President Donald Trump’s second year in office is coming to a close, and what a year it’s been.
Amid all the major obstacles Trump faced this year ― the Russia investigation heating up, Brett Kavanaugh’s controversial confirmation to the Supreme Court, Michael Cohen’s sentencing, to name a few ― there were many little things that likely got his blood boiling.
These burns and humiliations may seem minor, especially for a man with one of the most ostensibly demanding jobs in the world. But add to that equation Trump’s notoriously volatile temper, and you’ve got yourself a perfect storm.
Those ‘Tell-All’ Books
Trump’s 2018 kicked off with an explosive book about the inner workings of his administration and his personal life, and the tell-alls didn’t slow down from there.
The January release of journalist Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury was full of high-stakes bombshells, including allegations that Trump’s closest confidantes were leaking to the press and that he was relying on his son-in-law Jared Kushner to deal with investigations into his campaign’s relationship with Russia. It was also full of embarrassing assertions about the president’s private life: that his mysterious hairdo is the result of a scalp reduction surgery, that he eats so much McDonald’s because he’s worried about being poisoned and that he’s only “semi-literate.”
Many more tell-alls followed, including a book from adult film star Stormy Daniels ― who outlined the salacious details of her alleged affair with Trump and made her now-infamous remark about his penis (more on that below).
Michelle Wolf’s Set At The White House Correspondents’ Dinner
For some reason, Trump didn’t like having comedians tear into him and all his friends at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in April.
The president wasn’t actually in the room when Michelle Wolf roasted members of the Trump administration (and some Democrats and media outlets, too.) But he heard about it, or read the highlights on Twitter, and declared it an “embarrassment.”
“Put Dinner to rest, or start over!” he tweeted. Then he thought about it and returned to Twitter a few days later to continue raging, declaring the dinner “DEAD as we know it.”
“This was a total disaster and an embarrassment to our great Country and all that it stands for,” the president tweeted. “FAKE NEWS is alive and well and beautifully represented on Saturday night!”
Being Told He Can’t Block People On Twitter
A federal judge ruled in May that it is unconstitutional for Trump to block people on Twitter, an action he’d taken against dozens of people who’d publicly disagreed with him on his preferred social media network.
The judge’s decision came after the Knight First Amendment Institute filed a lawsuit against Trump and his communications team, arguing that the president, who regularly uses Twitter to announce major policy decisions, was violating people’s First Amendment rights when he blocked them on the platform.
The suit was filed on behalf of seven Twitter users whom Trump had blocked on the platform. Other well-known people blocked from his account included author Stephen King, actor Rosie O’Donnell and model and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen.
That Trump Balloon
The president of the United States probably didn’t love being depicted as a giant, diaper-clad baby in balloon form. But just such an effigy debuted at an event in London in July, then made appearances in other cities, including Paris, Los Angeles and Grand Rapids, Michigan, in subsequent months.
“It’s meant to be fun, but we’re also making the point that this guy is dangerous and he’s a little unhinged,” Cameron Young, who organized the Grand Rapids event, told MLive.com. “We want to make the point that this administration is taking us down what we think is the wrong path and is threatening to democracy, to our moral standing in the world.”
That Scathing, Anonymous Op-Ed
The president raged against a scathing New York Times op-ed published in September that was written by a self-described “senior official in the Trump administration.”
It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.
Anonymous senior official in the Trump administration
The author claimed to be part of a secret “resistance in the Trump administration” and said high-level officials surrounding Trump were actively working to combat his controversial policies and erratic behavior. The president raged against the op-ed on “Fox & Friends,” calling it “treason” and speculating that a “deep-state person” could be behind it.
A Mushroom Character Becoming A Meme For His Penis
Oh, to be a fly on the wall the moment Trump’s social media team explained to him why “Mario Kart” was trending on Twitter on Sept. 18.
An excerpt shared that day from Stormy Daniels’ tell-all book compared Trump’s penis to Toad, a mushroom character from Mario Kart games.
“I lay there, annoyed that I was getting fucked by a guy with Yeti pubes and a dick like the mushroom character in Mario Kart,” she wrote.
The internet erupted at the not-so-flattering comparison. But we’d argue that the real victim here is Toad, who previously was known only for being a friendly Mushroom Kingdom resident and loyal buddy to Mario.
Getting Laughed At By The United Nations General Assembly
There are a lot of things that come with the territory of being president that Trump is reportedly not excited about, like reading memos. But as his many rallies demonstrate, there’s one thing he clearly loves about the job: speaking to crowds of admiring supporters.
If the president was expecting a similarly enthusiastic reception at the United Nations General Assembly in September, he was surely disappointed.
“In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country … So true,” Trump said. The characteristic boast elicited a muffled laugh from the crowd of world leaders.
“Didn’t expect that reaction but that’s OK,” Trump said, chuckling along as the crowd erupted with more laughter.
He later told reporters that his speech was totally, 100 percent intended to make the UN assembly laugh.
Losing A Bet Against Elizabeth Warren Over Her Ancestry
Trump had long mocked Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for claiming Native American heritage and once promised to donate $1 million to charity if she could prove it. And then Warren did.
In October, the Democrat made public the results of a DNA test that an expert said showed “strong evidence” that she has a Native American ancestor. Many Native American groups found the move offensive, and Warren later clarified that she respected the distinction between DNA and tribal affiliation.
But she also took the opportunity to remind the president of his promise. She asked Trump to donate the $1 million to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, a nonprofit that seeks to protect Native American women from violence. She also pointed out that Trump still hasn’t released his tax returns. “What are YOU hiding?” she tweeted at him.
Having To Return Jim Acosta’s Press Credentials
Of all the media outlets the president has disparaged over the years, there is perhaps none he seems to despise as much as CNN.
For that reason, it probably gave him great pleasure when the White House revoked CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass after a press conference on Nov. 7. Acosta and Trump had a heated exchange that resulted in a White House intern grabbing the microphone out of the reporter’s hands. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was later accused of sharing a doctored video of the incident to defend the administration’s decision to revoke Acosta’s press credentials.
CNN sued the Trump administration for violating the First Amendment rights of both the network and Acosta. And much to the president’s likely chagrin, the White House returned Acosta’s press pass.
‘Terrific’ Taylor Swift Burning Republicans
Trump was so miffed by pop star Taylor Swift breaking her political silence to endorse a Democrat that he gave reporters a percentage of just how irritated he was.
“Let’s say that I like Taylor’s music about 25 percent less now, OK?” Trump told reporters before walking into the White House in October. The comment came the day after Swift, long criticized for her silence on political issues, endorsed Democrat Phil Bredesen to represent Tennessee in the U.S. Senate and condemned his opponent, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, over her stance on women’s and LGBTQ issues.
“I’m sure Taylor Swift doesn’t know anything about her,” Trump said of Blackburn, whom he stumped for on the campaign trail.
Swift’s burn must have stung, given the praise Trump gave her when he was but a celebrity hotelier.
“Glad to hear that [Swift] will be co-hosting the Grammy nominations special on 12.5,” Trump tweeted back in 2012. “Taylor is terrific!”
Musicians Telling Him He Can’t Play Their Songs At Rallies
Trump has a history of being spurned by musicians for using their songs at his events, and that trend continued into 2018.
Rihanna shut it down pretty quickly after she found out the president was playing her 2007 hit “Please Don’t Stop the Music” at a Chattanooga rally for Blackburn, the aforementioned Senate candidate.
“[M]e nor my people would ever be at or around one of those tragic rallies,” she tweeted when she found out about the song’s usage, vowing to stop Trump from continuing to play it. She later sent him a cease and desist letter.
She wasn’t the only one. Trump also received complaints from Pharrell Williams, Guns N’ Roses and Neil Young this year for playing their music at his rallies.
Ivanka’s Alleged Misuse Of A Personal Email Account
When The Washington Post reported in November that Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, had allegedly used a personal account to send hundreds of emails last year related to government business, Trump could no longer bash Hillary Clinton over her private email server without looking like a total hypocrite.
According to insiders who spoke with the Post, Ivanka Trump was “the worst offender in the White House” when it came to possibly violating the Presidential Records Act, which mandates that all official White House communications and records be preserved in a permanent archive. Perhaps more concerning, the sources said, her use of a private email server could increase the risk of hackers obtaining sensitive government information.
That was especially inconvenient news for her dad, who made Clinton’s misuse of a private email server the focal point of his campaign and encouraged “Lock her up!” chants at his rallies regarding her email usage. At the rally he headlined in Tupelo, Mississippi, several days after the Post’s story, he uncharacteristically avoided bringing up Clinton.
Fox News Accidentally Calling Him ‘David Trump’
It was probably funny to everyone but Trump when his favorite news channel bungled his name on live television. Fox News host Laura Ingraham was listing several runners-up for Time Magazine’s 2018 Person of the Year during her evening broadcast in December when she looked down at her script and stumbled: “It says David Trump on my sheet, but I assume they mean Donald Trump.”
Do they? What’s that guy’s name again?