In a couple of days the Presidency of Donald Trump will be coming to a end as the Biden administration starts off amidst the turmoil of the past week. Like every US presidency which draws a lot of studies and review around the world. The Trump Presidency will go into history as a very controversial one. It is undeniable that the 45th US President is a unique leader quite different from all his predecessors.
Every US administrations has had their own controversies and scandals at one time in history but today Dambela takes a look of the Top 10 scandals of the Trump which have come to define his presidency.
10. The Stormy Daniels–Donald Trump scandal
One of the most controversial actions of Donald Trump was his alleged affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels whom he tried to stop from disclosing an affair they had in 2006. On January 12, 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that in October 2016, U.S. President Donald Trump had arranged payment of $130,000 to Daniels had signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
Initially, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen denied Trump ever having such alleged affair, and fought to suppress the allegation based on the NDA, but he went on to publicly acknowledge making the payment a Month later.
Some of the issues raised over his actions were whether the payment violated federal campaign finance laws, either because the payment was not duly disclosed as a campaign contribution or because campaign funds may have been used towards the payment of Daniels.
President Trump on April 5 stated he had no knowledge of payment made by Cohen, but admitted on April 26 that Cohen had represented him in for the first time. In August 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges, including a campaign finance violation for Daniels’ payment. Cohen was sentenced to three years in federal prison on various charges. Daniels went on to file three lawsuits against Trump and Cohen.
9. Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett
Supreme court nomination in the US has always been considered a political one but Trump Presidency was faced with allegations of stealing a Supreme Court Seat when on September 26, 2020, he announced the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States to fill in the vacancy left by the death of renowned Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who had passed on some weeks earlier. Prior to her nomination, Barrett was a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in South Bend, Indiana.
On October 26, the Senate voted to confirm Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, with all but one member of the Republican Party voting in favor and all Democrats voting against; Barrett took the judicial oath on October 27.
The Democrats rebuked Republicans, for violating a precedent they had established in 2016 when they the GOP senators refused to consider President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland just more than nine months before the end of his term, while accusing them of hypocrisy. Her nomination was 35 days before the 2020 presidential election which made her nomination and confirmation as the shortest period of time between a nomination to the Supreme Court and an election in U.S. history.
8. Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections
The US 2016 U.S. presidential election between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump was fraught with allegations of Russian interference with the aim of harming the campaign of Hillary Clinton, thereby boosting the candidacy of Donald Trump. According to the U.S. intelligence agencies, the operation — code named Project Lakhta was ordered directly by Russian President Vladimir Putin As Presidential candidate, during the first presidential debate, Trump said he doubted whether anyone knew who hacked the DNC, and questioned the Russian interference. During the second debate, Trump said there might not have been hacking at all, and doubted Russia involvement.
He was accused by his rivals as encouring Russian meddling. His actions at the Helsinki summit in 2018 was viewed as in Putin’s pocket and prompted bipartisan backlash. In 2020, the FBI revealed in their investigation the role of Roger Stone, a longtime confidant of President Donald Trump who was convicted the previous year in Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, that Israel openly helped Russia to meddle in the election.
7. Veracity of False statements made by Donald Trump
Politicians are always known for their political lies. According to Carole McGranahan who wrote for the American Ethnologist journal in 2017.
“It has long been a truism that politicians lie. However, “Donald Trump is different” from other politicians. He stated, citing that Trump is the most “accomplished and effective liar” thus far to have ever participated in American politics
It is no doubt that President Donald Trump has made many false or misleading statements, including thousands throughout his presidency. Many Commentators and fact-checkers have described his false statements as “unprecedented” in American politics.
Trump is known to have made controversial statements and subsequently denied ever doing so. By January 13, 2021, The Washington Post’s Fact Checker database had already counted 30,529 false or misleading statements.
FactCheck.org a body responsible for fact checking false claims declared Trump the “King of Whoppers” stating, “In the 12 years of FactCheck.org’s existence, we’ve never seen his match. He stands out not only for the sheer number of his factually false claims, but also for his brazen refusals to admit error when proven wrong.
Some of President Trump’s false claims include:
i) President Trump has repeatedly claimed that he would “build the wall and make Mexico pay for it”. Eventually the funds used to build the wall was approved by the US senate after threats of Government lockdown.
ii) In January 2018, Trump claimed that texts between FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were tantamount to “treason,” but The Wall Street Journal later reviewed them and concluded that the texts show no evidence of a conspiracy against Trump.
iii) In May 2018, Trump developed and promoted a false conspiracy theory alleging that the Obama administration had planted a spy inside his campaign to help his rival Hillary Clinton win the 2016 election.
iv) During the 2018 California wildfires which caused $3.5 billion in damages and killed 103 people, Trump on November 17, 2018, misrepresented a method which Finland used to control their wildfires. Trump stated that the President of Finland Sauli Niinistö called Finland a “forest nation” and “they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don’t have any problem.” President Niinistö would not recall mentioning raking Finland’s forests, rather Finland uses “a good surveillance system and network.” he stated debunking Trump’s claims.
v) Trump repeatedly and falsely characterized the economy during his first 28 months in office, as the best in American history.
vi) What best way to begin his administration with false claims. The day after his inauguration, he falsely accused the media of lying about the size of the crowd at his inauguration. His White House press secretary Sean Spicer backed up his claims about the inauguration size.
vii) Trump has on several occasions taken credit for business investments that began before he became president.
viii) On Family separation policy. President Trump has repeatedly and falsely said he inherited his administration’s controversial family separation policy from Obama, his predecessor. In November 2018, Trump stated, “President Obama separated children from families, and all I did was take the same law, and then I softened the law.
xi) Obamagate conspiracy theory: Trump and some of his supporters had alleged that Obama and his administration conspired to survey his presidential campaign for political purpose. Trump has nicknamed the series of events, Obamagate. However his critics have called his claims as an unfounded conspiracy theory.
x) Republican Party approval rating tweets: Since he took office in 2017, Trump has occasionally tweeted his approval rating between 94% and 98% in the Republican Party without citing any reliable source.
xi) Voting my mail: President Trump has repeatedly made false, misleading and baseless claims in his criticism of voting by mail in the United States prior to the US Presidential elections. Some of the claims included that other countries could print millions of mail-in ballots while claiming that about 80 million unsolicited ballots were being sent to Americans.
xii) Support for the Black Americans: Prior to the elections, Trump had claimed multiple times that his administration has done more for the black community than any US president in history while in most cases comparing to all presidents, with the exception of President Abraham Lincoln who abolished slavery in the United States. Many well known historians have always highlighted the achievements of President Lyndon B. Johnson who did most for the black community since Lincoln, for his Civil Rights Act of 1964 and his Voting Rights Act of 1965. Other historians also highlight the achievements of the presidencies of Harry Truman, Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Barack Obama for the black community.
xiii) In 2016, during the GOP Presidential primaries. Trump as candidate suggested that Senator Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
xiv) His claims that he lost the popular vote in the 2016 election due to millions of illegal voters.
xv )Trump has promoted a number of conspiracy theories that have lacked merit including that his predecessor Barack Obama was not born in the United state, this he claimed from 2011 while questioning his citizenship. He only withdrew his false claims before the 2016 Presidential elections.
6. The George Floyd protests
- The rise of the Black lives matter movement
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, while he was been arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. During his arrest Derek Chauvin, a white police officer in accompany of his colleagues knelt on Floyd’s neck for about nine and a half minutes after he was handcuffed while lying face down. His Two police collegues, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, assisted him in restraining Floyd, while another officer, Tou Thao, prevented bystanders from interfering with Floyd arrest.
George Floyd eventually gave up after complaining of breathing difficulties, only after the medics had arrived. His dead lead to series of Civil unrest and police brutality protests that began in Minneapolis in the United States on May 26, 2020 and across the country.
The Trump administration drew widespread criticism for what critics called its hardline rhetoric and militarized response. The protests also led to a wave of monument removals and name changes throughout the world.
President Trump on June 11 challenged mayor Jenny Durkan and governor Jay Inslee to take back his city while suggesting the possibility of a military response President Donald Trump in response to the protest threatened to deploy the 82nd Airborne and 3rd Infantry Regiment. On June 3, he stated “If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem.”This would require invoking the Insurrection Act of 1807
5. Sexual Assault allegations
Prior to becoming President. Trump has been accused of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment, including non-consensual kissing or groping, by at least 20 women since the 1970s.
Some of this accusations have resulted in three instances of litigation: his then-wife Ivana also made such claim during their 1989 divorce litigation which she later recanted, businesswoman Jill Harth sued Trump in 1997 alleging breach of contract while also suing him for sexual harassment and, in 2017, a former The Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos filed a defamation lawsuit after Trump had accused her of lying about her sexual misconduct allegations against him.
Most controversial was his 2005 audio recording which was leaked during the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump was recorded while bragging that a celebrity like himself “can do anything” to women, including “just start kissing them … I don’t even wait” and “grab ’em by the pussy”.
Trump went on to characterize those comments he made as “locker room talk” after there were several backlash. He went on to apologize for the crude language.
Another type of accusation was made, primarily after the audio recording surfaced, by several former Miss USA and Miss Teen USA contestants, who accused Trump of entering the dressing rooms of beauty pageant contestants. Trump, who owned the Miss Universe franchise, which includes both pageants, was accused of going into dressing rooms in 1997, 2000, 2001, and 2006, while contestants were in various stages of undress. Trump had already referred to this practice during a 2005 interview on The Howard Stern Show, saying he could “get away with things like that” because he owned the beauty pageants the women and girls were competing in.
Trump has denied all the allegations against him, saying he was the victim of media bias, conspiracies, and a political smear campaign. In October 2016, Trump publicly vowed to sue all the women who have made allegations of sexual misconduct against him, as well as The New York Times for publishing the allegations, but he has yet to follow through with any legal action against the women who accused him.
In June 2019, a writer E. Jean Carroll alleged in a New York magazine that Trump had raped her in a department store dressing room in 1995 or 1996. Trump also denied ever meeting Carroll, despite a New York magazine had published a photo of Trump and her together in 1987.
The book All the President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator, by Barry Levine and Monique El-Faizy was published in October 2019, containing all 43 additional allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump.
4. Separating families at border
- Trump administration family separation policy
On May 7, 2018 The Trump Administration started a “zero tolerance” policy under which any person crossing the United States border may be charged with a federal misdemeanor. The policy was announced by Trump’s then Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. During remarks made on May 7 in Scottsdale, Arizona, he said, “If you are smuggling a child then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law.”
There were protests against the Trump administration family separation policy as a reaction to the Trump administration policy of separating children from their parents or guardians who crossed the U.S. border either illegally or to request asylum, jailing the adults and locating the minors at separate facilities under the care of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Before we get to our Top 3 scandals of the Trump Presidency. Lets look at other memorable scandals.
List of short-tenure Donald Trump political appointments
- Skipping Intel Briefings
- Protecting Khashoggi’s Killers
- Trump travel ban
- White House COVID-19 outbreak
- Conspiracy theories promoted by Donald Trump
- Assassination of Qasem Soleimani
- Donald Trump judicial appointment controversies
- List of people granted executive clemency by Donald Trump
- Donald Trump photo op at St. John’s Church
- Trump–Raffensperger phone call over Georgia election results
Lets take a look at the the 3 most worst scandals of the Trump presidency
3. Ukraine Quid Pro Quo/ Trump–Ukraine scandal
The Trump–Ukraine scandal which involved efforts by U.S. president Donald Trump to coerce Ukraine into providing damaging narratives about his then-2020 rival, Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden as well as misinformation relating to Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.
Trump went on to block but later released payment of a congressionally mandated $400 million military aid package to allegedly obtain quid pro quo cooperation from his Ukrainian counterpart, president Volodymyr Zelensky. A number of contacts were established between the White House and the government of Ukraine, which culminated in a phone call between Trump and Zelensky on July 25, 2019
On September 24, 2019, the House of Representatives began a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump, led by six House committees. Trump was impeached on charges of abusing the power of his office and obstructing Congress, but was acquitted by the Senate with major support from the GOP senators.
2. The Corona Pandemic
The covid-19 corona pandemic which began globally was most felt in the United State. With at least 401,903 coronavirus deaths and 24,105,260 infection cases. The Trump administration had been accused of not paying serious attention to the virus.
Opinion polling had indicated that less than 50% of Americans trust information provided by Trump regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, as opposed to local government officials, state government officials, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci.
President Trump has been publicly optimistic through much of the pandemic; some of his optimistic messaging had diverged from that of his administration’s public health officials. Trump had downplayed the threat posed by the coronavirus to the United States, as well as the severity of the outbreak from January to mid-March.
From February to May, he had continually asserted that the coronavirus would “just go away”. It was until February 25 that the CDC had waited to first warn the American public to prepare for a local outbreak of the virus.
Trump has repeatedly uttered falsehoods regarding the pandemic, one of such falsehood was promoting unapproved treatments such as hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. In such instances, scientists such as Anthony Fauci, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (director-general of the World Health Organization) have publicly countered his message to the public while providing the correct information.
Trump had never admitted mistakes in his handling of the outbreak, but has always blamed others. In October 2020, Trump and some of the people working within the White House, including his wife Melania Trump, former Presidential Counselor Kellyanne Conway, and White House communications director Hope Hicks tested positive with COVID-19 due to lack of precautionary measures been placed in the white house.
1. 2021 Storming of the United States Capitol
In an attempt to steal the 2020 elections. President Trump rallied his supporters into storming the United States Capitol.
The violent attack against the 117th United States Congress on January 6, 2021, carried out by a mob of supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump in an attempt to overturn his election defeat in the 2020 presidential election was perhaps the height of the Trump’s administration scandals.
At a “Save America” rally on January 6 morning, Trump supporters gathered in Washington, D.C. in response to his outcry on January 6 in support of his false claim that the 2020 election had been stolen from him, while demanding that his Vice President Mike Pence and Congress reject Biden’s victory.
He was accompanied by his son Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani, and several members of Congress. Trump told them to “fight like hell” to “take back our country”, while encouraging them to march over to the Capitol.
After the rally in which Trump incited his supporters, thousands of his supporters marched down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol, where a joint session of Congress were just beginning the Electoral College vote count. Many of the crowd breached the police perimeters as they stormed the building in an attempt to prevent the formalization of President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory by the legislators. The riot led to the evacuation and lockdown of the Capitol, including five deaths including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, while dozens more were injured.
In a Twitter video, Trump called the rioters “very special” and told them to “go home in peace” while yet repeating his false election claims. Having received pressured from the GOP lawmakers along with the threat of removal, and numerous resignations from his administrations, Trump went on to commit to an orderly transition of power in a televised statement.
It was only after the crowd had been dispersed from the Capitol later that evening, that the counting of the electoral votes resumed and was completed in the early morning hours. Pence against Trump expectation declared President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris thereby affirmation their victory.
In response to the events many social media and technology companies suspended or banned Trump’s accounts from their platforms with many business organizations cutting ties with him.
The storming of the Capitol was described as treason, insurrection, sedition, domestic terrorism, assault, and an attempt by Trump to carry out a coup d’état. A week after the riot, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection” with 10 GOP republicans joining the democrats in impeaching Trump making him the only U.S. president to be impeached twice.