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Donald Trump's bizarre first year in the White House, in 12 tweets

It’s been a very odd year in US politics. Here it is, digested in 12 Trump tweets.

THERE’S APPARENTLY LITTLE outward sign of the monumental changes that have taken place in the White House in the last year within the walls of the presidential mansion itself.

Two three-foot-tall gold eagles now stand in the Roosevelt Room. A painting of controversial president Andrew Jackson hangs in the Oval Office. And for staff, flats and pastels are out and stilettos and power ties are in.

But the tone has been set from the top, by a president constantly on the offensive against an ever-changing gallery of opponents, from Republican leaders to federal judges, intelligence agencies, Bernie Sanders, a Puerto Rican mayor, the “fake news” media, morning news hosts, NFL players, and the cast of Saturday Night Live.

The year-long frenzy of outrage, bizarre behaviour and hyperbole has fueled questions about Trump’s fitness for office, as critics worry that institutions are being eroded.

Trump will have been a year in office on 20 January 2018. We’ve had a seemingly non-stop barrage of controversies since last January.

We’d be here for quite a while if we chose to list them all in chronological order – so here’s the 45th US President’s digested year, delivered via his favourite medium: Twitter.

1. On the Russia dossier…


When? 11 January 2017

What’s it about? Trump, who was President-elect at the time, lashed out at the media after reports emerged that Russia may hold compromising material on his private life.

Trump was briefed on the now-infamous ‘Steele dossier’ by intelligence officials due to fears that he could be vulnerable to blackmail by Russians over the contents of a tape said to have been filmed at a hotel in Moscow.

Trump was allegedly filmed with a group of sex workers at the hotel. His supporters decried the story as politically motivated and the President-elect himself said the memo he was briefed on was “crap” written by “sick people”.

2. On the media being the enemy of the people…


When? 17 February 2017

What’s it about? In stinging rebuke of the TV and print media, Trump labelled the established news media the “enemy of the American people”.

Trump had often described the media as his opposition during the campaign, but this statement was extreme in comparison to the language he’d used before.

Journalist Carl Bernstein, who helped to uncover the Watergate scandal, said the language ”may be more insidious and dangerous than Richard Nixon’s attacks on the press”.

3. On the time Obama had his “wires tapped”…


When? 4 March 2017

What’s it about? On a Saturday morning in March, Trump began tweeting that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had tapped his phones during the 2016 election campaign.

He also called Obama a “bad (or sick) guy”. Obama, via a spokesperson, denied Trump’s allegation as “simply false”.

Then-FBI Director James Comey told a congressional committee later that same month:

With respect to the president’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI.

4. On whether he taped James Comey…


When? 12 May 2017

What’s it about? Trump’s firing of James Comey sent shockwaves through Washington. The White House initially said the FBI Director was dispatched over the way he handled the Clinton email scandal – but Trump himself later said he was thinking of “this Russia thing” when he made his decision.

The President later suggested there may be tapes of his private conversations with the ex-FBI boss.

Weeks later, however, Trump confirmed this was not the case.

5. On all the negative covfefe he’s been getting…


When? Late on 30 May 2017

What’s it about? Who knows. The tweet stayed up for hours, though, confounding everyone.

Sean Spicer, the then-Press Secretary, later insisted the president ”and a small group of people knew exactly what he meant”.

6. On his travel ban…


When? 5 June

What’s it about? Various spokespeople, administration officials and lawyers had insisted Trump’s efforts to bar people from a number of Muslim-majority nations from the US was not a ‘ban’.

In a series of tweets on 5 June, Trump insisted that it was, in fact, a ban.

7. On the ‘crazy, psycho’ hosts of Morning Joe 


When? 29 June

What’s it about? In a pair of tweets, Trump launched a bizarre attack on the co-hosts of the NBC morning news show Morning Joe: Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough.

“I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came … to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”

“Please just stop,” Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska tweeted in response, adding: ”This isn’t normal.”

8. Banning transgender people from the military…


When? 26 July 2017

What’s it about? Trump took his own officials – including the military – entirely by surprise when he tweeted that transgender people should be barred from joining the ranks.

Under the Obama administration, the Department of Defense had announced in 2016 that service members could not be discharged solely based on their gender identity.

In October, a federal judge ruled that transgender service members who had sued over Trump’s policy were likely to win their lawsuit and directed a return to the situation that existed before he announced his new policy.

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9. On Charlottesville…


When? 12 August 2017

What’s it about? Trump came in for criticism for this tweet on the violence in Charlottesville in Virginia, after rallies by torch-carrying white supremacists.

His in-person comments that “both sides” were to blame – both the marchers and the protesters who rallied against them – was met with even harsher criticism.

10. On Bob Corker’s campaign for dog catcher…


When? 24 October 2017

What’s it about? Senior Republican senator Bob Corker and Trump have been engaged in a running battle for the last few months.

Corker was once a supporter of candidate Trump, and was considered for the role of Secretary of State.

Trump changed his tune on the Tennessee Republican (who has announced he will not seek reelection) after Corker referred to some of the President’s cabinet members as “the people that help separate our country from chaos”.

11. On protesting footballers… 


When? 26 September 2017

What’s it about? Then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the ‘take a knee’ protests over a year ago when he refused to stand during the national anthem as a protest over police treatment of minorities.

At the start of the autumn, more and more players began adopting the same stance after Trump criticised the protests.

The night before this tweet was sent, the Dallas Cowboys had, as a unit, kneeled before the anthem and then stood before it started as a show of unity.

12. On the mayor of Puerto Rico…


When? 30 September 2017

What’s it about? Trump launched an attack on San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz for her criticism of the federal hurricane relief programme in Puerto Rico.

“I was asking for help,” the mayor said. “I wasn’t saying anything nasty about the President.”

The island, which is a US territory and home to 3.4 million people, was facing a humanitarian crisis and enduring widespread power outages in the wake of a devastating hurricane season.

- With reporting from AFP 

Read: Trump’s former adviser Michael Flynn now co-operating with the Russia investigation >

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About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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