Conservative Controversies & Scandals

Republican Controversies

  • Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos rescinded an Obama era rule that was put in place in order to make it easier for those with student loans to pay back their student loans and also hold student loan companies accountable for their practices.
  • Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, told CNBC’s John Harwood that Donald Trump's promise to eliminate the national debt in eight years was hyperbole that shouldn't be taken seriously.
  • White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tried to suggest that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was worse than Hitler because he said that Hitler never used chemical weapons. Spicer seemed to gloss over the fact that Hitler is responsible for using chemical weapons to kill millions of people in gas chambers during World War II. Spencer was then asked to clarify his remarks and only made matters worse by claiming that Hitler wasn't using them on his own people, but was merely bringing people to "Holocaust centers" to kill them.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions called immigrants who cross the border without documentation "filth" and said that the Trump Administration will do whatever it can get them out of the United States. He then said that “[t]his is a new era. This is the Trump era.”
  • K.T. McFarland, a senior adviser to Donald Trump, was removed from the National Security Council principals committee after a reorganization gave National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster more authority to shape the council in his image. NSC Adviser H. R. McMaster and McFarland were often at odds and Trump gave him the authority to remove her after McMaster insisted on having more control of the council.
  • The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and Donald Trump confidant secretly worked with two White House officials to release cherry picked information in an attempt to impede the House investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 Presidential election. Nunes secretly went to the White House to get the information, held a press conference about the new "information" without informing the other members of the committee, then went back to the White House to present what he "found" to President Trump. Update: Nunes has recused himself from any House investigation on Russia's involvement in the 2016 election.
  • Presidential Senior Adviser Steve Bannon was removed from his position on the National Security Council principals committee after a reorganization gave National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster more authority to shape the council in his image. Bannon's original seat on the council drew concern from many areas of government due to his lack of expertise in international affairs and political position within Trump's White House.
  • Judge Neil Gorsuch, Donald Trump's pick for an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, is accused of plagiarizing extended portions of his 2006 book "The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.” Gorsuch apparently copied a long passage from an Indiana Law Journal piece with minor edits and without giving attribution. He also had a footnote "that’s replicated verbatim from the article, down to the exact same use of ellipses in citing a pediatrics textbook."
  • Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was photographed carrying plans that propose to track "aliens" from high risk areas and to create "extreme vetting questions for high-risk aliens” while heading into a private meeting with Donald Trump. Kobach is one of the leading contenders for leading the Department of Homeland Security in the Trump Administration and would be the lead person in implementing a plan like that if he were to be confirmed to the position. Update: A federal judge has ordered Kobach to hand over any notes he was photographed with during his meeting with then President-elect Trump.
  • White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer blamed President Obama for a chemical attack Syrian President Bashar al-Assad carried out on his own citizens. Spicer suggested the attack was a "consequence of the past administration's weakness and irresolution."
  • Donald Trump's son tweeted his praise for the author of the "PizzaGate" by suggesting that he should receive a Pulitzer Prize. The author, Mike Cernovich, is responsible for a conspiracy article that claimed the Clinton's were running a child sex ring out of a litany of restaurants on the east cost and became the catalyst for a disturbed man to enter a pizza store in Washing, D.C. with his assault rifle in an attempt to save the women.
  • Sebastian Gorka, a top national security adviser to Donald Trump, supported a right wing Hungarian militia that was outlawed by the Hungarian government for human rights violations.
  • Erik Prince, Blackwater founder and brother of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, held secret meetings with a close confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin just days before Donald Trump took the oath of office on January 20th. Prince had no official role in the Trump transition team, but he did present himself as an unofficial envoy for Trump to the high-ranking Emiratis involved in setting up the meeting between the two men.
  • Donald Trump's social media director publicly called for the defeat of Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan in the 2018 primary after Amash refused to vote for the House's Obamacare repeal. This is a violation of the "Hatch Act" which prohibits the use of one's office for political purposes.
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is skipping a major NATO summit in Brussels and meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Washington, D.C. instead. The move has been described as "unprecedented" by a former US ambassador to NATO and "an unmitigated disaster" by another NATO expert. American allies have expressed concern that America is beginning to show they are not as committed to the NATO alliance and Tillerson's skipping of the conference and meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin later in April before he is set to meet with any of the NATO allies again.
  • Donald Trump asked a group of women attending a function for the Women's Empowerment Panel if they had ever heard of Susan B Anthony. During the same speech he also suggested that Harriet Tubman was “very, very courageous, believe me.”
  • White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told American Urban Radio Networks journalist April Ryan to "stop shaking [her] head" after Spicer dodged answering a direct question about Trump's connection with Russia.
  • Donald Trump's transition team asked the Pentagon for photographs of various military vehicles that could be showcased during his inauguration parade. The Pentagon rebuffed Trump's request and said that military vehicles could not be used. Update: Trump initially denied this report, but leaked e-mails show that the conversation between the Trump team and the Pentagon did, in fact, take place.
  • Donald Trump accused President Obama of ordering an illegal wiretap in Trump Tower during the election season. Trump sent a series of tweets that read "Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!", "Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!", and then finished with "How low has President Obama gone to tapp [sic] my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!" Multiple sources have come forward publicly to state that there is zero evidence to back up Trump's claims.
  • Donald Trump justified another weekend trip to his Mar-a-Lago resort by claiming that he was going to have a "major meeting" with Veterans Affairs officials over the weekend, but that meeting never took place and the White House did not explain why the meeting was cancelled mere hours after Donald Trump announced it.