Yesterday, Donald Trump officially announced his candidacy for President of the United States, a sentence that is either the funniest or most chilling thing I’ve ever typed. (Although, as Salon’s Jim Newell points out, he’s not actually running yet.) And when he made that announcement, he entered to the sounds of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.” The notion of an oligarch like Trump reappropriating such a song is comical enough, but come to find out — and seriously, will they ever learn — Mr. Young wasn’t wild about Trump using it, and made his displeasure known. Such a stumble might slow down some candidates, but not Trump; why, if you made a list of the dumbest things Trump’s ever done, this wouldn’t even make the cut. And how do I know? Because I just made such a list.
1. “We need people that win. We don’t need people that lose all the time,” Trump told a Florida crowd in 2011, when he didn’t run for president. “I’ve beaten many people and companies, and I’ve won many wars. I … earned many, many billions of dollars. It’s both a scorecard and an acknowledgment of certain abilities.” Time and again, throughout his period of inexplicable celebrity, Trump has never missed an opportunity to boast about his massive success and business acumen. Which is why it’s worth mentioning that he’s declared bankruptcy four times.
2. Also, remember during that same almost-campaign, when Trump started talking about President Obama’s grades — “I heard he was a terrible student, terrible. How does a bad student go to Columbia and then to Harvard?” — and all the racists’ ears perked up at the “affirmative action” dog whistle? Good times.
3. Around the same time, Trump aligned himself with the right’s lunatic fringe by insisting President Obama wasn’t born in this country, and promised to unleash the campaign-changing results of his massive investigation into the birth certificate business, so President Obama was finally just like, “Eh, here’s my long-form birth certificate, now STFU already.” Less remembered: the state Health Director of Hawaii who authorized the release of that birth certificate died in a plane crash a couple of years later, and Trump went on Twitter to expose this giant conspiracy.
4. “According to Bill O’Reilly,” Trump tweeted in 2013, though seriously you could stop right there, “80% of all the shootings in New York City are blacks — if you add Hispanics, that figure goes to 98%. 1% white.”
5. When people started wondering if there was maybe something a little bit consistently racist about his views and tweets and general existence, Trump insisted, “I have a great relationship with the blacks. I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks.” Yes, he actually said, “the blacks.” (Less noted: a 1970s battle with the DOJ over discriminatory rental practices in Trump’s properties, in which, according to the New York Times, the government alleged that his company “discriminated against blacks in the terms and conditions of rental, made statements indicating discrimination based on race and told blacks that apartments were not available for inspection and rental when, in fact, they are.”)
6. As you may recall, in spite of Trump’s powerful rhetoric and investigative prowess, President Obama somehow still won the 2012 election. Donald Trump did not take it well!
7. Like many of his Republican brethren, Trump’s total ignorance about medicine and science hasn’t stopped him from offering up all sorts of awesome, well-informed opinions about those fields. Take, for example, climate change. Did you know that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive?” True fact, according to Donald Trump, who also notes, “Any and all weather events are used by the GLOBAL WARMING HOAXSTERS to justify higher taxes to save our planet! They don’t believe it $$$$!”
8. Would it surprise you to learn that Trump is also an anti-vaxxer? No? Me neither! Not only that, he’s proud of his work to raise awareness of this totally discredited junk science: “So many people who have children with autism have thanked me — amazing response. They know far better than fudged up reports!”
9. Trump has claimed for a while now that he has a giant, secret, brilliant, foolproof plan to stop ISIS dead in its tracks, but he’s not gonna tell us what it is unless he gets elected, a year and a half from now. Why’s that, Trumpy? “Because I don’t want to, Greta,” he told Greta Van Susetren, with all the maturity and insight of a 12-year-old having a temper tantrum. “I don’t want the enemy to know what I’m doing. Unfortunately, I’ll probably have to tell at some point, but there is a method of defeating them quickly and effectively and having total victory.”
10. Let’s end this with a personal favorite: Back in April, Trump tweeted, “The best social program, by far, is a JOB! Our jobs are being taken away from us by China and many other countries — incompetent leader.” To which Twitter hero Joe Hufford @-replied, with photographic evidence, that the Donald J. Trump “Signature Collection” clothing line “is made in China. Care to comment?” And for once, Donald Trump didn’t have anything to say.