Regardless of where your political affiliations lie, one thing is for sure, the Trump Presidency has been extremely different from any other US presidency thus far. Donald Trump isn’t a politician, so there was always going to be some sort of learning curve when he took over in January.
Yet, that curve has led to some interesting, and at times embarrassing moments for the real estate magnate, television personality and 90’s East Coast rap song reference. So, let’s take a look at the 15 most embarrassing moments of the Trump presidency, so far — with the understanding that at this rate, it’ll be out-of-date as soon as the article is posted.
15. Hand “Shaking”
President Trump must really believe that he can determine the type of person he’s dealing with by shaking their hand… for minutes on end. There are countless examples of this, but the most pressing was the strange “handsqueeze” he had with the new French president, Emmanuel Macron.
Macron, a moderate politician by — European standards — ran as a sort of “anti-Trump” campaign earlier this year. He wasn’t far left or far right.
Instead, he positioned himself as the status quo candidate during the onslaught of right-wing nationalist views that have emboldened many. This wave led to several European countries to rethink their status within the European Union.
Because of that, many thought Macron didn’t stand a chance. So, it was sort of surprising when he won, besting Marine Le Pen, a far right candidate that Trump liked but didn’t outright endorse. So, when it came time for these two to meet, you knew it was going to be awkward. But, no one expected it to be THAT awkward.
It was just another strange interaction for President Trump on the international scene, something you’ll see a lot more in this list. Also, Macron said the handshake “wasn’t innocent”, so Trump might have ruined any chance for a mutually beneficial relationship with one of America’s oldest allies — they helped us during the American Revolution —before even speaking a word. #MAGA, indeed.
14. Hold My Hand!
Speaking of hand holding, it appears President Trump holds hands with world leaders because his own wife, First Lady Melania Trump, refuses to hold his hand… ever. In a move that went absolutely viral, a video shows the First Lady shooing her husband’s hand away after they exited Air Force One. And another one as they walked a red carpet during a visit to Tel Aviv, Israel.
Considering the difference in age, and in objective beauty, some suggest Melania married Trump for his money. That would mean there’s not a whole lot of love involved in their marriage —also considering Trump’s personality and penchant for what is explained in the #2 point on this list.
While this could be overblown — considering the massive amount of other examples of Trump’s embarrassing moves in only seven months — it was still funny to see that perhaps Melania isn’t buying what Trump is selling anymore.
13. Staring at the Sun
The entire Western world had eclipse fever this past week — including the White House. Every news station covering the eclipse made sure to tell people something that should be common sense: don’t stare at the sun without eye protection. But, President Trump being the type that does the opposite of what mainstream media — aka fake news — says, ignored that advice.
The commander-in-chief took a blinding look at the moon blotting out the sun without shades to protect his retinas. This is a perfect example of a classic Trump move; he zigs when others zag. That has — somehow — served him well enough to get him into the White House. Yet considered the fact that the United States government is based on compromise, perhaps his staring at the sun is a perfect example of why he’s struggled to implement his political agenda thus far — after almost eight months in office.
12. Tax Return
Speaking of zigging instead of zagging, during the 2016 campaign, one of the major issues raised by the media and people who supported Hillary Clinton was that Trump refused to reveal his tax returns. A standard practice in the past few decades for presidential candidates, Trump was the first to refuse since before Reagan.
He claimed at the time that he was being audited and thus couldn’t produce his return, but assured that he would after the election. Once that time came he simply changed his story and said he wasn’t going to share his tax return at all, riling up many people.
Government officials attempted to create a bill to force Trump to produce his tax return — spoiler alert: it didn’t work. Whether it shows he wants to hide potential shady business deals in Russia or even financial woes, Trump’s refusal to produce his tax returns was a major red flag.
This coming from a man who badgered President Obama into posting his birth certificate — for the sake of “transparency”.
11. The White House is a Dump
People that oppose Trump say that he has no respect or knowledge of history. While there are a lot of other examples of this (see #9), one of the best is that Trump, while playing golf with some reporters in tow, called the White House “a real dump.”
No doubt, the White House is very old; every president since 1800 has lived under its roof. Full of history, it should be seen as a source of pride and power. However, Trump has always had very particular taste — lots of bronze and gold leaf — and his style has been labeled as tacky and even cold.
So, it isn’t a huge surprise that he’d find the White House a step down from his usual digs. But to insult it that way shows a lack of respect for government institutions. Sure, that got him elected — during a “change” election, where people were fed up with “do-nothing” politicians. Still, it’s not helping him accomplish anything.
He denied saying this, but the reporter who first reported it stood by their story. Who do you believe? Classic Trump.
10. Get Out of the Way!
President Trump’s first international trip was labeled a comedy of errors. Trump has very limited knowledge of how the world works — outside his own reality. Trump knows America has major bargaining power abroad — the global economy is based on US currency. He doesn’t feel the need to kowtow to anyone, especially those who disagree with him.
Besides, Trump reportedly loves hearing about himself. Former cabinet members reportedly claim they would compile a daily document filled with positive articles or even pictures of Trump “looking strong.” The Donald would then peruse pics of himself instead of intelligence briefings.
Speaking of, in his first international trip with other NATO allies, Trump strong armed other world leaders to be more visible in a group photo. The Prime Minister of Montenegro became the brunt of Trump’s unabashed foreign policy.
What made this even more embarrassing was the fact that Montenegro had just been inducted into NATO, which Trump accused of not paying “their fair share.” Sigh.
9. Dealing with Germany – Explaining how the EU Works
When President Trump met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this year, you knew there’d be tension in the room. Merkel, a left winger by American standards — despite being a conservative in Germany — represents “Globalism” to many Trump supporters.
In other words, she represents everything Trump ran against. The problem is that Germany is becoming increasingly powerful on the world stage, because their economy is based on amazing manufacturing. They have a high rate of union membership in their country, a strong middle class and strong tax revenue. During the financial/economic crisis of 2008, Germany bailed out other members of the European Union.
Trump has openly said he doesn’t read a lot of the memos he’s given, as he finds it redundant, so it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that he doesn’t understand how the rest of the world works. That showed apparently close to 10 times during his meeting with Merkel. She reportedly had to explain to Trump that the United States can’t work directly with Germany, but rather that they have to work with the European Union as a whole.
Trump was apparently trying to enforce one of his main ideas: that the United States is being taken advantage of in world trade. The fact that he didn’t know that is one thing, but what was most embarrassing was his inability to accept feedback from another world leader.
8. His SNL Appearance
Back in November of 2015, as a Presidential Candidate, Donald hosted Saturday Night Live. A lot of people protested his hosting gig. They thought it “normalized” him as a person and candidate, while ignoring some of the horrible things he had said and done in recent years.
Apparently, SNL hosts have a lot of say when it comes to sketches that make it on air. Because of that, Trump essentially took the teeth out of any and all satire directed at him in that episode. It was awkward to watch people who reportedly loathed Trump play along with sketches that showed how great the world was going to be once he became president.
Cast members Pete Davidson and Taran Killem claimed Trump struggled to read the scripts given to him. In the following video, Trump also struggles to read legal documents handed to him during one of his many lawsuit depositions.
7. Climate Change
Nearly 100 per cent of climate scientists are freaking out about global warming. It’s the largest issue facing the human race but, somehow, even while admitting that things are changing, Trump claims there’s no way to cut carbon emissions without “destroying the economy”.
While green economy is exploding and hiring like crazy — California has had days where it reaches 50% renewable energy — Trump decided to remove the US from the Paris Climate Agreement that his predecessor President Obama helped put together. The Agreement aims to limit the amount of carbon a country can release and could save the world in the process.
The United States is only one of three countries no longer abiding by it. It’s ironic because the justification for doing so was always “China and India aren’t going to cut emissions, so why bother?” Well, both China and India are a part of that agreement; the Chinese are slowly becoming the world leaders in renewable energy.
It was a gigantic step backwards and added credence to the rumor that Trump literally just asks people in government(s) — both in the US and in the World — whether or not the topic they’re discussing was approved by Obama.
If it was, he opposes it. If it wasn’t, he approves it. There’s a lot of disagreement between the left and right in the United States, but you can’t govern by simply undoing what your predecessor tried to accomplish. Especially when it comes to something as important as this.
6. Attacked the Mayor of London After Terror Attack
The relationship between the United States and Great Britain is one that the rest of the world envies. It’s often called a “special relationship” because of the amount of work the two countries do together — and the special intelligence they share.
So, when London is attacked by terrorists Trump had an opportunity to win some political points by a) going after the culprits and b) reaching out to his closest ally. Instead, Trump being Trump, he got Twitter fingers and blasted the mayor of London for something he didn’t even say.
Mayor Shadiq Khan said after the terrible event, that people shouldn’t be alarmed as the situation was under control. Trump assumed Khan was sympathizing with terrorists because of origins and because he thought Khan meant there’s no reason to be alarmed about terrorism. US intelligence agencies criticized Trump was for his comments. Meanwhile, his reputation in the UK worsened even before he’d been to the country or begun working with them to fight terrorism across the world.
5. Firing Comey
The whole Russia thing has clouded Trump’s presidency. He railed against his opponent, Hillary Clinton, saying she could be under investigation by the FBI for the 30,000 missing emails from her private server. At his rallies, the crowd often cheered “Lock Her Up!”
Meanwhile Trump and his people went on television saying things like, “imagine if Hillary gets elected while under investigation by the FBI.” The irony of it all is that Trump’s team, had been under FBI investigation all along. To make matters worse, Trump decided to fire the man investigating his team: FBI Director James Comey.
That poured gasoline on the fire that was the Russia investigation. And when it then ended up in the lap of the head of the Department of Justice, Jeff Sessions, Trump thought he had it made — he had appointed Sessions.
However, Sessions lied in front of Congress about having met with Russian officials during the campaign. He recused himself from the investigation, which in turn ended upin the hands of an independent Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Comey then testified about his meetings with Trump.
The president later attempted to intimidate the former head of the FBI by implying he had secret recordings of their conversations.
4. Getting Things Done
This has been alluded to in multiple parts of this list but there’s no denying that President Trump has had a harsh learning curve when it comes to understanding how the government works. His Republican party, controls two of the three branches of government — they control both the House and Senate.
Still, despite that control, they’ve failed to agree with each other and pass significant legislation. During his presidential campaign, Trump openly fought with many people in government including Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House. That bad blood continues and it’s made it hard for Trump to get things done.
He promised a lot of things, including an overhaul of Obamacare, reformation of the Tax Code, a wall on the border with Mexico and essentially a trade war with China. So far, they tried health care — twice — and it didn’t pass.
Trump decided to attack the one person who was attempting to enforce one of his campaign promises, Senator Mitch McConnell. McConnell summed it up best by saying that Trump didn’t understand how the legislative process works.
Trump has been reduced to sending out directives on Twitter, like the one about transgender soldiers being no longer welcome in the military. It apparently didn’t change a thing since he failed to tell the Pentagon beforehand.
3. Talking About Mexico
Trump ran a presidential campaign boasting that he would limit illegal immigration from Mexico. So, Trump attacked Mexicans.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
That rubbed people in Mexico — and the United States, and really everywhere — the wrong way. Considering that Trump wants to build a wall between the two countries and have Mexico “pay for it,” you’d think he’d try to get on his neighbors’ good side.
He also focused on trade and the US deficit. Trump focused heavily on NAFTA, a free trade policy enacted by his opponent’s husband back in the 90’s.
NAFTA essentially opened up the borders between the US, Canada, and Mexico and led to many factory closures in the United States as companies moved to Mexico to save some pesos.
2. The Russia Dossier … And Russia in General
Obviously, the Russia situation has dominated Trump’s presidency so far. He’s written it off as “the Democrats finding an excuse for losing the race for President,” but multiple people in his cabinet or were part of his campaign have lied to Congress.
The independent intelligence agency that compiled the “Russia dossier” has come out this week to defend their findings, the juiciest of which is that Trump hired some … Ladies of the night and essentially paid them to urinate on a bed whilst mocking Hillary Clinton.
While Trump obviously denies what is in the document, the FBI — and even members of Congress — are taking it at face value as they investigate Trump’s doings in Russia. Keep in mind this is our President and he very well could be blackmailed. Considering that Trump has lauded Putin at every opportunity, it really seems like there’s more than smoke surrounding this fire.
Trump reached peak awfulness this past week during his drawn out response to the events in Charlottesville, Virginia. He constantly deviates from the script, and that’s something his supporters really love about him but it’s working against him as he struggles to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C.
Some suggest his initial perfunctory response to the events in Charlottesville were written by someone else. But he added some “Trump flair” by saying that “both sides” — meaning Nazis and people who oppose Nazis — were to blame for the violence and death in Charlottesville.
The next day he read from a teleprompter and denounced the alt-right as well as “white nationalists.” People weren’t satisfied and criticized his response time. So, the next day during a press conference about infrastructure, he went off script again and reiterated what he said on Day 1. His remarks were labeled as “unhinged” and it caused a scandal across the nation. It was classic Trump, and it was extremely embarrassing and counterproductive.
Bonus: The Access Hollywood Interview
We’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about what was supposed to be the end of Trump’s presidential candidacy: a leaked 2006 interview with Access Hollywood. Speaking with host Billy Bush, Trump joked about sexually harassing and assaulting women. While this was embarrassing, it showed how invincible Trump was during the campaign.
He got away with saying thing that would’ve ended any other political career. Trump once said he could go outside and shoot someone in the middle of the street and still not lose supporters. This goes to show that despite the dialed up craziness almost on the daily, Trump and his supporters seem impervious to shame and embarrassment.