Donald Trump sat down with a local television station in Florida at the weekend and turned to one of his favorite topics: lawsuits. And, particularly, how hard it is to win them against the press.
“In England, you have a good chance of winning,” the GOP presidential nominee said. “They have a system where you can actually sue if somebody says something wrong. Our press is allowed to say whatever they want and they can get away with it.”
The press are far from alone, though, on Trump’s list of lawsuit targets he finds out of reach. Lately, he’s taken to threatening every woman who comes forward with an allegation that he sexually assaulted them. Trump uses the threat of a lawsuit more than any other politician in recent history as a tactic against his opponents, or anyone else who he feels has wronged him, though he’s rarely followed through on it.
Below is a partial list that we hope to make comprehensive of folks whom Trump has threatened to sue since he ran for president. If you’ve been on the receiving end of a threat, or know of some person or group who was, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add it to the list.
Meanwhile, enjoy this fabulous Trump clock, which counts the amount of time since he last threatened to sue anybody.
The New York Times
Trump said he was going to sue the Times for publishing details about his tax returns. Lawyers laughed off the threat, and he never followed up on it.
If he loses the election and feels he was wronged, Trump has vowed to sue.
Women who accuse him of sexual assault
Trump used his address in Gettysburg over the weekend to say that one of his first acts as president will be to sue all of the many women who are accusing him publicly of sexual assault or harassment. The threat is unlikely to be acted upon, but it serves to intimidate other women from coming forward. It doesn’t appear to be working, as new women who say he assaulted them emerge nearly every day.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was not a natural-born citizen, Trump argued, and therefore ineligible to run for president. Trump suggested he’d sue to keep him off the ballot.
The Republican National Committee
Trump warned officials at the RNC they would be “in default of their pledge” if they didn’t step in and tell Cruz to play nice with him. He also threatened to sue the RNC over delegate allocation in Louisiana, because he’d been outmaneuvered on the ground by opponents.
The author of The Art of the Deal told The New Yorker that Trump is a cretin who shouldn’t get anywhere near the White House. Trump threatened to sue.
The Washington Post
At a rally in February, Trump turned to his favorite topic: the media. “If I become president, oh, do they have problems. They’re gonna have such problems,” Trump said of The New York Times, before speaking in more general terms.
“One of the things I’m gonna do … is I’m gonna open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re gonna open up those libel laws,” he said. “So that when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace, or when The Washington Post … writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money, instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected.”
It was actually Melania Trump who threatened People, but her husband would no doubt be along for the ride.
An anti-Trump T-shirt maker
Trump sent a cease-and-desist letter to a company producing T-shirts that made fun of Trump.
A British student nightclub
This month, a couple of mates put together a poster depicting Trump as a scary joker. He didn’t laugh and threatened to sue.
“I’m right now suing Univision for $500 million,” Trump said in July 2015, while attacking a Telemundo reporter. He filed the lawsuit after Univision dropped his beauty pageants in response to his remarks about Mexicans being rapists, which Univision said “destroyed the value” of his brand. They settled for undisclosed terms.
Club for Growth
The conservative group tried to galvanize the #NeverTrump movement with a million dollars’ worth of ads against him during the GOP primary. He’ll see you in court, Club for Growth. (Actually, no, he won’t.)
A British artist
Ilma Gore’s sketch of Trump with a tiny penis earned her a different kind of legal threat. He didn’t order a takedown, but rather said he wanted a piece of the action if the artwork sold.
The Associated Press
For a story he didn’t like.
The Huffington Post and Rolling Stone
I had forgotten about this one and, when I stumbled on it, was surprised to realize I had actually replied in real time to it. As I recall, he was tweeting about us in the middle of NCAA basketball.
A lot of readers are reminding us of the time Trump threatened to sue Bill Maher to claim a $5 million reward for proving he himself was not sired by an orangutan. He did actually try to sue Maher, but the case was dismissed in late 2013. We know this was before his presidential bid, but here’s the background, just for fun.
Thanks also to readers who noted that Trump sued chef Geoffrey Zakarian after he bailed on Trump’s D.C. hotel in the wake of Trump’s rapist remarks. The family has been unable to fill the space, and Zakarian has counter-sued.