Donald Trump’s presidency will soon come to an end, and his time in the White House will almost certainly be best remembered for the chaos and controversy caused by his oft-criticized choices on everything from immigration to the coronavirus pandemic.
The president’s habit of making off-the-cuff comments and split-second decisions – either over Twitter or on the White House south lawn – has repeatedly moved markets and sent his senior staffers scrambling to explain the firing of yet another cabinet secretary.
These moments have often sparked widespread alarm, such as when Trump incorrectly suggested Americans could protect themselves from coronavirus by ingesting disinfectants.
But some of those Trumpian moments have been so obviously ridiculous that Americans had no choice but simply to laugh.
Here are 10 purely comedic moments from the Trump presidency:
1. When Trump stared at the solar eclipse. Way back in August 2017, Americans across the country stopped in their tracks to view the rare total solar eclipse. In the days before the celestial event, ophthalmologists turned to every possible news outlet to share this urgent warning: do not stare at the sun without protective eyewear. But those dozens of warnings did not stop one man, our commander-in-chief, from doing just that.
2. When Trump came up with “covfefe”. The Trump era has been marked by the introduction of a number of new words and phrases, such as “fake news”, “alternative facts”, “bigly” or, as he argued, “big league”. But arguably the most nonsensical of all is “covfefe”, the made-up word that Trump included in a 2017 tweet complaining about news coverage of his administration. “Despite the negative press covfefe,” Trump wrote in the incomplete tweet. The president quickly deleted the tweet, but the word had already spawned thousands of Twitter jokes.
3. When Trump yelled at a boy mowing the White House lawn and became a meme. It all began with a letter to the White House. Frank Giaccio, a 10-year-old from Virginia, said in his letter to Trump that he had started his own lawn-mowing business and wanted to make the White House one of his clients. In September 2017, Giaccio got his wish.
As Giaccio mowed the White House lawn, the president stepped out to commend him for his entrepreneurial spirit, apparently trying to shout over the sound of the lawnmower. The resulting photo sparked a meme that was deployed for every major controversy over the rest of Trump’s presidency.
4. When Trump and two other world leaders stood around a glowing orb. Trump’s 2017 trip to Saudi Arabia gave the world one of the most enduring images from his presidency. While visiting an anti-extremist center in Riyadh, Trump, King Salman and the Egyptian president, Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, placed their hands on a glowing orb. The resulting photos of the three leaders standing around a lit sphere, looking as if they were planning global destruction, prompted a widespread reaction of, “Wait, what?”
5. When Anthony Scaramucci was fired after 11 days as White House communications director. The rapid rise and fall of “the Mooch” across 11 days in 2017 was an early indication of the chaos that would define Trump’s staffing strategy. Scaramucci was let go after a foul-mouthed tirade to the New Yorker, including referring to the then chief of staff, Reince Priebus, as “a fucking paranoid schizophrenic”.
The communications director was pushed out by the newly installed chief of staff, John Kelly, who was also dismissed a little over a year later. After his short White House stint, Scaramucci became a fierce critic of the president and took to using the short length of his tenure as a measurement of time.
6. When Trump waxed poetic about a steelworker’s late father, who was very much alive. During a 2018 event at the White House, Scott Sauritch, the president of a steelworkers union in Pennsylvania, thanked Trump for imposing tariffs on steel imports. Sauritch noted his father, Herman, lost his job because of steel imports.
The president told Sauritch, “Well, your father Herman is looking down. He’s very proud of you right…