POLITICS
12/30/2018 01:39 am ET Updated Dec 31, 2018

6 Times Trump 'Hit A New Low' In 2018

A congressman said Trump hit “a new low” with his latest tweets — but this isn’t the first time the president has sunk to a “new low.”
President Donald Trump has a reputation for doing and saying shocking things, yet it still surprises us year-round.
JIM WATSON via Getty Images
President Donald Trump has a reputation for doing and saying shocking things, yet it still surprises us year-round.

Less than three days before the year’s end, President Donald Trump has managed to shock his critics with more insensitive rants.

This time, it was about the immigrant children who recently died while in the custody of Customs and Border Protection after surrendering to immigration authorities.

Trump, whose policies have caused thousands of immigrant children to be separated from their families, blamed Democrats in Congress for the deaths of 8-year-old Felipe Gomez Alonzo and 7-year-old Jakelin Caal.

In response, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) said Trump had hit a new low by using the children’s deaths to promote his border wall.

Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty, who covers national politics, doubled down on that sentiment.

“With President Trump, there is no bottom,” she wrote on Saturday.

“We have a president who is willing to politicize the deaths of two young children to score points against the opposition party,” she added. “And the most shocking thing about seeing him scrape along a new moral bottom is this: It is no longer shocking at all.”

For Trump’s fiercest critics, it is impossible for Trump to get any worse. But, somehow, he always does.

Below, 5 more times people thought Trump had hit a new low in 2018:

 

When Trump said he’d defend Saudi Arabia even if the crown prince ordered the murder of a Saudi Washington Post journalist

After Turkish officials revealed that Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist living in the U.S., was killed when he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October, Trump was hesitant to react publicly and to condemn Saudi Arabia.

Then, he issued a jaw-dropping statement siding with Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (known as MBS) ― despite the CIA’s findings that reportedly tied MBS to Khashoggi’s assassination.

“It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event ― maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Trump said.

“We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi,” he continued. “In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Days before Trump’s statement, the CIA reportedly concluded that a team of Saudi Arabians had tortured and killed Khashoggi, once a close friend to the Saudi royal family who became a critic of their government, under the direction of the crown prince.  

Karen Attiah, Khashoggi’s editor at the Washington Post, accused Trump of lying in his statement and having “a blatant disregard for his own intelligence agencies.”

“This is a new low,” Attiah concluded.

Turkey’s foreign minister accused Trump of turning a “blind eye” to the murder.

“In a way, Mr. Trump’s statement means ‘Come what may, I will turn a blind eye on this.’ This approach is wrong. Money is not everything. We should not distance ourselves from human values,” Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told CNN Türk.

When Trump called Hurricane Maria’s death toll “fake news”

Over the summer, a government-commissioned study found that the official death toll for the back-to-back hurricanes that hit in 2017 was significantly higher than previously reported ― 2,975 deaths, not 64.

Instead of acknowledging the deaths, Trump denied the report and accused Democrats of making up the “really large numbers” just to make him “look as bad as possible.” There is no evidence supporting his theory. 

 

Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Roselló commissioned the analysis, which was completed by researchers at George Washington University. The new estimate made Hurricane Maria, at the time, one of the deadliest natural disasters in the history of the U.S.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who became a fierce critic of Trump in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, called the president’s denial “despicable.”

“This is a new low, even for President Trump,” she told CNN. “Now, it is to be expected the president has the ability to make everything about him.”

The New York Times’ editorial board also criticized Trump for shifting the attention on the devastation to his own personal woes: “Democrats don’t need to lift a finger to make him look bad. He is managing that all on his own.”

In the headline of a story covering Trump’s death toll denial, the Rolling Stone made it more concise: “Trump Reaches New Low. Republicans Remain Silent. Rinse, Repeat.”

When Trump met with Vladimir Putin and publicly defended the Russian president against accusations of meddling in the election

Trump’s presidency has been plagued with an ongoing federal investigation into his presidential campaign’s alleged ties to Russia, bolstered with evidence that Russia interfered with the 2016 election.

But when Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in Helsinki, Finland, he refused to publicly condemn the leader for his country’s meddling in U.S. politics and democracy. Instead, he supported Putin’s denial. 

“My people came to me, they said they think it’s Russia,” Trump said. “President Putin just said it’s not Russia.”

Trump’s performance at the summit was “disgraceful” and “a new low for his presidency,” Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) said shortly after the two leaders’ meeting.

Garry Kasparov, chairman of the Human Rights Foundation and former world chess champion, also said the summit marked “the lowest point in the history of the American presidency.”

In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Kasparov said Trump gave a “Russia First performance” in the high-profile meeting:

Standing next to a dictatorial leader accused by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement of attacking the foundations of American democracy, Trump often appeared confused and incoherent — and those were his best moments at the podium. The rest of the time he spent praising the KGB dictator to his left and attacking the institutions he swore an oath to defend. It was a Russia First performance, from beginning to end.

When the Trump administration separated children from their families as part of his zero tolerance crackdown on illegal immigration

Trump was widely condemned for his zero tolerance anti-immigration policy enforced earlier this year after it was revealed that thousands of migrant children who entered the U.S. illegally had been separated from their families and placed in government custody.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Health and Human Services official Jonathan White, who is also a licensed clinical social worker, said he had warned other officials that separating the children from their families could cause them serious emotional damage. The Trump administration continued with the controversial policy.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) called Trump’s family separation policy a “new low in inhumanity for this administration.”

Trump’s own daughter and official adviser, Ivanka Trump, agreed. In an interview at an Axios News Shapers panel in Washington, D.C., she called the family separations “a low point” for her, while also suggesting immigrant parents are to blame.

 

When Trump called Haiti and African nations “shithole countries”

Trump has a reputation for saying shocking things, but when the Washington Post published a report saying that the president had referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shithole countries,” it brought his rhetoric to a whole new level of vulgar. 

Trump allegedly made the remark in negotiations over a bipartisan immigration deal, the Post reported, citing unidentified people who were briefed on the meeting. NBC News, BuzzFeed and CNN also confirmed the exchange. Trump denied using such language. 

In a statement, the NAACP called Trump’s alleged remark a “low point for our nation.”

Former Haitian president Laurent Lamothe proclaimed the world was “witnessing a new low” and called the comment “totally unacceptable” in a tweet that has since been deleted.

The racist comment also marked an unprecedented moment in mainstream media. It prompted prominent news organizations including the New York Times, the Post, the Associated Press and HuffPost, to prominently display the uncensored phrase in headlines and opening lines.

The Post’s executive editor, Martin Baron, defended the uncensored word, saying: “When the president says it, we’ll use it verbatim. That’s our policy.” 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated the name of Customs and Border Protection as Customs and Border Patrol.

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