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  • Denis Pepin

76 Reasons Why Trump Shouldn't Be President Again - Part 1

Updated: May 12


Donald Trump in a dark blue suit pointing at the US Capitol building with a crowd behind him.
Donald Trump spews propaganda to his loyal supporters, while the symbol of democracy stands in the background.

Introduction:


As the political landscape contemplates the possibility of a return to the Oval Office for Donald Trump, it is imperative to critically examine the multifaceted reasons that give pause to the idea of a second presidential term. Beyond the customary debates on policy and leadership, an array of issues ranging from legal entanglements to past controversies and divisive policy decisions cast a shadow over the prospect of Trump's candidacy.


One significant facet of the discussion revolves around the criminal charges that have surfaced in the aftermath of his presidency. Allegations of falsifying business records to conceal sex scandals, attempting to overturn the 2020 election through dubious means, unlawfully handling classified documents, and facing charges related to election improprieties raise fundamental questions about the ethical and legal dimensions of his candidacy.


In addition to these legal quandaries, Donald Trump's past controversies have left an indelible mark on the political landscape. Policy shifts, particularly those that led to a deeply divided nation, serve as a testament to the challenges posed by his leadership style. The handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, both domestically and in relation to foreign nations, further underscores the need for a comprehensive evaluation of Trump's suitability for a second term.


Examining his approach to immigration policies and racial and social issues adds another layer of complexity to the discussion. The impact of his decisions on vulnerable communities and the broader social fabric of the nation cannot be overlooked when contemplating the potential ramifications of a return to the presidency.


Moreover, the compilation of 76 reasons serves as an exploration of the various facets that underscore the assertion that Donald Trump should have never been president and should not become one again.

While perusing the list of 76 reasons why he should not hold the office of President, ponder this scenario: if someone else were confronted with the same political hurdles as Donald Trump, would they have managed to navigate them as effectively? If your tendency leans towards a pessimistic response, it highlights the formidable illusory influence that Donald Trump holds over millions. It is crucial for those aligning with his supporters to carefully reevaluate their rationale and reconsider their allegiance to him. I firmly believe that the potential ramifications of his re-election could rapidly push the United States into authoritarianism, chaos, and dangerously bring us closer to the looming threat of a third world war.



1. Trump’s Fake University Scam Exposed and Shut Down:


The Trump University scam was a scandal that exposed the fraudulent and deceptive practices of a for-profit education company founded by former President Donald Trump in 2005. The company claimed to offer courses on real estate and entrepreneurship, taught by experts handpicked by Trump himself, who would reveal his secrets of success and provide mentorship and funding opportunities to the students. However, the company was accused of luring thousands of students with false promises and high-pressure sales tactics, and then charging them up to $35,000 for worthless programs that did not deliver what they advertised.


The scam was exposed by several investigations and lawsuits filed by former students and the New York Attorney General, who alleged that the company violated state and federal laws on consumer protection, fraud, and false advertising. The lawsuits revealed that the company was not a university at all, as it did not have a state license or accreditation, and that Trump had little or no involvement in the curriculum, the instructors, or the operations of the company. The lawsuits also showed that the company used aggressive and misleading marketing strategies, such as offering free seminars that were actually sales pitches for more expensive programs, and using fake testimonials, ratings, and satisfaction surveys to lure and deceive the students. The lawsuits also claimed that the company preyed on the elderly, the uneducated, and the financially desperate, and that it failed to provide any meaningful education, mentorship, or funding to the students, who often ended up in debt and with no real estate deals or profits.


In 2016, Trump agreed to pay $25 million to settle three lawsuits filed by former students and the New York Attorney General, without admitting any wrongdoing. The settlement required Trump to shut down the company and to reimburse about 6,000 students who had enrolled in its programs. The settlement also barred Trump and his associates from operating any similar business in New York, and imposed several restrictions and conditions on their future activities in the education sector. The settlement was seen as a victory for the victims of the scam, who had been waiting for years for justice and compensation.



2. Trump’s Charity Scam Exposed and Shut Down:


The Trump charity, or the Donald J. Trump Foundation, was a nonprofit organization founded by former President Donald Trump in 1988. The charity claimed to support various causes, such as veterans, children, health, and education. However, the charity was accused of misusing its funds for Trump’s personal and political benefit, such as paying legal settlements, buying portraits of himself, and influencing the 2016 election.


In 2018, the New York Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Trump, his three eldest children, and the charity, alleging that they engaged in a “shocking pattern of illegality” and violated state and federal laws. The lawsuit sought to dissolve the charity, ban Trump and his children from serving on any charities in New York, and recover $2.8 million in restitution and penalties.


In 2019, Trump agreed to shut down the charity and pay $2 million in damages, which were distributed to eight different charities: Army Emergency Relief, the Children’s Aid Society, Citymeals-on-Wheels, Give an Hour, Martha’s Table, the United Negro College Fund, the United Way of National Capital Area, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The settlement also required Trump and his children to undergo mandatory training on the proper management of charities.


 

3. Infamous Claim That He Could Shoot Someone On Fifth Avenue And Not Lose Voters:


Trump made a controversial statement on January 23, 2016, when he was campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination in Iowa. He said that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in New York City and still maintain his support from his loyal voters. He said: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, okay, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s, like, incredible.”

This remark was widely criticized as an example of Trump’s arrogance, narcissism, and disregard for the rule of law. Many people found it shocking and offensive that he would boast about his ability to get away with murder and insult the intelligence of his own supporters. Some commentators also pointed out that his statement was not true, as he would likely face legal consequences and public outrage if he actually committed such a crime.


Trump’s statement was also brought up in a court case in 2019, when his lawyers argued that he had absolute immunity from criminal prosecution while he was president. They claimed that he could not be indicted even if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue, and that the only remedy for such an act would be impeachment by Congress. This argument was rejected by a federal judge, who ruled that Trump was not above the law and that he could be investigated and prosecuted by state authorities.



 

4. 17 Counts of Criminal Tax Fraud and Related Offenses:


The Donald Trump's organization and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg have faced the following charges related to their alleged tax evasion schemes:


Seven counts of tax evasion: They were accused of willfully attempting to evade or defeat the payment of income taxes due to the United States by concealing income, inflating deductions, and filing false tax returns. Tax evasion is a federal crime that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison for each count.


Five counts of fraud and false statements: They were accused of willfully making and subscribing false tax returns that they did not believe to be true and correct as to every material matter. Fraud and false statements is a federal crime that carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison for each count.


Four counts of willful failure to file tax returns: They were accused of willfully failing to file tax returns for the years 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, as required by law. Willful failure to file tax returns is a federal crime that carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison for each count.


Three counts of obstruction of the due administration of the internal revenue laws: They were accused of corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the due administration of the internal revenue laws by interfering with the audits and investigations of their tax returns and financial affairs by the Internal Revenue Service. Obstruction of the due administration of the internal revenue laws is a federal crime that carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison for each count.


Two counts of conspiracy to defraud the United States: They were accused of conspiring with others to defraud the United States by impeding, impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful functions of the Internal Revenue Service in the ascertainment, computation, assessment, and collection of income taxes. Conspiracy to defraud the United States is a federal crime that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison for each count.


Two counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns: They were accused of aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of false tax returns for the years 2016 and 2017. Aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns is a federal crime that carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison for each count.The company and Weisselberg were the only ones who were criminally charged in this case, as the prosecutors could not find sufficient evidence to indict Donald Trump or any of his family members. Trump denied any wrongdoing and claimed that he was the victim of a political witch hunt. He also said that he had no involvement in the tax affairs of his company and that Weisselberg was acting on his own. The company and Weisselberg pleaded not guilty and fought the charges in court. They argued that the tax schemes were common and legal practices in the real estate industry and that the prosecutors were overreaching and biased. The trial lasted for six months and ended with a mixed verdict. The company was found guilty on all counts and fined $1.6 million, while Weisselberg was convicted on four counts and acquitted on the rest. He was sentenced to five months in jail and five years of probation. He began serving his jail term in January 2023 and was released in April 2023.


The verdict was not enough to break the company, as it continued to operate and generate revenue from its various properties and businesses. However, the company faced significant challenges and losses due to the legal troubles, the public backlash, and the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. The company had to sell some of its assets, cut costs, and renegotiate debts to stay afloat. The company also lost many of its partners, clients, and customers who did not want to be associated with the scandal. The company’s reputation and brand value suffered a major blow, and its future prospects remained uncertain.




5. 34 Counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, to Hide Sex Scandals:


According to the indictment, Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen paid $130,000 to Daniels in October 2016, just weeks before the election, to prevent her from going public with her claims that she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2007. The payment was made through a shell company called Essential Consultants LLC, which Cohen created for the purpose of concealing the source and nature of the funds.


The indictment alleges that Trump and Cohen then falsified the books of the Trump Organization, the former president’s family business, to disguise the payment as a legal expense. They also allegedly coordinated with American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, to buy and suppress another story about Trump’s alleged affair with former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who also claimed to have had a relationship with him in 2007.


The indictment claims that Trump and Cohen’s actions were intended to hide damaging information from the voting public and influence the outcome of the election. The indictment also accuses them of violating New York’s election law, which prohibits corporations from making contributions to candidates or political committees.


Falsifying business records in the first degree is a class E felony in New York, which carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison. Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges and is scheduled to stand trial on March 25, 2024. He has called the case a “witch hunt” and a “political prosecution” by the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat who took office in January.



6. 4 Counts  for his Alleged Role in Plotting to Overturn the 2020 Election Results and Inciting the January 6, 2021, Capitol Riot:


Former President Donald Trump is facing four federal charges for his alleged role in plotting to overturn the 2020 election results and inciting the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. The charges are:


Conspiracy to defraud the United States under Title 18 of the United States Code, which alleges that Trump and his associates conspired to impair, obstruct, and defeat the lawful functions of the government in the certification of the electoral votes.


Obstructing an official proceeding and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding under the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002, which alleges that Trump and his associates corruptly influenced, obstructed, and impeded the joint session of Congress that was convened to count the electoral votes and declare the winner of the presidential election.


Conspiracy against rights under the Enforcement Act of 1870, which alleges that Trump and his associates conspired to injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate persons in the free exercise and enjoyment of their right and privilege to vote and to have their votes counted.


The 45-page indictment, which was unsealed on August 1, 2023, details the various actions that Trump and his associates took to undermine the election outcome, including pressuring state officials, spreading false claims of fraud, filing baseless lawsuits, organizing rallies, and encouraging supporters to march to the Capitol and stop the certification process. The indictment also cites Trump’s speech on January 6, in which he told his followers to “fight like hell” and "stop the steal."


The charges could lead to a years-long prison sentence in the event of a conviction. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, except for the conspiracy against rights count, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges and is scheduled to stand trial on October 24, 2024. He has called the case a “witch hunt” and a “political prosecution” by the special counsel Jack Smith, a former federal prosecutor who was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland in February 2021 to investigate Trump’s election interference.




7. 40 Counts for Unlawful Handling of Classified Documents:


32 counts of unlawful retention of national defense information: This charge is based on the allegation that Trump kept classified documents after leaving the White House and stored them in various locations at The Mar-a-Lago Club, including in a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, an office space, his bedroom, and a storage room. Unlawful retention of national defense information is a violation of the Espionage Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each count.


One count of conspiracy to obstruct justice: This charge is based on the allegation that Trump conspired with his aide Walt Nauta and property manager Carlos De Oliveira to obstruct the investigation by the special counsel Jack Smith into the unlawful retention of classified documents. Conspiracy to obstruct justice is a federal crime that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.


One count of withholding a document or record: This charge is based on the allegation that Trump failed to surrender a document or record relating to the unlawful retention of classified documents when he was lawfully required to do so by the special counsel Jack Smith. Withholding a document or record is a federal crime that carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.


One count of corruptly concealing a document or record: This charge is based on the allegation that Trump corruptly concealed a document or record relating to the unlawful retention of classified documents with the intent to impair its availability for use in an official proceeding. Corruptly concealing a document or record is a federal crime that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.


One count of concealing a document in a federal investigation: This charge is based on the allegation that Trump concealed a document or record relating to the unlawful retention of classified documents with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation by the special counsel Jack Smith. Concealing a document in a federal investigation is a federal crime that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.


One count of scheme to conceal: This charge is based on the allegation that Trump devised and executed a scheme to conceal the unlawful retention of classified documents from the special counsel Jack Smith and the public. Scheme to conceal is a federal crime that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.


One count of false statements and representations: This charge is based on the allegation that Trump knowingly and willfully made false statements and representations to the special counsel Jack Smith and his agents regarding the unlawful retention of classified documents. False statements and representations is a federal crime that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.


One count of altering, destroying, mutilating or concealing an object: This charge is based on the allegation that Trump knowingly altered, destroyed, mutilated, or concealed an object with the intent to impair its integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding. Altering, destroying, mutilating, or concealing an object is a federal crime that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.


One count of corruptly altering, destroying, mutilating or concealing a document, record, or other object: This charge is based on the allegation that Trump corruptly altered, destroyed, mutilated, or concealed a document, record, or other object with the intent to impair its integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding. Corruptly altering, destroying, mutilating, or concealing a document, record, or other object is a federal crime that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.



8. 13 Counts of Racketeering and Election Fraud in Georgia:


Former President Donald Trump is facing 13 charges of racketeering and election fraud in connection with his attempts to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. The indictment alleges that Trump participated in and conspired with others to engage in a criminal enterprise that involved the solicitation of election fraud, the intentional interference with the performance of election duties, and the conspiracy to commit those offenses. The indictment cites Trump’s infamous phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which he pressured him to “find” enough votes to reverse his loss to President Joe Biden in the state. The indictment also accuses Trump of threatening Raffensperger and his staff with criminal prosecution if they did not comply with his demands.


The indictment charges Trump with one count of violating the state’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO.


Six counts of making false statements and writings, filing false documents or conspiring to do so, which allege that he submitted documents that contained lies about ballot fraud and tried to persuade Georgia legislators to reject lawful votes cast by duly elected officials.


Three counts of soliciting the “violation of oath” by a public officer, which allege that he pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff to “find” enough votes to reverse his loss to President Joe Biden in the state.


Two counts of conspiring to commit first-degree forgery, which allege that he intended to defraud the public by conspiring to make a false document titled “CERTIFICATE OF THE VOTES OF THE 2020 ELECTORS FROM GEORGIA”, a document which would have made him appear to be the winning candidate in Georgia.


One count of conspiring to impersonate a public officer, which alleges that he unlawfully conspired to influence certain individuals to falsely act as elected officials with intent to mislead.


Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, except for the solicitation and interference counts, which carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges and is scheduled to stand trial on April 15, 2024. He has called the case a “witch hunt” and a “political prosecution” by the Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat who launched the investigation.




9. Financial Fraud Charges in New York:


The New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a civil lawsuit against Trump, his company, his three children, and his business executives in September 2022, accusing them of defrauding lenders, insurers, and other entities by using false and misleading financial statements to inflate the value of their assets and net worth.

 

The lawsuit alleged that Trump and his allies engaged in a “repeated pattern and common scheme” of deriving more than 200 false and misleading valuations of assets included in 11 financial statements covering 2011 through 2021.

 

The lawsuit claimed that Trump and his allies used these doctored financial statements to conduct business transactions, such as obtaining loans, insurance coverage, and tax benefits, that they would not have been able to secure otherwise.

 

The lawsuit sought $250 million in monetary damages, as well as the cancellation of New York business certificates of all companies related to Trump and his two sons, Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump, making it difficult for them to continue running their real estate business in the state.

 

The lawsuit also made referrals to federal law enforcement authorities, suggesting that Trump and his allies may have committed criminal offenses as well.

 

Trump denied any wrongdoing and called the lawsuit a “witch-hunt” and a “political vendetta” by James, who he said was a “fraud” and a “radical left Democrat” who campaigned on a “get Trump” platform.

 

Trump and his company tried to sue James after she filed the lawsuit, but they ended up dropping their lawsuit earlier this year.

 

The trial started on October 2, 2023, and was presided by New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, who issued a partial ruling on September 26, 2023, largely agreeing with James’ main case against Trump.


 

10. Liable for Sexually Assaulting and Forcibly Touching E. Jean Carroll:


In May 2023, a New York jury found former President Donald Trump liable for sexually assaulting and forcibly touching E. Jean Carroll, a former magazine columnist who accused him of raping her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. The jury also found that Trump defamed Carroll by calling her a liar and a hoaxer when he denied her allegations. The jury awarded Carroll nearly $5 million in damages, including $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $2.4 million in punitive damages.


The civil trial, which lasted for two weeks, was the first time that Trump faced a jury over his conduct toward women. Carroll, who is 79 years old, testified in detail about the assault, which she said occurred in either 1995 or 1996 at the Bergdorf Goodman store in Manhattan. She said Trump, who was then a real estate mogul and a celebrity, asked her to help him pick a gift for a female friend. He then lured her into a dressing room, where he pinned her against a wall, pulled down her tights, and raped her.


Trump, who did not attend the trial, denied the allegations in a written deposition and a video testimony. He said he had never met Carroll, despite a photograph showing them together at a party in 1987. He also said he had never pressured any woman to have sex with him, and that he had no interest in Carroll, whom he called “not my type”. He claimed that Carroll was lying to sell her book, in which she first revealed the assault, and to damage his reputation and political career.


The jury, which consisted of six men and three women, deliberated for only three hours before reaching a unanimous verdict. They rejected Trump’s claim that he raped Carroll but found him liable for sexually abusing and forcibly touching her. They also found that he defamed her by making false and malicious statements about her in an October 2022 post on his Truth Social platform, where he called her a “complete con job,” a “hoax,” and a “lie.” The jury said that Trump knew his statements were false and that he intended to harm Carroll’s reputation and deter other women from coming forward.


Carroll, who hugged her lawyers and supporters after the verdict, said in a statement that she sued Trump to “clear my name and to get my life back.” She said that the verdict was a victory for her and for every woman who has suffered because she was not believed. She also thanked the jury for “listening to the truth” and “holding Donald Trump accountable for his actions.” She said she hoped that her case would inspire other survivors of sexual violence to seek justice.




11. First Impeachment:


The first impeachment of Donald Trump was a historic event that marked the third time a president of the United States was impeached by the House of Representatives. The impeachment was based on two articles: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The impeachment stemmed from a whistleblower complaint that alleged that Trump pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden, in exchange for military aid and a White House meeting. The impeachment also accused Trump of obstructing the congressional investigation into his conduct by refusing to cooperate with subpoenas and witnesses.


The impeachment inquiry began in September 2019 and lasted until November 2019. The House Intelligence Committee, led by Adam Schiff, held public hearings and depositions with several witnesses, including diplomats, national security officials, and White House staffers. The witnesses testified that Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, were pursuing a “shadow foreign policy” in Ukraine that undermined the official U.S. policy and national security interests. The witnesses also confirmed that there was a “quid pro quo” between Trump and the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, and that the military aid and the White House meeting were conditioned on the announcement of the investigations into the Bidens.


The House Judiciary Committee, led by Jerry Nadler, drafted the articles of impeachment and voted to approve them on December 13, 2019. The articles were then sent to the full House of Representatives, which voted to impeach Trump on December 18, 2019. The vote was largely along party lines, with 230 Democrats and one independent voting for impeachment, and 197 Republicans and two Democrats voting against impeachment. Trump became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached, after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998.


The impeachment trial began in the Senate on January 16, 2020, and lasted until February 5, 2020. The trial was presided by Chief Justice John Roberts and managed by the House impeachment managers, led by Schiff and Nadler, and the White House defense team, led by Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow. The trial featured opening arguments, written questions, and closing arguments from both sides, but no witnesses or new evidence were allowed, as the Republican-controlled Senate voted to reject the Democrats’ motions to subpoena them. The trial ended with Trump being acquitted on both articles of impeachment, as no Republicans voted to convict him on abuse of power, and only one Republican, Mitt Romney, voted to convict him on obstruction of Congress. Trump remained in office and claimed that he was exonerated and vindicated by the trial.


The first impeachment of Trump was a controversial and divisive episode in American politics, as it exposed the deep partisan divide and polarization in the country. The impeachment also had implications for the 2020 presidential election, as it damaged Trump’s reputation and credibility, but also energized his base and supporters. The impeachment also raised questions about the constitutional role and power of the presidency, the Congress, and the courts, and the balance and checks between them. The impeachment also highlighted the role and influence of the media, the public opinion, and the foreign actors in the U.S. political system.




12. Second Impeachment:


Donald Trump became the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice by the House of Representatives, on January 13, 2021. The House adopted one article of impeachment against Trump, charging him with incitement of insurrection. The article accused Trump of encouraging violence with his false claims of election fraud and his efforts to pressure state officials to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. It also stated that Trump incited the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, while Congress was convened to certify the electoral votes and confirm the victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.


The impeachment vote was 232-197, with 10 Republicans joining all 222 Democrats in favor of the article. It was the most bipartisan impeachment vote in U.S. history, surpassing the five Democrats who voted to impeach Bill Clinton in 1998. The 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump were Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Tom Rice of South Carolina, Dan Newhouse of Washington, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Fred Upton of Michigan, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, Peter Meijer of Michigan, John Katko of New York, and David Valadao of California.


The impeachment trial in the Senate began on February 9, 2021, and ended on February 13, 2021, with Trump’s acquittal. The Senate voted 57-43 to convict Trump, falling short of the two-thirds majority required by the Constitution. Seven Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in voting to convict Trump, making it the most bipartisan conviction vote in U.S. history. The seven Republicans who voted to convict Trump were Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.


The impeachment managers, led by Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, argued that Trump was directly responsible for the deadly insurrection at the Capitol, and that he posed a continuing threat to the nation and democracy. They presented evidence, including videos, tweets, and statements, to show how Trump incited and inflamed his supporters before and during the attack, and how he failed to stop the violence or express remorse afterward. They also rejected the defense’s claim that the trial was unconstitutional, and that Trump’s speech was protected by the First Amendment.


The defense lawyers, led by Michael van der Veen, argued that the trial was unconstitutional because Trump was no longer in office, and that it was politically motivated because the Democrats wanted to prevent Trump from running again in 2024. They also argued that Trump’s speech on January 6 was not incitement, but rather an expression of his opinion and a call for peaceful protest. They accused the impeachment managers of selectively editing the evidence and of ignoring the violence and rhetoric of the left-wing groups and politicians.

 

13. Alleged Business Conflicts:


Trump has been criticized for not divesting from his business empire when he became president, and for using his office to promote his properties and enrich himself and his family. Critics have argued that Trump violated the Constitution’s emoluments clauses, which prohibit presidents from receiving gifts or payments from foreign or domestic governments, or from profiting from their public service. Several lawsuits have been filed against Trump on this basis, alleging that he unlawfully profited from his businesses while in office, especially from his hotel in Washington, D.C., which hosted foreign dignitaries and officials. Trump has dismissed these lawsuits as politically motivated and baseless, and has maintained that he has no conflicts of interest. He has also refused to release his tax returns, which could shed light on his financial dealings and potential liabilities. In January 2021, just before he left office, Trump revoked a rule he signed early in his term that imposed a five-year lobbying ban for administration officials and a lifetime ban on lobbying for foreign governments. This move was seen as a way to allow his former aides and allies to cash in on their connections and influence.




14. Alleged Influence of Lobbyists in Administration:


Trump campaigned on a promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C., and to reduce the influence of lobbyists and special interests on policymaking. However, he has appointed several former lobbyists and industry insiders to key positions in his administration, and has granted waivers to some of them to bypass ethics rules and work on issues related to their former employers or clients. For example, he appointed David Bernhardt, a former oil and gas lobbyist, as the secretary of the interior, and Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. He also hired Brian Ballard, a prominent lobbyist and fundraiser for his campaign, as the vice chairman of his presidential inaugural committee. According to a report by the liberal-leaning watchdog group Public Citizen, more than 280 former lobbyists worked in the Trump administration as of October 2020, and more than 100 former Trump officials registered as lobbyists after leaving the government. Critics have accused Trump of creating a revolving door between his administration and the lobbying industry, and of undermining his own ethics pledge.



15. Alleged Interference in Census:


Trump has attempted to interfere with the 2020 census, the constitutionally mandated count of the U.S. population that determines the allocation of congressional seats and federal funding among the states. He has sought to exclude unauthorized immigrants from the census count for the purpose of redrawing congressional districts, a move that could benefit Republicans and disadvantage states with large immigrant populations, such as California and Texas. He has also pushed to end the census operations earlier than planned, despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, which could result in an undercount of hard-to-reach communities, such as people of color, low-income households, and rural residents. His administration has faced multiple lawsuits from civil rights groups, state attorneys general, and local officials challenging his census policies as unconstitutional and discriminatory. In December 2020, the Supreme Court dismissed two cases over Trump’s attempt to exclude unauthorized immigrants from the census apportionment, saying they were premature. In January 2021, a federal court blocked Trump’s plan to end the census early, and ordered the Census Bureau to continue processing the data until April 2021.



16. Alleged Misuse of Presidential Pardons:


Trump has abused his presidential pardon power by granting clemency to a number of criminals who were either his political allies, his personal friends, or his celebrity acquaintances. He has bypassed the traditional process of consulting with the Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney, and instead relied on his own whims and preferences. He has also used his pardons to undermine the rule of law and to reward those who were loyal to him or who flattered him. Some of the most controversial pardons that Trump has issued include:


Steve Bannon, his former chief strategist, who was charged with defrauding donors of a fund to build a border wall.


Roger Stone, his long time friend and adviser, who was convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstructing the investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 election.


Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.


Paul Manafort, his former campaign chairman, who was convicted of tax fraud, bank fraud, and other crimes related to his lobbying work for pro-Russian interests in Ukraine.


Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, who was found guilty of criminal contempt for defying a court order to stop racially profiling Latinos.


Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative commentator and filmmaker, who pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws.


Rod Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois, who was convicted of trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.


Bernard Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner, who pleaded guilty to tax fraud and lying to the White House.


Edward DeBartolo Jr., the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers, who pleaded guilty to failing to report a felony in a bribery case.


Lil Wayne, a rapper, who pleaded guilty to illegally possessing a firearm.




17. Alleged Nepotism in White House Appointments:


Trump has been criticized for appointing his family members and close associates to key positions in his administration, violating the spirit if not the letter of the federal anti-nepotism law. The law, which was enacted in 1967 after President John F. Kennedy appointed his brother Robert F. Kennedy as the attorney general, prohibits the president from appointing relatives to agencies or offices over which he has authority or control. However, the law does not clearly define what constitutes an agency or an office, and a 1993 court ruling held that the White House and the Executive Office of the President were not agencies under the law. Trump has used this loophole to hire his daughter Ivanka Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner as senior advisers, and to give other relatives and friends influential roles in his administration. Some of these appointments include:


Andrew Giuliani, the son of Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who was hired as an associate director of the Office of Public Liaison.


Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., the president’s sons, who took over the management of the Trump Organization and continued to pursue foreign business deals while their father was in office.


Lara Trump, the wife of Eric Trump, who served as a senior consultant for the Trump campaign and was reportedly offered a $180,000-a-year job at the Trump campaign after leaving the White House.


Tyler McGaughey, the husband of Attorney General William Barr’s daughter, who was hired as a lawyer in the White House Counsel’s Office.


Mary Daly, the daughter of Attorney General William Barr, who left her position as a federal prosecutor and joined the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit.


John McEntee, the president’s former personal assistant, who was fired in 2018 for security clearance issues and then rehired as the head of the White House personnel office, where he oversaw the hiring and firing of administration officials.


Hope Hicks, the president’s former communications director and confidante, who resigned in 2018 after admitting to lying to Congress and then returned as a senior counselor to the president.




18. Alleged Obstruction of Congress:


Trump has been accused of obstructing Congress by refusing to cooperate with the impeachment investigations that were launched against him in 2019 and 2021. He has defied subpoenas, withheld documents, and instructed his aides and officials not to testify before the House committees that were conducting the inquiries. He has also attacked the legitimacy and credibility of the investigations, calling them witch hunts, hoaxes, and coups. He has tried to discredit and intimidate the witnesses who did testify, and to undermine the whistleblowers who exposed his misconduct. He has also sought to interfere with the special counsel’s investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 election, which was the basis of the first impeachment inquiry. Some of the specific actions that Trump has taken to obstruct Congress include: 


Firing FBI Director James Comey, who was leading the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, and then admitting that he did so because of the Russia probe.


Trying to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who took over the investigation after Comey’s dismissal, and then pressuring his subordinates to lie about his attempts.


Asking then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to unrecuse himself from the Russia investigation and to limit its scope.


Attempting to influence the testimony of key witnesses, such as Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Michael Cohen, by praising or criticizing them, and by dangling the possibility of pardons or reprisals.


Blocking the release of the full Mueller report and the underlying evidence to Congress, and allowing then-Attorney General William Barr to misrepresent its findings and conclusions.


Withholding military aid and a White House meeting from Ukraine, and pressuring its president to announce investigations into his political rival Joe Biden and a debunked conspiracy theory about the 2016 election, which was the basis of the second impeachment inquiry.


Refusing to provide any documents or witnesses to the House committees that were investigating the Ukraine matter, and instructing his officials to ignore their subpoenas.


Dismissing or reassigning the inspectors general who were overseeing the administration’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the distribution of the relief funds.


Pressuring state officials and members of Congress to overturn the results of the 2020 election, and inciting a violent mob to storm the Capitol on January 6, 2021, to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, which was the basis of the third impeachment inquiry.


 

19. Alleged Obstruction of Mueller Investigation:


The Mueller investigation was a special counsel probe led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller that examined the Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. The investigation lasted from May 2017 to March 2019 and resulted in 34 indictments, seven guilty pleas, and one conviction at trial. However, the investigation did not establish that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.

 

The investigation also examined whether President Trump obstructed justice by interfering with the probe or trying to influence its outcome. The Mueller report, which was released in April 2019, detailed 10 episodes of potential obstruction by Trump, including:


Firing FBI Director James Comey, who was leading the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, and then admitting that he did so because of the Russia probe.


Trying to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who took over the investigation after Comey’s dismissal, and then pressuring his subordinates to lie about his attempts.


Asking then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to unrecuse himself from the Russia investigation and to limit its scope.


Attempting to influence the testimony of key witnesses, such as Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Michael Cohen, by praising or criticizing them, and by dangling the possibility of pardons or reprisals.


Blocking the release of the full Mueller report and the underlying evidence to Congress, and allowing then-Attorney General William Barr to misrepresent its findings and conclusions.

 

The Mueller report did not reach a definitive conclusion on whether Trump committed the crime of obstruction of justice, citing legal and factual uncertainties, as well as a Justice Department policy that prohibits the indictment of a sitting president. The report stated: "If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment."


The report also noted that Congress has the authority to apply the obstruction laws to the president’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office, and that doing so would accord with the constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.




20. Alleged Political Interference in Pandemic Response:


President Trump has faced widespread criticism for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 800,000 Americans and infected more than 50 million as of December 2021. He has been accused of downplaying the threat of the virus, spreading misinformation and falsehoods, ignoring the advice of experts, failing to implement a national strategy, and shifting the blame to others. He has also been exposed for deliberately misleading the public about the danger of the virus, as revealed by journalist Bob Woodward’s interviews with him in early 2020.


Trump has also been accused of politicizing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the nation’s leading public health agency, and of interfering with its scientific reports and guidance on the Covid-19 pandemic. He has contradicted or undermined the CDC’s recommendations on issues such as mask wearing, social distancing, school reopening, and vaccine distribution. He has also pressured the CDC to revise or delay its reports to align with his optimistic message and downplay the severity of the outbreak. For instance, he appointed Michael Caputo, a former campaign aide with no medical background, as the assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which oversees the CDC. Caputo and his team tried to edit, delay, or stop the publication of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), a key source of scientific information on Covid-19, to make them more favorable to Trump. They also demanded that CDC officials destroy evidence of their interference, according to a congressional investigation. Caputo resigned in September 2020 after making controversial comments about the CDC and the pandemic.


Trump has also been criticized for his mismanagement of the Covid-19 vaccine distribution, which has been plagued by delays, confusion, and shortages. While Trump claimed credit for the development of the vaccines through his Operation Warp Speed initiative, he failed to provide adequate support and guidance to the states and local authorities that were responsible for administering the shots. He also made unrealistic promises and projections about the availability and delivery of the vaccines, such as saying that 20 million Americans would be vaccinated by the end of 2020, when in fact only about 3 million were. He also falsely claimed that the number of doses was declining in the U.S. and that “anybody who needs a test gets a test”. Trump also clashed with the governors and health officials who complained about the lack of federal coordination and communication, and accused them of being slow or incompetent. He also ignored or dismissed the recommendations of his own health advisers, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, who urged him to prioritize the vaccine distribution and to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase the supply of syringes, vials, and other materials.


 

21. Alleged Pressure on DOJ to Investigate Political Rivals:


Trump has been accused of using the Justice Department for political purposes, and of pressuring the attorney general and other officials to investigate or prosecute his political rivals, critics, and perceived enemies. He has repeatedly called for the DOJ to “lock up” his opponents, such as Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and James Comey, without any evidence of wrongdoing. He has also accused the DOJ of being part of a “deep state” conspiracy against him, and of protecting his allies from prosecution.


Some of the examples of Trump’s alleged pressure on the DOJ include:


Demanding that then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions launch an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, and berating him for recusing himself from the Russia investigation.


Asking then-FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, who lied to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.


Pressuring then-Attorney General William Barr to announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter before the 2020 election, and to release a report by U.S. Attorney John Durham, who was appointed by Barr to review the origins of the Russia investigation.


Interfering in the sentencing of Roger Stone, his longtime friend and adviser, who was convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstructing the investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump publicly criticized the prosecutors’ recommendation of a seven-to-nine-year prison term for Stone, and praised Barr for intervening to lower it. Four prosecutors resigned from the case in protest, and more than 2,000 former DOJ officials signed a letter calling for Barr’s resignation.


Pardoning or commuting the sentences of several of his associates who were convicted or charged in connection with the Mueller investigation, such as Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, and Steve Bannon.


Pressuring the DOJ to support his baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and election rigging in the 2020 election, and to file lawsuits to overturn the results in favor of Joe Biden. Trump reportedly considered firing then-Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who refused to pursue Trump’s allegations, and replacing him with Jeffrey Clark, a DOJ lawyer who was willing to do so.




22. Alleged Ties to Russia:


One of the most controversial and persistent allegations against Donald Trump is that he has ties to Russia that compromise his loyalty and integrity as the president of the United States. These allegations stem from various sources, such as:


The U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to help Trump win, and that the Trump campaign had contacts with Russian officials or intermediaries during the campaign.


The Steele dossier, a collection of reports compiled by a former British spy, Christopher Steele, that claimed that Russia had compromising information on Trump, and that there was a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.


The Mueller investigation, a special counsel probe led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, that examined the Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. The investigation lasted from May 2017 to March 2019 and resulted in 34

indictments, seven guilty pleas, and one conviction at trial. However, the investigation did not establish that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities. The investigation also examined whether Trump obstructed justice by interfering with the probe or trying to influence its outcome, and detailed 10 episodes of potential obstruction by Trump.


Trump has denied any wrongdoing or collusion with Russia, and has dismissed the allegations as a hoax, a witch hunt, and a coup. He has also attacked the credibility and legitimacy of the sources and investigations that have raised the allegations, and has accused them of being part of a “deep state” conspiracy against him. He has also praised and defended Russian President Vladimir Putin, and has sought to improve the relations between the U.S. and Russia, despite the objections and concerns of his own advisers and allies.



23. Alleged Use of Racially Insensitive Language:


Trump has faced widespread criticism for his use of racially insensitive language, both before and during his presidency. He has been accused of making derogatory and inflammatory remarks about various racial and ethnic groups, such as African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, Native Americans, and immigrants. He has also been denounced for promoting racist conspiracy theories, such as the birtherism movement that questioned the citizenship and legitimacy of President Barack Obama, and for failing to condemn white supremacists and other hate groups. Some of the examples of Trump’s alleged use of racially insensitive language include:


Referring to African countries, Haiti, and El Salvador as “shithole countries” during a meeting on immigration in January 2018, and asking why the U.S. should accept immigrants from those places instead of from countries like Norway.


Calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “criminals” during his presidential campaign announcement speech in June 2015, and vowing to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to keep them out.


Claiming that there were “very fine people on both sides” of the violent clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, where a neo-Nazi killed a woman by ramming his car into a crowd.


Telling four Democratic congresswomen of color, known as “the Squad”, to “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” in a series of tweets in July 2019, even though three of them were born in the U.S. and all of them are U.S. citizens.


Mocking Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic presidential candidate, as “Pocahontas” and claiming that she had lied about her Native American heritage, despite her releasing a DNA test that showed she had some Native American ancestry.


Referring to the coronavirus, which originated in China, as the “Chinese virus” or the “kung flu”, despite warnings from public health officials and Asian American groups that such terms could fuel racism and discrimination against Asian Americans.


Critics of Trump’s language argue that he has normalized and emboldened racism and bigotry in the U.S., and that he has divided the country along racial and ethnic lines. They also contend that he has harmed the U.S.'s reputation and credibility in the world, and that he has endangered the lives and rights of people of color and other marginalized groups.




24. Alleged Violation of Emoluments Clause:


The emoluments clause is a provision of the U.S. Constitution that bars the president and other federal officials from accepting any gifts, payments, or benefits from foreign governments or their agents without the consent of Congress. The clause, which is found in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8, states: “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” The purpose of the clause is to prevent foreign influence and corruption in the U.S. government, and to ensure that the president and other officials act in the best interest of the nation and not their own personal or financial interest.


Trump has been accused of violating the emoluments clause by allowing his businesses, especially his hotels and resorts, to receive money from foreign governments and officials without prior approval of Congress. Unlike previous presidents, Trump did not divest from his business empire when he took office, but instead retained ownership and control of his assets through a trust managed by his sons. He also refused to release his tax returns, which could reveal his financial ties and potential conflicts of interest with foreign entities. Some of the examples of Trump’s alleged violation of the emoluments clause include:


Receiving payments from foreign governments and officials who stayed at or hosted events at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., which is located near the White House and the Capitol. The hotel has been frequented by diplomats and dignitaries from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Malaysia, and Turkey.


Receiving payments from foreign governments and officials who patronized his other properties around the world, such as the Trump Tower in New York, the Trump National Doral Miami resort in Florida, and the Trump golf courses in Scotland and Ireland. The properties have been visited by officials from countries such as China, India, Philippines, Romania, and Georgia.


Receiving payments from foreign governments and officials who licensed or partnered with his businesses in other countries, such as the Trump-branded buildings and hotels in Turkey, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The businesses have involved dealings with controversial figures, such as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.


Receiving payments from foreign governments and officials who granted him trademarks, permits, or tax breaks for his businesses in other countries, such as China, Indonesia, and India. The payments have raised questions about whether Trump has traded favors or policy concessions for his personal benefit.


Several lawsuits have been filed against Trump on the basis of the emoluments clause, alleging that he has unlawfully profited from his businesses while in office, and that he has created unfair competition and unfair advantages for his businesses over others. The lawsuits have been brought by various plaintiffs, such as state attorneys general, members of Congress, and competitors in the hospitality industry. However, none of the lawsuits have reached a final resolution, as they have faced procedural hurdles and delays in the courts. In January 2021, the Supreme Court dismissed two of the lawsuits and ordered the lower courts to erase their rulings against Trump, on the grounds that the cases were moot because he was no longer in office.



25. Alleged Violation of the Hatch Act:


The Hatch Act is a federal law that prohibits executive branch employees from engaging in certain political activities, such as campaigning for or against candidates, parties, or causes, while on duty or using official resources. The law aims to prevent the misuse of public office for partisan advantage, and to protect the rights and interests of federal workers and the public. The law does not apply to the president and the vice president, but it does apply to their appointees and staff, as well as other federal officials and employees.


Donald Trump has been accused of violating the Hatch Act by allowing or encouraging his subordinates to use their official positions for political purposes, especially during the 2020 presidential election. Some of the examples of Trump’s alleged violation of the Hatch Act include:


Hosting the 2020 Republican National Convention at the White House, where he delivered his acceptance speech and staged various events involving his administration officials and family members. The Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal agency that enforces the Hatch Act, found that this did not violate the law itself, but that some of the officials who participated in the convention did.


Pressuring the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to announce investigations or actions that could benefit his reelection campaign, such as the probe into the origins of the Russia investigation, the indictment of his political opponents, and the deployment of federal agents to quell protests in Democratic-led cities.


Using the White House and other federal properties as venues for his campaign rallies, speeches, and interviews, where he often attacked his Democratic rival Joe Biden and promoted his own agenda.


Ordering or allowing his administration officials to appear at his campaign events or endorse his candidacy, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who spoke at the Republican convention from Jerusalem while on an official diplomatic trip.


Displaying or distributing campaign materials, such as hats, signs, and banners, in his official meetings, visits, or travels, or allowing his staff to do so.


The Office of Special Counsel has issued several reports and letters finding that at least 13 former Trump administration officials violated the Hatch Act by campaigning for Trump or disparaging his opponents while acting in their official capacities. However, the office has no power to impose penalties or sanctions on the violators, except for certain lower-level employees. The office can only refer the cases to the president, who has the authority to take disciplinary actions, such as removal, suspension, demotion, or fine. Trump, however, has shown no interest or willingness to punish his aides for violating the Hatch Act, and has instead defended or praised them.




26. Appointments of Family Members:


Trump has appointed several of his family members to key positions in his administration, raising concerns about nepotism, conflicts of interest, and qualifications. Some of the family members that Trump has appointed include:


Ivanka Trump, his eldest daughter, who serves as a senior adviser to the president, focusing on issues such as women’s empowerment, economic development, and workforce policy. She also leads the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, a government program that aims to advance women’s economic opportunities around the world.


Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and Ivanka’s husband, who also serves as a senior adviser to the president, overseeing a wide range of domestic and foreign policy portfolios, such as trade, immigration, criminal justice reform, Middle East peace, and the coronavirus response.


Donald Trump Jr., his eldest son, who serves as an executive vice president of the Trump Organization, the family’s real estate and business empire, and as a trustee of the trust that holds the president’s assets. He is also a prominent surrogate and fundraiser for his father’s campaign and the Republican Party.


Eric Trump, his second son, who also serves as an executive vice president of the Trump Organization and a trustee of the trust that holds the president’s assets. He is also involved in his father’s campaign and the Republican Party.


Lara Trump, his daughter-in-law and Eric’s wife, who serves as a senior consultant for his campaign and the host of its online show, Team Trump Online. She is also a producer and former television host13.

Kimberly Guilfoyle, his girlfriend and Donald Jr.'s partner, who serves as the national chair of the Trump Victory Finance Committee, the fundraising arm of his campaign and the Republican Party. She is also a former prosecutor and television personality.


Trump’s appointments of his family members have drawn criticism and legal challenges from various watchdog groups, ethics experts, and lawmakers, who argue that they violate the federal anti-nepotism law, which prohibits the president from appointing his relatives to positions in the executive branch. The law, which was enacted in 1967 after President John F. Kennedy appointed his brother Robert as the attorney general, defines relatives as including parents, siblings, children, and in-laws.


However, the Trump administration has defended the appointments of Ivanka and Kushner, the only family members who hold official White House positions, by citing a 1993 court ruling that found that the anti-nepotism law does not apply to the White House Office, which consists of the president’s closest staff and advisers. The ruling, which was issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, held that the White House Office is not an "agency" under the law, and that the president has the authority to appoint his own staff, regardless of their relationship to him.


The Trump administration has also argued that Ivanka and Kushner are not paid for their work, and that they have complied with the ethics rules and regulations that apply to other federal employees, such as divesting from certain assets, recusing from certain matters, and filing financial disclosures. However, critics have questioned the adequacy and transparency of these measures, and have pointed out the potential or actual conflicts of interest that arise from the family’s continued involvement and influence in the Trump Organization and the Trump campaign.




27. Appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education:


Betsy DeVos, a billionaire Republican donor and a former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, was appointed by Trump as the secretary of education in 2017. She was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 51-50, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote, the first time in U.S. history that a vice president had to do so for a Cabinet nomination.


DeVos’s appointment was controversial due to her lack of experience and expertise in public education, her advocacy for school choice and charter schools, and her opposition to the Common Core standards and other federal regulations. DeVos, who has never attended, taught, or worked in a public school, is a prominent supporter of voucher programs, which allow parents to use public funds to send their children to private or religious schools. She is also a champion of charter schools, which are publicly funded but independently operated schools that are exempt from some state and local rules. DeVos and her family have donated millions of dollars to various organizations and candidates that promote school choice and charter schools, especially in her home state of Michigan.


DeVos’s critics argue that her policies undermine public education, divert resources from public schools, reduce accountability and quality, and increase segregation and inequality. They also contend that she is hostile to the civil rights and protections of students, especially those who are low-income, disabled, LGBTQ, or from racial and ethnic minorities. They cite her actions and statements on various issues, such as:


Rolling back the Obama-era guidance on how schools should handle sexual assault and harassment cases under Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. DeVos issued a new rule that narrows the definition of sexual harassment, raises the standard of evidence for proving allegations, and grants more rights to the accused.


Rescinding the Obama-era guidance on how schools should address racial disparities in school discipline, which warned that students of color were disproportionately suspended and expelled, and that such practices could violate federal civil rights laws. DeVos claimed that the guidance had made schools less safe and infringed on local decision-making.


Proposing to eliminate or cut funding for several education programs and initiatives, such as the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which cancels the student debt of borrowers who work for 10 years in public service jobs, and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which supports after-school and summer programs for low-income students.


Supporting the use of federal funds to arm teachers and school staff, as a way to prevent or respond to school shootings. DeVos considered allowing states and districts to use federal grants under the Student Support and Academic Enrichment program, which are intended to provide students with a well-rounded education, to buy firearms and firearm training.


Refusing to commit to enforcing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal law that guarantees a free and appropriate public education to students with disabilities. DeVos said that the enforcement of IDEA should be left to the states, and that parents should have the option to choose schools that best meet their children’s needs, even if those schools do not comply with IDEA.


DeVos’s supporters argue that she is a reformer who is committed to improving the quality and outcomes of education for all students, especially those who are underserved or disadvantaged. They also maintain that she is a defender of parental rights and local control, and that she respects the diversity and innovation of the education sector. They cite her actions and statements on various issues, such as:


Expanding the access and availability of school choice and charter schools, especially for low-income and minority students who are trapped in failing or underperforming schools. DeVos said that school choice empowers parents and students to find the best educational options for their needs and preferences, and that competition among schools improves quality and efficiency.


Promoting career and technical education, STEM education, and apprenticeship programs, as alternatives or complements to traditional college education. DeVos said that these programs prepare students for the demands and opportunities of the 21st century economy, and that they offer more affordable and flexible pathways to success.


Supporting the rights and freedoms of religious schools and students, and protecting them from discrimination or hostility. DeVos said that religious education is a vital part of the American heritage and diversity, and that faith-based schools and organizations contribute to the common good and the public interest.


Reforming the federal student aid system, and simplifying the application and repayment processes. DeVos said that the current system is too complex and burdensome for students and families, and that it needs to be more transparent and user-friendly. She also said that the federal government should not be in the business of making profits from student loans, and that it should partner with the private sector to provide more options and services.




28. Attacks on the Affordable Care Act:


The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is a landmark health care reform law that was enacted in 2010 by President Barack Obama. The law aimed to expand health insurance coverage, lower health care costs, and improve health care quality and access for millions of Americans. Some of the key provisions of the law include:


Establishing health insurance marketplaces, or exchanges, where individuals and small businesses can shop for and compare health plans.


Providing subsidies and tax credits to help low- and middle-income Americans afford health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs.


Expanding Medicaid eligibility to cover more low-income adults in states that opted to do so.


Prohibiting insurers from denying coverage or charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions, and from imposing annual or lifetime limits on benefits.


Requiring most Americans to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty, also known as the individual mandate.


Imposing a tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans, also known as the Cadillac tax.

Creating a new federal agency, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, to test and implement new models of health care delivery and payment.


Donald Trump, who campaigned on a promise to repeal and replace the ACA, has made several attempts to undermine the law through executive actions, legislative efforts, and legal challenges. Some of the ways that Trump has tried to weaken the ACA include:


Reducing outreach and enrollment assistance for the ACA’s insurance exchanges, such as cutting funding for advertising and navigators, and shortening the open enrollment period.


Ending the payments to insurers that reimburse them for reducing deductibles and co-payments for low-income enrollees, also known as cost-sharing reduction subsidies.


Expanding the availability and duration of alternative health plans that do not have to comply with the ACA’s rules and standards, such as short-term, limited-duration plans and association health plans.


Repealing the individual mandate penalty as part of the 2017 tax reform law, which reduced the incentive for healthy people to enroll in the ACA’s insurance exchanges and increased the risk of adverse selection and premium hikes.


Supporting the lawsuit filed by Republican-led states and the former Trump administration that seeks to invalidate the entire ACA, based on the argument that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and inseverable from the rest of the law. The lawsuit is currently pending before the Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments in November 2020 and is expected to issue a ruling by June 2021.


Critics of Trump’s actions argue that he has violated his constitutional duty to faithfully execute the law, and that he has jeopardized the health and well-being of millions of Americans who rely on the ACA for health insurance coverage and consumer protections. They also contend that Trump has failed to offer a viable alternative to the ACA that would preserve its popular features and cover as many people as the law does.




29. Attacks on the Media:


Trump has faced widespread criticism for his attacks on the media, both before and during his presidency. He has been accused of making derogatory and inflammatory remarks about various media outlets, journalists, and reporters, such as calling them “fake news”, “enemy of the people”, and “dishonest”. He has also been denounced for promoting false or misleading information, such as conspiracy theories, and for failing to respect the role and rights of the press in a democracy. Some of the examples of Trump’s attacks on the media include:


Referring to the media as “the enemy of the American people” in a tweet in February 2017, and repeating the phrase on several occasions. The term has been historically used by authoritarian leaders to demonize their opponents and justify their repression.


Calling the media “fake news” hundreds of times, especially when they report negatively or critically about him or his administration. He has also accused the media of spreading “fake polls”, “fake stories”, and “fake sources” to undermine his credibility and popularity.


Mocking or insulting individual journalists or reporters, such as calling CNN’s Jim Acosta “a rude, terrible person”, NBC’s Katy Tur “little Katy”, and ABC’s Cecilia Vega “not thinking”. He has also made personal attacks on the appearance, intelligence, or integrity of some journalists, such as MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, CNN’s Don Lemon, and the late Cokie Roberts.


Revoking or threatening to revoke the press credentials or access of some media outlets or journalists, such as CNN, the Washington Post, and Playboy’s Brian Karem. He has also barred some reporters from attending his press briefings or events, such as CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman.


Encouraging or condoning violence or hostility against the media, such as praising a Republican congressman who assaulted a reporter, sharing a doctored video of him wrestling a CNN logo, and laughing at a supporter’s suggestion to shoot journalists.


Critics of Trump’s actions argue that he has violated his constitutional duty to faithfully execute the law, and that he has jeopardized the health and well-being of millions of Americans who rely on the media for accurate and reliable information. They also contend that he has eroded public trust and confidence in the media, and that he has undermined the democratic norms and values that underpin a free and independent press.



30. Attitude Towards NATO Allies:


Trump has expressed skepticism and criticism towards the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the military alliance of 30 European and North American countries that was formed in 1949 to counter the threat of the Soviet Union. He has questioned the relevance and value of the alliance, and has repeatedly urged its members to pay more for their own defense. Some of the examples of Trump’s attitude towards NATO allies include:


Calling NATO “obsolete” and “very unfair to the United States” during his 2016 presidential campaign, and suggesting that he would not automatically defend NATO allies if they were attacked by Russia6.

Accusing NATO allies of being “delinquent” and “not paying their fair share” of the alliance’s budget, and demanding that they meet the agreed target of spending 2% of their gross domestic product on defense by 2024. He has also claimed, falsely, that some allies owe the United States money for past defense spending.


Clashing with NATO leaders at several summits, such as pushing the Montenegrin prime minister aside, refusing to endorse a joint statement, and threatening to withdraw from the alliance if allies did not increase their defense spending.


Withdrawing thousands of U.S. troops from Germany, a key NATO ally and host of the alliance’s headquarters, without consulting other NATO members. He justified the move by saying that Germany was “taking advantage of us” and "not paying their NATO fees".


Supporting the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan, two countries where NATO has been involved in military operations, without coordinating with NATO allies. He also endorsed Turkey’s military intervention in Syria, which was opposed by many NATO allies.


Supporters of Trump’s stance argue that he is right to demand more burden-sharing and accountability from NATO allies, and that he is pursuing America’s interests and security. They also maintain that he is committed to the alliance and its core principle of collective defense, and that he has increased U.S. defense spending and military readiness.




31. Attitude Towards Science:


Trump has been accused of having a problematic and hostile approach to science, especially on issues such as climate change, public health, and environmental protection. He has ignored, dismissed, or contradicted scientific evidence and advice, and has proposed or implemented policies that undermine scientific research and education. Some of the examples of Trump’s attitude towards science include:


Denying or downplaying the reality and severity of human-caused climate change, and calling it a “hoax” and a “Chinese plot”. He has also withdrawn the United States from the Paris Agreement, a global pact to combat climate change, and has rolled back many of the Obama administration’s climate policies and regulations.


Mishandling the coronavirus pandemic, and spreading misinformation and falsehoods about the virus, its transmission, and its treatment. He has also contradicted or criticized public health officials and experts, such as those on the White House coronavirus task force, and has pressured them to align with his political agenda.


Reducing funding and staff for scientific agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the Environmental Protection Agency. He has also delayed or failed to appoint qualified scientists to key positions, and has interfered with the scientific integrity and independence of some agencies.


Restricting or censoring scientific data and communication, such as deleting or altering information on climate change and other topics from government websites, and limiting or prohibiting scientists from speaking to the media or the public.


Promoting or supporting anti-scientific views and movements, such as anti-vaccination, creationism, and conspiracy theories. He has also expressed skepticism or disdain for scientific methods and standards, such as peer review, evidence-based decision making, and consensus building.


Critics of Trump’s attitude towards science argue that he has damaged science and its role in society, and that he has endangered the health, safety, and well-being of Americans and the world. They also contend that he has eroded public trust and confidence in science and scientists, and that he has undermined the scientific enterprise and innovation.



32. Dismantling of Pandemic Response Team:


In 2018, Trump’s then-national security adviser John Bolton restructured the National Security Council and disbanded the Directorate of Global Health Security and Biodefense, a unit that focused on pandemic preparedness.


The former head of the unit, Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, resigned from the administration and was not replaced.


Some members of the team were reassigned to other units in the NSC, but critics argued that the move weakened the ability to respond to health crises.


In 2020, after the coronavirus outbreak became a global pandemic, Trump denied that he had disbanded the pandemic response team and blamed the Obama administration for leaving him with a "broken system".


Trump also downplayed the severity of the virus, contradicted public health experts, promoted unproven treatments, and delayed taking action to contain the spread of the disease.


The US has recorded more than 50 million cases and over 800,000 deaths from COVID-19, the highest numbers in the world.




33. Divisive Rhetoric:


Trump has been accused of using divisive and dehumanizing rhetoric that appeals to nationalism, racism, sexism, and xenophobia.


Some examples of his controversial statements include:


Calling Mexican immigrants "rapists" and "criminals" and advocating for building a wall along the US-Mexico border.


Imposing a travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries and saying "Islam hates us"1011.

Referring to African countries and Haiti as "shithole countries" and questioning why the US should accept immigrants from them.


Telling four Democratic congresswomen of color to "go back" to where they came from, even though three of them were born in the US.


Claiming that there were "very fine people on both sides" after a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that resulted in the death of a counter-protester.


Repeatedly mocking and insulting his political opponents, the media, women, minorities, and other groups.


Critics argue that Trump’s rhetoric has contributed to political polarization, social unrest, hate crimes, and violence in the US .


Trump has defended his speech as "strong" and "honest" and accused his critics of being "politically correct" and "fake news".



34. Executive Order on Immigration Restrictions:


In 2017, Trump signed an executive order that banned travel from seven Muslim-majority countries and suspended the refugee program for 120 days. The order sparked protests and legal challenges, and was blocked by several federal courts. Trump revised the order twice, removing Iraq from the list of banned countries and adding exemptions and waivers. The third version of the order was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2018.


In 2018, Trump signed an executive order that barred people from seeking asylum outside official ports of entry, in response to a caravan of migrants from Central America. The order was challenged by civil rights groups and blocked by a federal judge. The Supreme Court refused to lift the injunction in 2019.


In 2020, Trump signed an executive order that suspended the issuance of green cards for 60 days, citing the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The order affected thousands of people seeking to legally migrate to the US, but did not apply to temporary workers, spouses and children of US citizens, and health care professionals. Trump extended the order until the end of 2020 and added restrictions on some work visas.


In 2020, Trump also signed an executive order that expanded the travel ban to include six more countries: Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan, and Myanmar. The order affected the issuance of immigrant visas, but not non-immigrant visas such as tourist and student visas. The order was criticized by human rights groups and lawmakers as discriminatory and counterproductive.



35. Executive Order on Social Media:


In 2020, Trump signed an executive order that targeted social media companies, after Twitter added fact-check labels to two of his tweets on mail-in voting. The order sought to limit the legal protections that shield social media platforms from liability for the content posted by their users. The order also directed federal agencies to review and potentially stop advertising on social media platforms that engage in censorship or political bias. The order was challenged by tech companies, civil rights groups, and legal experts, who argued that it violated the First Amendment and exceeded the president’s authority.




36. Family Separation Policy:


In 2018, Trump implemented a “zero tolerance” policy that resulted in the separation of thousands of children from their parents or guardians who crossed the US-Mexico border illegally or sought asylum. The policy was intended to deter illegal immigration and to pressure Congress to pass stricter immigration laws. The policy sparked outrage and condemnation from human rights groups, religious leaders, lawmakers, and the public. The policy also faced legal challenges and logistical problems, as the government did not have a system to track and reunite the separated families.


In 2018, Trump signed an executive order that ended the family separation policy, and ordered the Department of Homeland Security to detain families together. However, the order did not specify how the reunification process would work, and did not address the fate of the already separated families. A federal judge issued an injunction against the policy and ordered the government to reunite all the separated families within 30 days. The government failed to meet the deadline and faced difficulties in locating some of the parents and children.


In 2019, it was revealed that the family separation policy had actually begun in 2017, before the official announcement of the “zero tolerance” policy. It was also reported that the government had separated more than 5,500 children from their parents or guardians, and that hundreds of them had not been reunited as of 2020. The policy was criticized by several watchdog reports and congressional hearings, which found that it caused lasting trauma and harm to the children and violated human rights and ethical standards.



37. Failure to Condemn White Supremacy:


Throughout his presidency, Trump has been accused of failing to condemn white supremacy and other forms of extremism, and of using divisive and inflammatory rhetoric that appeals to racist and xenophobic sentiments. Trump has also been endorsed by several white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups, and has retweeted or shared content from such sources.


In 2017, after a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that resulted in the death of a counter-protester, Trump claimed that there were “very fine people on both sides” and blamed “both sides” for the violence. His remarks were widely condemned by political and civic leaders, and praised by white supremacists and neo-Nazis.


In 2020, during the first presidential debate, Trump refused to clearly and explicitly denounce white supremacists and militia groups, when asked by the moderator. Instead, he told the Proud Boys, a far-right group with ties to white nationalism and violence, to “stand back and stand by”. He also blamed the left-wing antifa movement for the unrest and violence in some US cities. His comments were criticized by many observers and politicians, and celebrated by the Proud Boys and other extremist groups.



38. Failure to Release Tax Returns:


Trump was the first president since the 1970s not to make public his tax returns, a stance that prompted legal challenges seeking to have them released.


Trump claimed that he could not release his returns because he was under audit by the IRS, but this was not a legal impediment and he did not provide any evidence of the audit.


Trump also argued that his tax returns were not relevant or informative, and that he had disclosed more important financial information in other forms.


In 2020, the New York Times obtained and published Trump’s tax records for more than two decades, revealing that he paid little or no federal income taxes in most years, claimed huge losses and deductions, faced a potential $100 million US refund clawback and had hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due.


In 2021, the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s last-ditch effort to shield his tax returns from a New York prosecutor who was investigating possible fraud and tax evasion by Trump and his businesses.

The House Ways and Means Committee also obtained six years of Trump’s tax returns from the IRS, after a long legal battle, and released them to the public in December 2021.



39. Firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions:


Trump fired Sessions in November 2018, after months of publicly criticizing him for recusing himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.


Trump blamed Sessions for allowing the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, who led the probe that cast a shadow over Trump’s presidency and resulted in several criminal charges and convictions of Trump’s associates.


Trump also accused Sessions of being weak and disloyal, and demanded that he investigate Trump’s political opponents, such as Hillary Clinton and the FBI.


Sessions, a former senator and an early supporter of Trump, defended his recusal as a matter of law and ethics, and said he was proud of his work at the Justice Department.


Trump’s firing of Sessions raised concerns about his interference in the Justice Department and his attempts to undermine the independence and integrity of the Mueller investigation.


Trump replaced Sessions with his chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, who had previously criticized the Mueller probe and suggested ways to limit its scope and funding13. Whitaker served as acting attorney general until February 2019, when William Barr was confirmed as the new attorney general. Barr was seen as more loyal and favorable to Trump, and faced criticism for his handling of the Mueller report and other matters.




40. Handling of COVID-19:


Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was widely criticized as insufficient, ineffective and misleading. He consistently downplayed the risks and severity of the disease, contradicted public health experts and guidelines, promoted unproven treatments and false information, and blamed China, the World Health Organization and others for the crisis.


Trump failed to prepare for and coordinate a national strategy to contain the virus, leaving states and localities to compete for scarce resources and implement their own measures. He also resisted imposing or supporting lockdowns, social distancing and mask wearing, and pressured states to reopen their economies and schools despite the surge of cases and deaths.


Trump politicized the pandemic and made it a divisive issue in the 2020 election. He attacked Democratic governors and mayors for their handling of the outbreak, accused them of inflating the numbers and exploiting the situation to hurt his chances of reelection, and encouraged protests against the restrictions in some states.


Trump also clashed with his own health officials and advisers, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force. Trump dismissed Fauci’s warnings and recommendations, undermined his credibility and authority, and suggested that he might fire him after the election.


Trump himself contracted COVID-19 in October 2020, after holding several rallies and events where he and his supporters did not follow the health protocols. He was hospitalized for three days and received experimental treatments and drugs. He claimed that he had recovered and was immune, and resumed his campaign activities without changing his behavior or message.


Trump’s handling of the pandemic was a major factor in his defeat in the 2020 election, as polls showed that most Americans disapproved of his performance and trusted his opponent, Joe Biden, more on the issue. Biden made the pandemic his central focus and contrasted his approach with Trump’s.



41. Handling of North Korea:


Trump’s approach to North Korea was marked by a series of unprecedented and unconventional summits with Kim Jong-un, the leader of the isolated and nuclear-armed regime. Trump claimed that he had averted a war and established a personal relationship with Kim that would lead to a historic deal on denuclearization and peace.


Trump’s first summit with Kim, in Singapore in June 2018, was the first ever meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader. The two leaders signed a vague and broad statement that committed to establishing new relations and working toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but did not provide any details or timelines.


Trump’s second summit with Kim, in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February 2019, ended abruptly and without an agreement, as the two sides failed to narrow their differences on the scope and sequence of denuclearization and sanctions relief. Trump said he walked away from the talks because Kim demanded the lifting of all sanctions in exchange for dismantling only one nuclear facility.


Trump’s third summit with Kim, at the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea in June 2019, was a brief and symbolic encounter that resulted from an impromptu invitation by Trump on Twitter. Trump became the first sitting US president to step into North Korea, and agreed with Kim to resume the stalled negotiations.


Critics argue that Trump’s summits with Kim lacked a clear strategy and a coherent policy, and that they gave legitimacy and concessions to Kim without securing any concrete and verifiable steps toward denuclearization. They also contend that Trump’s summits undermined the US alliance with South Korea and Japan, and ignored the human rights violations and abuses by the North Korean regime.



42. Handling of the Black Lives Matter Movement:


The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement is a social movement that advocates for racial justice and opposes police brutality against Black people. The movement gained prominence in 2014 after the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City, both at the hands of police officers.


President Donald Trump has been widely criticized for his handling of the BLM movement, especially in 2020, when protests erupted across the country following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Trump has repeatedly denounced the protesters as “thugs” and “anarchists” and threatened to use military force to quell the unrest. He has also blamed the movement for inciting violence and vandalism, while ignoring the grievances and demands of the protesters.


Trump has also clashed with local and state officials over their responses to the protests, accusing them of being weak and ineffective. He has pressured them to deploy the National Guard and to accept federal assistance, which some have rejected as unwanted and unnecessary. He has also deployed federal agents to several cities, such as Portland, Oregon, and Chicago, Illinois, to protect federal buildings and monuments, which has sparked controversy and lawsuits over their tactics and authority.


Trump has shown little sympathy or support for the BLM movement and its goals. He has dismissed the idea of systemic racism in America and defended the police as doing a “fantastic job”. He has also opposed the removal of Confederate statues and symbols, which many protesters see as symbols of racism and oppression. He has claimed that he has done more for the Black community than any president since Abraham Lincoln, citing his policies on criminal justice reform, economic opportunity, and school choice. However, many of his critics and opponents have challenged his record and accused him of inflaming racial tensions and dividing the nation.




43. Handling of the Economy During the COVID-19 Pandemic:


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a severe economic crisis in the United States and around the world. The pandemic has resulted in widespread lockdowns, business closures, job losses, and reduced consumer spending. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 31.4% in the second quarter of 2020, the largest quarterly decline on record. The unemployment rate peaked at 14.7% in April 2020, the highest level since the Great Depression.


President Donald Trump has faced mixed reviews for his handling of the economy during the pandemic. On one hand, he has touted the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2.2 trillion stimulus package that provided direct payments to individuals, loans and grants to businesses, expanded unemployment benefits, and funding for health care and state and local governments. He has also claimed credit for the economic recovery that began in the third quarter of 2020, when the GDP grew by .1%, the largest quarterly increase on record. He has argued that his policies of tax cuts, deregulation, and trade deals have created a strong economic foundation that will enable the U.S. to overcome the pandemic.


On the other hand, he has been criticized for his delayed and inconsistent response to the pandemic, which many experts say has worsened the health and economic outcomes. He has downplayed the severity and spread of the virus, contradicted the advice of public health officials, and promoted unproven and potentially dangerous treatments. He has also pressured states to reopen their economies prematurely, despite the risk of triggering new outbreaks and prolonging the crisis. He has resisted providing additional federal aid to states, localities, and individuals, claiming that it would create a disincentive to work and reward poorly managed states.


Trump has also blamed China for the pandemic, accusing it of covering up the origin and extent of the virus and failing to contain it. He has imposed tariffs and sanctions on China, and threatened to cut off trade and diplomatic relations. He has also criticized the World Health Organization (WHO) for being biased in favor of China and mishandling the global response. He has announced his intention to withdraw the U.S. from the WHO, a move that has been widely condemned by the international community and public health experts.



44. Handling of the Gulf Crisis:


The Gulf crisis refers to the diplomatic and economic rift that emerged in 2017 between Qatar and a coalition of four Arab states: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt. The coalition accused Qatar of supporting terrorism, interfering in their internal affairs, and maintaining close ties with Iran, their regional rival. They imposed a land, sea, and air blockade on Qatar, severing diplomatic and trade relations, and issued a list of 13 demands for Qatar to comply with in order to end the crisis. Qatar denied the allegations and rejected the demands, calling them an infringement on its sovereignty.


President Donald Trump has had a contradictory and inconsistent approach to the Gulf crisis, sending mixed signals to both sides and failing to resolve the dispute. On one hand, he initially sided with the coalition, echoing their accusations against Qatar and taking credit for their actions. He tweeted that Qatar was a "funder of terrorism at a very high level" and that his recent visit to Saudi Arabia was "already paying off". He also suggested that the blockade was "the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism".


On the other hand, he later softened his tone and offered to mediate between the parties, calling Qatar a "valued partner and longtime friend" and praising its efforts to combat terrorism. He also acknowledged the strategic importance of Qatar as a host of the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East, Al Udeid Air Base, which is home to about 10,000 U.S. troops and serves as a key hub for the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).


Trump’s flip-flopping on the Gulf crisis reflected the divisions and confusion within his administration, as well as the competing interests and influence of different actors in the region. While Trump initially aligned himself with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, and Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, adopted a more balanced and conciliatory stance, urging all sides to de-escalate tensions and engage in dialogue. Meanwhile, other countries, such as Kuwait, Oman, Turkey, and Iran, played various roles in supporting or mediating the crisis, complicating the U.S. involvement.


Trump’s handling of the Gulf crisis has been widely criticized for being ineffective, contradictory, and damaging to the U.S. interests and credibility in the region. His initial endorsement of the blockade against Qatar undermined the U.S. relationship with a key ally and jeopardized the U.S. military operations and counterterrorism efforts in the region. His subsequent attempts to broker a deal were unsuccessful, as he failed to leverage his personal ties with the leaders of both sides and to address the underlying causes and grievances of the conflict. His lack of a clear and consistent policy also exposed the U.S. disunity and weakness, and emboldened the regional rivals and adversaries, such as Iran, Turkey, and Russia, to fill the vacuum and expand their influence.




45. Handling of the Iraq Withdrawal:


President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in 2017, as part of his campaign promise to end the U.S. involvement in the Middle East. He claimed that the U.S. had “defeated 100% of the ISIS Caliphate” and that Iraq was “a sovereign nation that can defend itself”. However, his withdrawal plan faced several challenges and criticisms, both at home and abroad, for its potential impact on regional stability.


One of the main challenges was the resistance from the U.S. military and intelligence officials, who warned that a hasty and complete withdrawal would jeopardize the gains made against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and create a power vacuum that could be exploited by Iran and other actors. They also argued that the U.S. presence in Iraq was vital for the U.S. national security interests and regional stability, as well as for the support of the Iraqi security forces and the Kurdish allies.


Another challenge was the opposition from the Iraqi government and the public, who feared that the U.S. withdrawal would leave them vulnerable to the threats from ISIL, Iran, and Turkey. The Iraqi parliament passed a non-binding resolution in January 2020, calling for the expulsion of all foreign troops from Iraq, following the U.S. assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad. The U.S. and Iraq then entered into a strategic dialogue to negotiate the terms and conditions of the U.S. troop reduction and the future of the bilateral relationship.


A third challenge was the coordination with the NATO allies and the regional partners, who also had troops and interests in Iraq. The U.S. withdrawal raised concerns about the fate of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIL and the role of the NATO mission to train the Iraqi forces. In February 2021, NATO announced that it would expand its mission in Iraq from 500 to 4,000 personnel, to help fill the gap left by the U.S. withdrawal and to support the Iraqi government in its fight against terrorism.


Trump’s handling of the Iraq withdrawal was widely criticized for being impulsive, inconsistent, and damaging to the U.S. credibility and influence in the region. His decision was seen as a betrayal of the Kurdish allies, who had fought alongside the U.S. against ISIL and faced the risk of Turkish invasion in northern Syria and Iraq. His decision was also seen as a concession to Iran, which had increased its presence and influence in Iraq and the region, and had launched several attacks on the U.S. and coalition forces and facilities. His decision was also seen as a disregard for the humanitarian and security situation in Iraq, which remained fragile and volatile amid the ongoing insurgency, sectarian violence, political unrest, and economic crisis.



46. Handling of the U.S. Postal Service:


President Donald Trump faced accusations of undermining the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and interfering with the mail-in voting process during the 2020 presidential election. He repeatedly attacked the USPS, calling it a joke, and opposed the Democratic proposals to provide additional funding and support for the agency, which was struggling with financial and operational challenges amid the coronavirus pandemic. He also claimed, without evidence, that mail-in voting would lead to widespread voter fraud and benefit the Democrats.


Trump’s appointee, Louis DeJoy, who became the postmaster general in June 2020, implemented a series of controversial changes in the USPS, such as reducing overtime, removing mail sorting machines and collection boxes, and delaying mail delivery. These changes caused significant delays and disruptions in the mail service, affecting millions of Americans who relied on the USPS for their medications, bills, checks, and other essential items. These changes also raised concerns about the ability of the USPS to handle the expected surge of mail-in ballots for the election, which many voters chose to use due to the health risks of in-person voting.


Trump’s actions and DeJoy’s changes sparked a public outcry and a congressional investigation, as well as several lawsuits from state attorneys general and civil rights groups. In response to the pressure and scrutiny, DeJoy announced in August 2020 that he would suspend some of the changes until after the election, and pledged to ensure the timely delivery of the mail-in ballots. However, he did not reverse the changes that had already been made, and refused to restore the removed equipment.


Trump’s handling of the USPS was widely criticized for being an attempt to sabotage the postal system and suppress the mail-in voting, which could have affected the outcome of the election. His actions were seen as a violation of the public trust and the constitutional right to vote, as well as a threat to the democracy and the rule of law. His actions were also seen as a disregard for the vital role and the popular support of the USPS, which is one of the oldest and most trusted institutions in the country, and which provides essential services to millions of Americans, especially in rural and underserved areas.




47. Handling of Turkey:


President Donald Trump had a contradictory and inconsistent approach to Turkey, a NATO ally and a regional power, which often clashed with the U.S. interests and values in the Middle East. He maintained a personal and cordial relationship with the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who he praised as a friend and a leader, and who he frequently consulted and accommodated on various issues. However, he also faced criticism and opposition from the U.S. Congress, the Pentagon, and the State Department, who viewed Turkey as an authoritarian and aggressive actor, and who urged Trump to confront and sanction Turkey for its actions and policies.


One of the main issues that strained the U.S.-Turkey relationship was Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system, which the U.S. considered a threat to the NATO security and a violation of the U.S. sanctions on Russia. The U.S. responded by suspending Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program, and imposing sanctions on Turkey’s defense industry in December 2020. However, Trump resisted imposing harsher sanctions on Turkey, and sought to persuade Erdogan to cancel or limit the deal with Russia.


Another major issue that caused tension between the U.S. and Turkey was Turkey’s military intervention in Syria, where it targeted the Kurdish forces that were allied with the U.S. in the fight against ISIL. In October 2019, Trump abruptly announced his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, after a phone call with Erdogan, who then launched a cross-border offensive against the Kurds. Trump’s decision was widely condemned as a betrayal of the Kurdish allies, who had suffered heavy casualties and displacement, and as a boon to the adversaries, such as ISIL, Iran, and Russia, who gained more influence and control in the region. Trump later imposed sanctions on Turkey and brokered a ceasefire deal, but he also defended his decision and praised Erdogan for his cooperation.


Trump’s handling of Turkey was widely criticized for being ineffective, contradictory, and damaging to the U.S. interests and credibility in the region. His decision to withdraw from Syria was seen as a reckless and irresponsible move that endangered the U.S. allies and the regional stability, and that undermined the U.S. leadership and leverage in the world. His decision to delay and limit the sanctions on Turkey was seen as a weak and appeasing gesture that emboldened Erdogan and encouraged his defiance and aggression. His decision to maintain a close and personal relationship with Erdogan was seen as a misguided and problematic strategy that ignored the human rights violations and the democratic backsliding in Turkey, and that alienated the U.S. partners and the Turkish opposition.




 

Don’t let the Trump-Abyss Drag You Down!


Trump-Abyss is a blog that reveals the harmful truth of Donald Trump. His actions have undermined democratic principles, provoked unrest, and disseminated false information. He has brought us perilously close to a nuclear conflict, estranged friendly nations, and strengthened adversaries. His conduct has demonstrated a profound disregard for the welfare of society and the principles of justice.


Share the Trump-Abyss blog with your friends, and family, and on social media platforms. The more people are aware of the dangers of a Trump’s presidency, the more they can take action to prevent or mitigate them. Together, we can defend our democracy and our planet from the Trump-Abyss. You have the power to stand up for what is right and fight for a better future. Whether you choose to vote, protest, donate, or educate, you are making a difference in the world.




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