As the sun sets on US President Donald Trump’s presidency, the chilling events of January 6, when his supporters stormed the US Capitol, continue to hang over his departure. But there is no denying that Trump will be remembered for many other moments.
Some of them were historic, unprecedented and, in many cases, completely bizarre. Americans will remember his public suggestion that COVID-19 could possibly be knocked out by injecting disinfectant in the human body or the time he tweeted out the word “covfefe” (still no explanation of what he meant). But there were many other unusual and awkward moments.
In the opening months of his presidency, Trump seized on his popularity and held rallies to keep his base fired up. One of those events was in Melbourne, Florida in February 2017. The audience got the show they wanted complete with Air Force One pulling up to the rally. But like so often during his tenure, Trump’s words at home rattled a nation thousands of miles away.
During a tirade against illegal migrants, Trump hinted there may have been a terrorist attack in Sweden the previous night. “You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden,” Trump exclaimed. “Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden!”
One tiny problem with his claim: there was no such attack. The remarks reportedly prompted a confused call from the Swedish embassy to the US State Department asking for clarification. Swedes, on the other hand, ran with it and the humorous hashtag #lastnightinSweden was born showing locals doing things like making moose stew or practising the trombone.
Perfect piece of chocolate cake
As Trump and Xi dined, the president gave the order to destroy a Syrian airbase with Tomahawk missiles to send a message to President Bashar al-Assad. But when he recalled the moment to a Fox Business anchor, the commander-in-chief seemed focused on the wrong details.
“We had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen and President Xi was enjoying it,” he recounted intently. “So what happens is I said [to President Xi] we’ve just launched 59 missiles heading to Iraq and I wanted you to know this.”
That beautiful piece of cake must have been pretty good because the US President forgot he had bombed Syria, not Iraq.
Normally, a NATO meeting is a formulaic gathering of military allies who send out boring communiques and reaffirm their relationships and commitments. But when Donald Trump is present, nothing is normal.
In May 2017, Trump had everyone wondering how he would behave at his first NATO meeting with world leaders in Brussels. After all, he had trashed the organisation during his campaign, referring to it as “obsolete”. Predictably, Trump criticised them again during the meeting demanding members pay their fair share to the organisation set up in 1949 to counter the growing Soviet influence in Europe. But that speech, which upset many people in the foreign policy ranks, was not his true mark that day.As world leaders gathered for the official photo, Trump was caught shoving aside Montenegro’s Prime Minister Dusko Markovic in what appeared to be an attempt to get to the front of the photo line. At the time, the Balkan country was seeking entry into NATO, a move that the Russian government opposed, so the snub took on a particularly dire tone among Montenegrins. The prime minister was unfazed, however, later telling reporters the shove seen around the world was overblown.