Speaking from his namesake Trump Tower, Donald Trump announced his bid for the presidency Tuesday morning. “We are going to make our country great again,” he told the gathered crowd, evoking his new campaign slogan: “Make America Great Again.”
With his announcement, the billionaire businessman has finally jumped into the ring after two decades of flirting with – some might call it threatening – such a run.
Trump is widely considered to be an unserious candidate, a man who – despite an incredible amount of resources – is unlikely to secure the GOP nomination, and who is more interested in garnering attention. Still, he could have a measurable impact on the race. As recently as last month, Trump was polling better than several other Republican candidates; if those numbers hold, he could end up on stage at the GOP debates.
Like it or not, we can’t ignore Donald Trump the presidential candidate. So here’s a look back at some of his most telling views to give us a taste of what we’re in for.
1. He’s an Obama birther.
We have Trump largely to thank for President Obama’s birth certificate being such a major theme during the 2012 election cycle. Trump launched a multi-week “investigation” into the matter, concluding that he still had “real doubts” about Obama’s place of birth, thus riling up the far-right wing of the Republican party.
To be fair, Trump’s birtherism isn’t entirely partisan: He also questions whether Ted Cruz, who was born in Canada to an American mother, should be allowed to run for president.
2. He thinks global warming is a sham because ice exists.
“This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing, record low temps,and our GW scientists are stuck in ice,” Trump tweeted early last year, referencing a crew of researchers whose ship had recently been trapped in Antarctic ice.
In a similar vein, he seems to have a weird beef with windmills, calling them “disgusting” and “horrible” in 2012.
3. He’s team Jenny McCarthy when it comes to vaccines and autism.
Credit where it’s due: Trump does say he’s “a total believer” in children getting vaccines, on a modified schedule. However, he also says “massive inoculations” have driven the nation’s autism rate to “a level that it’s never been.”
4. “I have a great relationship with the blacks.”
That is a real thing Donald Trump once said.
5. About that relationship with black people…
In a 1991 book, one of Trump’s former colleagues recalled him saying, “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” (Trump called the things written about him in the book “probably true.”)
6. He’s sexist as hell.
When he’s not making high-dollar business deals or launching quixotic bids for the presidency, Trump spends time evaluating contestants for the Miss USA pageant, which he owns. In her 2009 book, former contestant Carrie Prejean wrote of the “humiliating” exercise of being trotted out in front of Trump so he could weed out the women he found insufficiently attractive. “Some of the girls were sobbing backstage after [Trump] left,” she wrote. “[I]t was as though we had been stripped bare.”
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Trump’s sexist practices and comments. This is the man who, in 2000, reportedly said, “I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.”
7. He fancies himself a savior of the poor.
Trump said recently that “the people that like me best are poor people and middle-income people. . . The rich people don’t like me.”
“I would save the middle class,” he said. “I know what to do. Our jobs are all being taken out of our country.”
8. He once compared gay people to golf clubs.
Speaking about same-sex marriage in 2011, Trump told The New York Times, “It’s like in golf. . . A lot of people – I don’t want this to sound trivial – but a lot of people are switching to these really long putters, very unattractive.”
“It’s weird,” he went on. “You see these great players with these really long putters, because they can’t sink three-footers anymore. And I hate it. I am a traditionalist.”
But don’t worry! He has “many fabulous friends who happen to be gay,” he says.