think he was discussing menstruation, he insisted.

His problem with Muslims

His comments on immigration and Muslim immigrants in particular became more extreme as the campaign wore on.

Back in September, Trump nodded agreeingly and said “We’re going to be looking at that” when a supporter asked him ‘when can we get rid’ of Muslims…

Source: AM 560 The Answer/YouTube

“They’re going back”

Speaking, at the time, as the frontrunner in the GOP race, Trump told a rally he would send home all Syrian refugees taken in by the US.

“If I win, they’re going back,” he told supporters in New Hampshire in October.

I hear we want to take in 200,000 Syrians. And they could be – listen, they could be Isis.

tr2 Source: AP

War on Starbucks

The row seems a little quaint in hindsight… Back in November, Trump suggested Americans boycott coffee giant Starbucks in the wake of the company’s decision not to include Christmas symbols on their festive cups this year.

s2 Source: Starbucks

War on Carson

Trump launched a nine-minute blistering attack on his rival Dr Ben Carson in an epic speech in Iowa, in mid-November.

Amongst other things, Trump doubled-down on his comparison of what he has called the former brain surgeon’s incurable “pathological temper” to that of a child molester.

He also both reenacted and questioned Carson’s history of violent incidents as a young teenager, wandering off-mic at certain points…

Source: KCCI/YouTube

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His problem with Muslims (2)

Trump’s call for a government database to track Muslims in the United States drew sharp criticism from his Republican president rivals.

Asked by an NBC News reporter about the prospect of a database and whether Muslims would be required to be registered, he said “they have to be”.

Asked whether Muslims would have to register at mosques, he replied:

Different places. You sign up at different places. But it’s all about management.

Source: MSNBC/YouTube

‘They cheered on 9/11′

Pretty much anyone who’s anyone says this didn’t happen… In the wake of the Paris attacks, Trump told supporters he saw people cheering in the wake of the 9/11 attacks – across the river from New York.

He repeated the assertion in TV interviews later:

It did happen. I saw it. It was on television. I saw it.

Mocking a disabled journalist

Trump drew the ire of the New York Times (amongst others) after he mocked one of the paper’s reporters and imitated his disability.

The White House hopeful singled out Serge Kovaleski – a journalist who disputed Trump’s claim about the 9/11 attacks (above).

Kovaleski had written an article disputing Trump’s version of events in 2001, when he worked at the Washington Post.

While speaking about the journalist, Trump flailed his arms and changed his voice (Kovaleski suffers from a chronic condition that impairs the movement of his arms).


His problem with Muslims (3)

Everyone from Boris Johnson and the London Metropolitan Police to the Mayor of Philadelphia (“he’s an asshole”) lined up to criticise Trump, after the candidate dropped his biggest bombshell of the campaign to date in early December.

He called for a “total and complete” block on Muslims entering the United States in the wake of the previous week’s mass shooting in California. The halt should remain in place, he said, “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”.

The White House said the proposal was “offensive and toxic” while Enda Kenny slammed the comments as “not acceptable”.


Read: White House says Trump’s latest idea “disqualifies” him from being President – and he has “fake hair” >

Read: The protester who was beaten at Donald Trump’s rally is telling his side of the story >

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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