There is a Presidential election in the greatest country on Earth later this year. Arguably the biggest story however, nearly as contentious and interesting as the election itself, is one candidate. Donald Trump, the billionaire, real estate developer, television personality, entrepreneur...whatever you want to call him, is finally running for the Republican nomination and he's the biggest story in the game of politics right now.
There are plenty of questions being thrown around with regard to Trump's political aspirations. Can a businessman run a government? That's one, and while plenty of people argue a government must operate in a fundamentally different manner from a profit based business, Trump supporters argue that a man concerned with financial considerations may be what Washington needs to combat the current money-hemorrhaging problem. Another question is whether or not a politician can just say what's on his mind.
Ever since he threw his name into the fight, Trump has been saying what has come to mind, whether it be about Muslims, Mexicans, journalists, whoever. Again, his detractors argue that politicians need to be careful with their words and speak diplomatically. On the other hand, those who like him consider most politicians to be slimy cowards whose ability with words amounts to little more than lies, thus making a man who speaks his mind like The Donald an attractive choice.
His colorful statements about the Mexicans in the United States being criminals and barring all Muslims from entering the U.S. have been the most divisive of the campaign so far. With that said however, he isn't the first politician to say ridiculous things that warranted massive "face-palms". Here are some other ridiculous, absurd and terrible quotes from political leaders who make Trump seem...almost normal. Almost.
12 Steve Stockman - Babies and Guns
"If babies had guns, they wouldn't be aborted".
Steve Stockman is a Texan and Republican who has held office twice in the House of Representatives. Back in 2013, Stockman was running for office after a fifteen year hiatus from politics and came up with this gem for a bumper sticker. The statement sure does indicate that Stockman is pro-life and pro-gun, but even as a meaningless bumper sticker, it earned him little in the way of fans who weren't already supporters.
11 Mary Frances Berry - Civil Rights Laws
"Civil rights laws were not passed to protect the rights of white men and do not apply to them"
10 Harry Truman - An Army of WHAT?
For those whose American history chops are less than stellar, Harry Truman took over as President of the United States in April, 1945, after Franklin Delano Roosevelt died. A few months later he used two nuclear bombs to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in order to bring an end to the Pacific Campaign of World War Two.
9 Bill Clinton - Obama and Coffee
“A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee.”
Coincidentally, a few days ago, a woman in Arkansas gave birth to six babies. When asked about the incident, Bill Clinton himself said in a press conference "I did not have sexual relations with that woman". That was a joke, and a good one. You're welcome.
8 Marion Barry - D.C. Crime Rate
"Outside of the killings, D.C. has one of the lowest crime rates in the country".
Trump has said plenty of downright stupid things during his campaign so far, but back in 1989, Marion Barry said something that was puzzling at best. For those who are not versed in District of Columbia politics and history, Barry was a mayor and council member from the 1970's to his death in 2014. He gained negative press and notoriety in the early 1990's for being thrown in jail on drug charges, but was elected mayor again after his release.
7 Todd Akin - "Legitimate R*pe"
Excuse me while I hit my head against a wall for a minute or two. Because our purpose for this article is Trump, we should mention him here. Many people have attacked The Donald's statements throughout his campaign so far because of factual inaccuracies about immigration numbers, crime numbers and so on. Sometimes, it just seems like he's throwing out numbers and loosely related sentences.
6 Al Sharpton - "Them Greek Homos"
“White folks was in the caves while we [blacks] was building empires … We built pyramids before Donald Trump ever knew what architecture was … we taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it.”
When we think of America's most notorious bigots, Al Sharpton is often left off the list despite hilarious mini-tirades like this. Sharpton may have good intentions in terms of strengthening the African-American community, but looking at some of the stuff that sometimes comes out of his mouth, he's essentially Donald Trump without business sense. Despite any community building to which he may contribute, he divides more people than he brings together. In this delightful quote, we see his rare ability to take a swing at ol' whitey and Greek history in one fell swoop.
5 Richard Nixon - Abortion
"There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white, or a r*pe."
Right now there is a generation of kids who have learned everything they know about Richard Nixon from the television show Futurama. This is alright, because the show actually has portrayed their Nixon character well, combining facts and true-to-life references in with a great parody of his personality.
4 Pat Robertson - Feminism
"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."
3 Rodmond Roblin - "Nice Women"
"Nice women don't want the vote".
Up to the desolate wastelands of Canada we go for number three. This one goes all the way back to the early 1900's when women in Canada were fighting for voting rights. Between 1916 and 1940 women were gradually given the right to vote in Canada, on a province to province basis. It all went downhill from there. Joking, calm down.
2 Stokely Carmichael - "Prone"
"The position of women in SNCC is prone".
1 Benjamin Ryan Tillman Jr. - "Reconstruction"
“We have done our level best [to prevent blacks from voting]...we have scratched our heads to find out how we could eliminate the last one of them. We stuffed ballot boxes. We shot them. We are not ashamed of it.”
The Senator for South Carolina from 1895 until his death in 1918, Ben Tillman Jr. was and remains one of the most notorious racists in U.S. history. He is credited with having disenfranchised the vast majority of black people in that state and remains a contentious figure to this day. A statue of Tillman still stands outside the state building in Columbia, South Carolina. In recent years it has been vandalized and many have called for it to be torn down, especially in the wake of the racially motivated church shooting in Charleston that took place in 2015.
Okay, now reading through all of these, forgive us, Trump doesn't look any better, he just has some more company in the club of ignorant, politically-inclined people. It goes to show you that no matter their allegiance, there are and always have been some troublingly ignorant people in politics.
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