American Culture

Horrible things said and done by Donald and his Administration – May 2018

Attacking the rule of law. Authoritarianism. Supporting or justifying crimes against humanity committed by the US or its allies. These were the low points in the chronicle of Donald’s disgusting behavior in May, 2018.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sought to shift the blame back to Ukraine (Photo: Remy Steinegger / Flickr)

For other episodes in this ongoing series, please click here.

To review the raw data in Google Sheets, click here.

Last month, I documented 105 unique instances of Donald, his Administration, and his key supporters doing appalling things. This was down from 129 in April and about the same as January and February. I think this low number is mostly because Google News changed their system and all my old saved searches were reset (or purged entirely) in the process. Still, May’s instances brought the total since last July to just over 1300 examples of appalling behavior.

Of my 51 tracked categories, three were of special interest. Donald spent a great deal of time attacking the rule of law, especially the Mueller investigation. Partly as a result of his ongoing attacks on Mueller, there were a lot of examples of authoritarianism as well. And for the first time (but likely not the last), there were a significant number of instances calling for or justifying crimes against humanity.

May saw a new peak in the percentage of instances where Donald et al attacked the rule of law – 23.8%. However, while the percentage was the highest, the total number of instances was in fourth place. Of those 25 unique items, several were worse than the others. For example, the Administration ordered shelters to direct pregnant teen refugees and undocumented immigrants to anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy centers” that are known to lie about abortion and otherwise try and coerce women not to have an abortion. Donald has called for what is essentially the suspension of a number of legal protections guaranteed in the US Constitution for gang members who are also undocumented immigrants (never mind the fact he called many of them “animals,” using language that echoes of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany).

But it’s Donald’s repeated attacks on Mueller’s Russia investigation that are the most concerning. Donald said that he might try to force the Department of Justice to release unredacted documents relating to the Russia investigation to his political allies in the House of Representatives – documents that he himself has not been allowed to review due to federal law. Donald’s latest lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, strongly implied that Donald would try to fire Mueller if the Russia investigation wasn’t wrapped up by September. And Donald himself claimed – without evidence – that Mueller was going to try interfere with the midterms in November.

Martha Stewart, Rod Blagojevich, and Dinesh D’Souza (Image Credit: NBC News)

Donald’s attacks on Mueller’s Russia investigation went beyond attacking the rule of law, however, and into the realm of authoritarianism. Donald pardoned Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative pundit who had pled guilty to breaking campaign finance rules. Donald also indicated that he might commute corrupt former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and pardon Martha Stewart. These announcements were clearly intended to send a message to Mueller and the various targets of the investigation that Donald was willing to pardon anyone who was convicted of a federal crime for helping him get elected.

Other examples of authoritarianism include how the EPA tried to keep Scott Pruitt out of the public eye, how the White House refused to apologize for an aide’s attack on John McCain, how Donald ordered an investigation into whether automobile imports should be subject to tariffs based on a clearly bogus “national security” claim, and how Vice President Pence praised Joe Arpaio, the racist former Arizona sheriff who was pardoned for contempt of court and is now running for the Senate seat being vacated by Jeff Flake.

Arpaio’s treatment of undocumented migrants in Arizona when he was sheriff was so poor that an argument could be made that he’s guilty of crimes against humanity, per the UN definition. But the new Department of Homeland Security policy of separating children from their parents when the parents request asylum definitely does, especially given that the parents are accused of smuggling their own children, making the parents criminals and thus ineligible for asylum. Donald went out of his way to defend his new CIA chief Gina Haspel, a woman who oversaw extraordinary rendition and torture at CIA black sites. And Donald blamed all the violence occuring when the US moved its embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Hamas and the Palestinians, instead of pointing out that Israel may have overreacted. Overall, crimes against humanity featured in 4.8% of the instances I documented. This may only be five examples, but the previous high was two examples.

Summary
In the month of May, 2018, I identified 105 unique items that met one or more of my 51 categories (see below for a complete list).

Date Link Categories
5/1/18 2 EPA aides leave amid Pruitt controversies anti-science, no business ethics
5/1/18 ‘So disgraceful’: Trump lashes out at publication of special counsel questions attacking the rule of law, attacking the media, propaganda, lying
5/2/18 A ‘champion of … the rule of law’: Mike Pence praises pardoned former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio racism, police militarization, authoritarianism, race baiting, white male privilege, immigrant-hating, dehumanizing the “other”
5/2/18 Secretary Of State Pompeo Promises New ‘Swagger’ At State Department Swearing-In narcissism, hypocrisy, jingoism
5/2/18 Trump suggests he may intervene in DOJ release of Mueller probe documents hypocrisy, authoritarianism, attacking the rule of law
5/2/18 Donald Trump claims Robert Mueller probe is interfering with his presidential duties attacking the rule of law, authoritarianism, propagandist
5/3/18 Rudy Giuliani’s revealing interview with Sean Hannity, annotated propaganda, attacking the rule of law, authoritarianism, demagoguery, anti-intellectual, hypocrisy, misogyny, Putin/Russa-loving, white male privilege, lying
5/3/18 Trump changes his story about Stormy Daniels adultery, lying, authoritarianism, white male privilege, attacking the rule of law
5/3/18 The Trump Administration Is Set to Name a Former Oil Spokesman Head of a Regional EPA Office anti-environmentalism, polluted air, misogyny, jingoism, immigrant-hating
5/4/18 Trump Pledged To Take On The NRA, Now He’s Speaking At Group’s Annual Convention hypocrisy
5/4/18 2 top Comey advisers resign from FBI attacking the rule of law, authoritarianism
5/4/18 Trump Administration Ends Temporary Protected Status For Hondurans authoritarianism, immigrant-hating, racism, social Darwinism, splitting up immigrant families
5/4/18 At NRA event, Trump embraces its agenda in campaign-style speech hypocrisy, propagandist, demagoguery, school shootings, anti-science, anti-intellectual, jingoism, attacking the media, economic ignorance, white male privilege, Putin/Russia-loving, attacking the rule of law, immigrant hating, racism, race baiting, social Darwinism
5/6/18 Giuliani Says Trump Would Not Have to Comply With Mueller Subpoena authoritarianism, hypocrisy
5/6/18 Trump floats ‘closing up the country for a while’ over border security authoritarianism, demagoguery, immigrant-hating, splitting up immigrant families, anti-intellectual
5/7/18 Trump’s GOP ‘warriors’ lead charge against Mueller attacking the rule of law, authoritarianism, anti-intellectual
5/7/18 Trump blasts Blankenship ahead of W.Va. GOP Senate primary hypocrisy, no business ethics, white male privilege
5/7/18 White House Leans Into Mueller Attacks Betting On Favorable Landscape With Supporters attacking the rule of law, authoritarianism, propagandist, lying, demagoguery
5/7/18 Trump defends CIA pick Haspel: ‘Democrats want out because she is too tough on terror’ attacking the rule of law, authoritarianism, demagoguery, jingoism, crimes against humanity, islamophobia, racism, dehumanizing the “other”
5/7/18 New DHS policy could separate families caught crossing the border illegally immigrant-hating, splitting up immigrant families, social Darwinism, racism, authoritarianism, equal protection under the law, crimes against humanity
5/7/18 Trump Administration Orders Refugee Shelters to Direct Pregnant Teens to Anti-Abortion Clinics abortion restrictions, racism, misogyny, social Darwinism, immigrant-hating, churches back into politics, attacking the rule of law, equal protection under the law, lying, anti-science
5/7/18 E.P.A. Emails Show an Effort to Shield Pruitt From Public Scrutiny hypocrisy, lying, attacking the media, authoritarianism
5/8/18 Trump administration sends rescissions package to Congress hypocrisy, strip medical insurance, propagandist
5/8/18 Trump withdraws from Iran nuclear deal, isolating him further from world nuclear proliferation, jingoism, Islamophobia, anti-intellectual, lying, propagandist
5/8/18 Trump Administration Wants to Train Teens in ‘Hazardous’ Jobs attacking the rule of law, authoritarianism, no business ethics, social Darwinism, anti-science, restricting civil liberties
5/8/18 These Families Of Parkland Shooting Victims Are Still Waiting To Hear From Trump authoritarianism, hypocrisy, belittling people
5/9/18 China’s ZTE says main business operations cease due to U.S. ban nuclear proliferation, China-hating, jingoism, authoritarianism
5/9/18 Trump Administration Wants To Cut Federal Retirement Benefits And Freeze Salaries hypocrisy, lying, no business ethics, social Darwinism
5/9/18 Trump Administration Ordered Mass Deportations Despite Warnings From Senior U.S. Diplomats: Report authoritarianism, splitting up immigrant families, racism, social Darwinism, immigrant-hating, anti-intellectual
5/9/18 White House Correspondents’ Association rebukes Trump over tweet on press credentials authoritarianism, attacking the media, demagoguery
5/10/18 The Trump Administration Just Jeopardized The World’s Ability to Measure Carbon Emissions lying, anti-environmentalism, anti-science, climate change denial
5/10/18 Trump Administration Shuts Consumer Agency’s Student Loan Arm anti-education, no business ethics, equal protection under the law, social Darwinism
5/10/18 Trump blew up at homeland security chief over border security belittling people, authoritarianism
5/11/18 McCain Irrelevant, ‘He’s Dying Anyway,’ White House Official Reportedly Says belittling people, lying
5/11/18 Transcript: White House Chief Of Staff John Kelly’s Interview With NPR attacking the media, lying, demagoguery, nuclear proliferation, hypocrisy, immigrant-hating
5/11/18 Trump Promises Lower Drug Prices, but Drops Populist Solutions economic ignorance, demagoguery, propagandist, equal protection under the law
5/11/18 The Trump Administration Considers an Old Friend: Ken Kurson no business ethics, sexual harassment
5/12/18 Trump Administration Rolls Back Protections For Transgender Prison Inmates transphobia, authoritarianism
5/13/18 Europeans Should Have Known Trump Would Abandon Iran Deal, Bolton Says jingoism
5/14/18 Paris attack: Donald Trump wants nations to change their mindset on terror Islamophobia
5/14/18 Trump officials feared PR ‘nightmare’ from drinking water standards anti-environmentalism, anti-science, authoritarianism, polluted water
5/14/18 Following Trump’s Lead, White House Will Not Apologize for McCain ‘Dying’ Remark authoritarianism, belittling people
5/14/18 Trump administration exclusively blames Hamas after Israeli soldiers kill dozens of Palestinians Islamophobia, propagandist, crimes against humanity
5/14/18 55 Gaza protesters die as Israel and the Trump administration fete the Jerusalem embassy Islamophobia, narcissism, hypocrisy, authoritarianism, demagoguery, propagandist
5/15/18 At National Peace Officers’ memorial service, Trump calls for death penalty for cop killers propagandist, demagoguery, authoritarianism, equal protection under the law
5/15/18 Trump vs. the “Deep State” fascism, authoritarianism, anti-intellectual, lying, belittling people, propagandist, anti-science
5/15/18 Trump administration preparing to hold migrant children on military bases splitting up immigrant families, immigrant-hating, fascism, restricting civil liberties, restricting civil liberties
5/15/18 White House eliminates top cyber adviser post authoritarianism, anti-intellectual, hypocrisy, lying, Putin/Russia-loving, propaganda
5/16/18 Trump discloses his reimbursement to lawyer for settlement with porn star Stormy Daniels no business ethics, adultery, lying, authoritarianism, white male privilege
5/16/18 Trump on immigrant gang members: ‘These aren’t people,’ they’re ‘animals’ dehumanizing the “other,” immigrant-hating, racism, race-baiting, demagoguery, authoritarianism, attacking the rule of law
5/16/18 DeVos: State Bans on Public Money to Religious Schools Should Go To ‘Ash Heap of History’ anti-education, churches back into politics, restricting civil liberties, social Darwinism
5/17/18 ‘Bigger than Watergate’: Trump joins push by allies to expose role of an FBI source narcissism, attacking the media, authoritarianism, propagandist, demagoguery
5/17/18 Trump targets Planned Parenthood, family planning services with new abortion rule abortion restrictions, social Darwinism, racism, strip medical insurance, misogyny
5/17/18 The Trump Administration’s Dangerous Assault on Our Words anti-intellectual, authoritarianism, fascism
5/17/18 Trump Defends ‘Animals’ Remark, Saying It Referred to MS-13 Gang Members dehumanizing the “other,”, racism, immigrant-hating
5/17/18 An Equifax and Facebook Lawyer Will Now Run the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection no business ethics
5/19/18 Trump responds to new FBI informant reports narcissism, attacking the media, authoritarianism, propagandist, demagoguery
5/20/18 Trump demands Justice Department examine whether it or FBI spied on campaign attacking the rule of law, demagoguery, propagandist, fascism
5/20/18 Trump Vents About ‘$20 Million Witch Hunt’ After Gulf-Ties Story authoritarianism, narcissism, demagoguery, propagandist, lying, hypocrisy
5/20/18 Justice Department calls for inquiry after Trump demands probe into whether FBI ‘infiltrated or surveilled’ his campaign fascism, hypocrisy, attacking the rule of law, demagoguery, propagandist
5/21/18 Border Patrol Detained Two U.S. Citizens For ‘Speaking Spanish’ at Gas Station racism, white supremacy, immigrant-hating, police state
5/21/18 Supreme Court Decision Delivers Blow To Workers’ Rights restricting civil liberties, social Darwinism
5/21/18 RNC pays half-million dollars to firm representing Hope Hicks in Mueller probe no business ethics
5/21/18 Pompeo threatens US will ‘crush’ Iran through sanctions and pressure campaign jingoism, propaganda, lying, authoritarianism, NATO-hating
5/21/18 US-China trade agreements are ‘face-saving’ and ‘lose-lose,’ says Moody’s chief economist China-hating, hypocrisy, lying, propagandist, demagoguery, economic ignorance
5/21/18 Sarah Sanders: ‘Democrats are losing their war against women in the Trump administration’ lying, crimes against humanity, propagandist
5/21/18 CIA Director Gina Haspel sworn in as Trump blasts Obama’s CIA director as a ‘disgrace’ propagandist, anti-intellectual, authoritarianism, crimes against humanity, fascism
5/21/18 Trump administration sued for not releasing FBI morale survey results authoritarianism
5/21/18 ‘Too inconvenient’: Trump goes rogue on phone security authoritarianism, narcissism
5/21/18 Trump Administration Joins Fossil Fuel Companies in Climate Fight Against Cities anti-environmentalism, polluted air, climate change denial, authoritarianism, social Darwinism
5/22/18 Pruitt bars AP, CNN from EPA summit on contaminants, guards push reporter out of building authoritarianism, attacking the media
5/22/18 DHS secretary pushes back on assessment that Russia meddled to help Trump anti-intellectual, lying
5/22/18 Interior Dept. moves to lift rules on hunting bears and wolves in Alaska anti-science, anti-environmentalism, authoritarianism, white male privilege
5/22/18 With Word And Deed, Trump Rallies Abortion Rights Opponents In Midterms abortion restrictions, churches back into politics, authoritarianism, narcissism, misogyny
5/22/18 Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says federal school safety commission will issue ‘best practices’ by year’s end school shootings, anti-intellectual, authoritarianism, anti-science
5/23/18 US launches investigation into automobile imports on a ‘national security’ basis economic ignorance, authoritarianism, anti-intellectual, propagandist
5/23/18 Kushner gets permanent security clearance after more than a year delay white male privilege, hypocrisy
5/24/18 Trump cancels Singapore nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un narcissism, hypocrisy, nuclear proliferation, propagandist, authoritarianism
5/24/18 Trump on NFL protesters: ‘Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country’ jingoism, racism, white supremacy, fascism, demagoguery
5/24/18 Trump tweets James Clapper admitted to spying on his presidential campaign. He didn’t. lying, propaganda, narcissism, attacking the rule of law, authoritarianism, demagoguery
5/24/18 Trump administration nominates immigration hard-liner for migration post at State Department immigrant-hating, belittling people, xenophobia
5/24/18 Trump Lawyer Attended DOJ Meeting On Confidential FBI Informant fascism
5/25/18 Trump administration scraps housing segregation rule racism, social Darwinism, attacking the rule of law
5/25/18 Trump again pushes claim FBI informant planted for political purposes lying, propagandist, demagoguery, attacking the rule of law, authoritarianism, anti-intellectual
5/25/18 Trump Administration Plans to Revive ZTE, Prompting Backlash attacking the rule of law, no business ethics, narcissism, authoritarianism, propagandist
5/25/18 Read President Trump’s U.S. Naval Academy Commencement Address narcissism, jingoism, authoritarianism, demagoguery, lying
5/25/18 Trump issues orders to reduce restrictions on firing federal workers authoritarianism, restricting civil liberties
5/26/18 US lost track of 1,500 immigrant children, but says it’s not ‘legally responsible’ social Darwinism, splitting up immigrant families, immigrant-hating
5/26/18 The curious case of the White House official Trump says ‘doesn’t exist’ Propagandist, lying, attacking the media
5/29/18 Trump says, without proof, that Mueller team will meddle in midterm elections propaganda, lying, demagoguery, attacking the rule of law
5/29/18 Trump breaks trade cease-fire with China ahead of Ross visit to Beijing China-hating, economic ignorance, hypocrisy, authoritarianism
5/29/18 Pompeo vows US will ‘not stand by as spectators’ on abuses of religious freedom hypocrisy, churches back into politics, anti-intellectual
5/30/18 President Trump reportedly asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse his decision to recuse himself from Russia probe hypocrisy, Russia/Putin-loving, authoritarianism, attacking the rule of law
5/30/18 Trump goes after ‘Chuck & Nancy,’ blasts MS-13 ‘animals’ at Nashville rally dehumanizing the Other, belittling people, misogyny, lying, propaganda, demagoguery, racism, race baiting, immigrant-hating, equal protection under the law
5/30/18 Trump’s regulators deliver new victory for banks no business ethics, economic ignorance
5/30/18 McCabe memo: Trump asked Rosenstein to mention Russia in Comey firing authoritarianism, Putin/Russia-loving, attacking the rule of law, hypocrisy, lying
5/31/18 Trump hits allies with metal tariffs; Mexico, EU and Canada vow to retaliate economic ignorance, authoritarianism, NATO-hating, anti-intellectual, narcissism, jingoism
5/31/18 Trump will pardon conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza, who was convicted of campaign finance violation authoritarianism, demagoguery, attacking the rule of law
5/31/18 ‘You can’t win this one’: What President Trump told Jerry Jones in private about player protests authoritarianism, racism, police brutality, restricting civil liberties
5/31/18 Trump floats commutation for Blagojevich, pardon for Martha Stewart narcissism, no business ethics, authoritarianism, attacking the rule of law, equal protection under the law
5/31/18 White House stonewalling government watchdog, agency says authoritarianism
5/31/18 Justin Trudeau Says There Was Almost a NAFTA Deal. Then Mike Pence Called Him With an Insane Demand. authoritarianism, economic ignorance
5/31/18 With Legislation Stalled, DeVos Moves to Wield Deregulatory Power anti-education, social Darwinism, authoritarianism
5/31/18 Trump Prepares Lifeline for Money-Losing Coal Plants authoritarianism, propaganda, anti-environmentalism, no business ethics, economic ignorance
5/31/18 Rudy Giuliani Says Robert Mueller Will Be ‘Doing a Comey’ If He Doesn’t End Russia Probe by September attacking the rule of law, authoritarianism

Horrible categories

Personal morality

  • Adultery
  • Hypocrisy
  • Lying
  • Mocking the disabled (or, more broadly, belittling people)
  • Narcissism
  • Rape
  • Sexual assault (and sexusal harassment)

Miscellaneous bigotry

  • Anti-gay marriage
  • Anti-Semitism
  • Homophobia (and transphobia)
  • Immigrant-hating
  • Islamophobia
  • Misogyny
  • Race baiting
  • Racism
  • Social Darwinism
  • Splitting up immigrant families
  • White male privilege
  • White supremacy
  • Xenophobia (or more broadly, Dehumanizing the Other)

Economic and educational views

  • Anti-Common Core (or more broadly, anti-education)
  • Failed businessman (or more broadly, ignorance about how the economy actually works)
  • Not honoring contracts (or more broadly, unethical behavior)
  • Trickle-down economics/lower taxes on the rich

Anti-scientific views

  • Anti-environmentalism
  • Anti-intellectual
  • Anti-science
  • Anti-vaccination
  • Climate change denial
  • Polluted air (or more broadly, polluted air and water)
  • Rejects GMO foods

Social Policy

  • Abortion restrictions
  • Authoritarianism
  • Churches back into politics
  • Demagoguery
  • Police militarization (or more broadly, police brutality)
  • Propagandist
  • School shootings (or more broadly, mass shootings)
  • Strip medical insurance

Anti-civil rights

  • Against fair trials (or more broadly, attacking the rule of law)
  • Easing lawsuits against the media for libel (or more broadly, attacking the media)
  • Eliminating birthright citizenship and equal protection under the law
  • Restricting civil liberties (especially voting restrictions)

Foreign policy and nationalism

  • China-hating
  • Crimes against humanity
  • Fascism
  • Jingoism
  • NATO-hating (or more broadly, attacking our allies)
  • Nuclear proliferation
  • Putin/Russia-loving

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