Conservative Controversies & Scandals

2016 Major Republican Scandals & Controversies

  • Donald Trump wrote a bizarre tweet wishing his "many enemies" who voted against him a Happy New Year. The entire tweet read: "Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don't know what to do. Love!"
  • Carl Paladino, Donald Trump's New York campaign chairman, said that his wish for 2017 is seeing First Lady Michelle Obama "to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla." Paladino later claimed his wishes have nothing to do with race and blamed the press for refusing to criticize "2 progressive elitist ingrates who have hated their country so badly and destroyed its fabric in so many respects in 8 years.” Update: Paladino has been removed from the Buffalo Public School Board of Education following his comments.
  • Carl Paladino, Donald Trump's New York campaign chairman, said that his wish for 2017 is seeing President Obama contract mad cow disease and die before his trial for treason. Paladino later claimed his wishes have nothing to do with race and blamed the press for refusing to criticize "2 progressive elitist ingrates who have hated their country so badly and destroyed its fabric in so many respects in 8 years.” Update: Paladino has been removed from the Buffalo Public School Board of Education following his comments.
  • Boris Epshteyn, a senior adviser to Donald Trump, took a veiled swipe at President Obama by claiming that American voters elected "a real man." Epshteyn brushed off an interviewers question about the lack of star power at Trump's inauguration and instead claimed that the American people "elected a real man, a true man, a man who loves this country to the very bottom of his heart.”
  • Donald Trump chose Paula White, a pastor who teaches that the rich are loved by God more than the poor, to deliver the invocation at his inauguration. So called Prosperity-gospel pastors also preach that the best way to become wealthy and get into God's good graces is by giving "seed-money" to the church and that God will repay your contribution by making you rich.
  • Sean Spicer, Donald Trump's pick for press secretary, accused BuzzFeed reporter David Mack of attacking Jesus after he questioned the incoming administration about a Tweet sent by the RNC. The Tweet written by Reince Priebus read "[o]ver two millennia ago, a new hope was born into the world, a Savior who would offer the promise of salvation to all mankind Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King.” Spicer wrote multiple responses to Mack, including the one accusing him of attacking Jesus.
  • The official Republican National Committee's Christmas statement appeared to compare the birth of Jesus with the election of Donald Trump. The statement read "Merry Christmas to all! Over two millennia ago, a new hope was born into the world, a Savior who would offer the promise of salvation to all mankind. Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King." The RNC denied the connection, but it's difficult to read the statement without coming to the conclusion that they were comparing the birth of Jesus to the "good news of a new king."
  • Donald Trump upended years of American foreign policy concerning nuclear weapons development by calling for a new arms race. Trump started the controversy by tweeting that "the United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes." When asked to clarify his comments he doubled down and said "[l]et it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all."
  • Donald Trump apparently thought that Senator Bob Corker was too short to be Secretary of State, which is one of the reasons he picked Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson for the job. Multiple sources in the administration confirmed that Trump "placed heavy consideration on potential cabinet members' appearances."
  • Michael Flynn, Donald Trump's pick for National Security Adviser, met with the head of Austria’s anti-immigrant Freedom Party, which was founded by former Nazi's after WWII and espouses an anti-semantic and anti-immigrant ideologies. The meeting was not advertised and Flynn the Trump campaign did not return multiple calls for a statement on why Flynn met with the leader.
  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested that Congress rewrite ethics laws and "think up a whole new approach" to them to protect Donald Trump from running afoul of them once he becomes President. Gingrich told an interviewer that "traditional rules don't work" because "we've never seen this kind of wealth in the White House."
  • Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump along with two other investors created a charity called Opening Day Foundation that is selling access to Donald Trump on and around inauguration day. The "charity" is accepting donations in exchange for a private reception with Donald Trump and potentially a private hunting event with the new President if the price is right.
  • The Kuwaiti government cancelled a major gala they planned to hold at the Four Seasons in Washington, D.C. after their ambassador received pressure from the Trump Organization to hold it at Trump's new hotel in the old Post Office building.
  • Donald Trump will use a private security force as well as the Secret Service to protect him while he is President. The private force will be primarily used at Trump rallies, which has sparked alarm from freedom of speech advocates who worry it will be used to stifle protesters. Other security professions are suggesting that Trump is "playing with fire" by using a combination of private security and the Secret Service.
  • Donald Trump tweeted that China should keep an underwater drone they illegally seized in international waters. Trump said "[w]e should tell China that we don't want the drone they stole back. — let them keep it!"
  • Donald Trump's campaign struck a deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group during the Presidential campaign that granted the company priority access to Trump and his inner circle in exchange for positive media coverage and a promise to run his rallies and speeches without commentary. Sinclair operates 173 television stations in 81 U.S. markets and reaches millions of American consumers every day, so the deal undoubtedly gave the Trump campaign tens of millions of dollars worth of non-critical free airtime.
  • Donald Trump accused China of committing an unpresidented [sic] act after the Chinese navy seized a United States naval drone in the South China Sea. Unpresidented is not an actual word and Trump did not correct his error for more than an hour before changing it to unprecedented. The original Tweet read "China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it out of water and takes it to China in unpresidented act.”
  • Donald Trump used campaign money to reimburse his personal businesses to the tune of $12.5 million dollars during the 2016 campaign. Trump's use of his businesses for campaign events is technically legal, but has been described by multiple watchdog groups as the first time a candidate has "ever run so much of a campaign's spending through his own businesses." Trump
  • Donald Trump told a rally that he was happy many African Americans decided not to vote in the Presidential election because it helped him win. Trump told the crowd that it's "almost as good" that they didn't vote because "a lot of people didn't show up."
  • Donald Trump's Presidential Inaugural Committee is having a hard time getting celebrities to perform at his inauguration and has resorted to offering the people who book celebrities extravagant fees and even ambassadorships if they were able to convince a star to participate.