2016 has proven itself to be a politically exhausting year. Ever since Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton announced their candidacy – and since realizing Donald Trump’s campaign was a very real thing – America was on the edge of their seats for the 2016 Presidential Election. We collectively watched in pain as some of the wildest moments in politics unfolded in front of our eyes.
From Donald Trump’s brash antics to kooky primary speeches, presidential birds to machine gun bacon – yes, you read that right – we’ve gathered some of the craziest moments to happen in U.S. politics in the year 2016.
Ben Carson’s “Worst Student”
In January, republican candidate Ben Carson spoke at a private school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He tried to relate to the students by talking about his ineptitude as a boy in grade school. He began, “As a fifth-grade student, I was a horrible student. Anybody here in fifth grade?” After a group raised their hands, Carson asked jokingly, “Who’s the worst student?”
His joke, however, backfired as all the students pointed at one person in particular. The exchange went viral and Carson immediately came under fire for singling out a student like that. He tried to save himself by getting to the point of the story, which was that he soon dedicated himself to reading and mentoring and all his hard work had left him to become a neurosurgeon. After the rally, Carson had the chance to speak with the boy who was singled out telling him that he wanted the boy to become a neurosurgeon. Luckily, the boy laughed it off.
The Return of Sarah Palin
Former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin returned to the campaign trail, but not as a vice-presidential candidate like she was in 2008. In 2016, she made an appearance at Iowa State University to announce her endorsement of presidential nominee Donald Trump. She stood alongside Donald Trump, ready to “make America great again.” A lot of viewers, however, noticed how her enthusiasm was all over the place during her speech.
Many have referred to her speech as a form of slam poetry or some other type of performance art since she said things like “How about the rest of us? Right-winging, bitter-clinging, proud clingers of our guns, our God, and our religion, and our Constitution,” and “They stomp on our neck, and then they tell us, ‘Just chill, O.K., just relax.’ Well, look, we are mad, and we’ve been had. They need to get used to it.”
Ben Carson’s Awkward Entrance
In February during the Republican Presidential Debate, all of the candidates were announced to the stage to much applause. Except some candidates didn’t quite know what they were doing, namely Ben Carson. When his name was called he slowly walked into the walkway from the backstage to the stage and kind of just stood there, smiling at the camera. His applause died down and he began to walk up to his podium as they announced the next candidate to the stage. But for some reason, that’s when he decided to pause. Ted Cruz walked out onto the stage, confused as to why Carson was still standing in the walkway and continued onto his podium.
For some reason at this point, Carson still didn’t follow suit even after a producer tried to get him to take his cue. Donald Trump was announced and for some reason did the same thing as Carson. They both awkwardly stood there as Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush were called, who walked passed them and took their places. For over a minute Carson and Bush remained in the walkway before walking to their podiums. To make matters worse, this whole misunderstanding led the moderators to forget to announce the last candidate, John Kasich.
Rubio’s Repeat Argument
Later on in the GOP Debate, Marco Rubio would get into a heated argument with New jersey governor Chris Christie, who called him out on preparing for the debates by remembering only one speech. Rubio gained notoriety on the campaign trail for his speaking abilities, but Christie had been trying to paint Rubio as inexperienced.
At one point, Rubio would say one line over and over again, saying, “Let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barak Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. he knows exactly what he’s doing.” Rubio would repeat the same line three to four times, making it obvious that that’s how he prepared for the debates. The was a setback for Rubio’s campaign, who tried to defend Rubio by saying he was focusing on President Obama’s record.
Political activist and performance artist, Vermin Supreme, has run for president every four years since at least 2004. He is infamous for wearing a boot on his head and has run on a platform that advocates for teeth-brushing laws, time travel research, zombie apocalypse awareness, and free mandatory ponies for all Americans.
Not very many people take Supreme seriously, which is why it was odd to discover that he actually placed fourth in the New Hampshire Democratic primaries for the 2016 Presidential Election. With 256 votes, he came in behind former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley and beat out Republican candidate Jim Gilmore.
Ben Carson Backtracks
In an interview with CNN, Ben Carson was asked about his stance on same-sex marriage. He at first began with the stance that issues of that nature should be handled at the state level, but the interviewer elaborated saying that the government was working to correct the problem of giving gays equal rights, just like they did for people of color.
However, Carson said that that was not the same thing. After saying that people have no control over their race, Carson was asked if people have control over their sexuality, to which Carson replied, “absolutely.” He tried to support his argument by saying “a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight, and when they come out, they’re gay.” Needless to say, Carson’s comments sparked outrage and he was forced to take back what he said and apologize.
Trump’s Small Hands
Around March, Marco Rubio had grew tired of Trump calling him “Little Marco,” which he admitted that he understood due to their height difference. Rubio went on to say, however, that he couldn’t understand why someone of Trump’s height could have such small hands, saying “You know what they say about men with small hands… You can’t trust ’em.”
Of course, Trump is always one to defend himself when someone takes a jab at him, which is why at GOP debate Trump referenced Rubio’s joke by holding up his hands and saying, “Look at those hands. Are they small hands? And he referred to my hands – if they’re small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there’s no problem.” It was awkward, to say the least.
Bernie Shushes Hillary
In March during the CNN Democratic Presidential Debate, candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton got into a very heated exchange during their time in Flint, Michigan. It was Sanders’ turn to talk on the subject of the 2008 financial setback when he said, addressing Hillary, “If you are talking about the Wall Street bailout, where some of your friends destroyed this economy.”
At that point, Hillary began to interject, but Bernie was quick to shut her down, wagging his finger and saying, “Excuse me, I’m talking!” It was a shocking moment during the debates and many viewers had mixed opinions about the interaction. While many viewed it as a man talking down to a woman, other viewed it as Sanders trying to assert his opinion after continually being interrupted and talked over by Clinton.
Bernie Sanders and the Bird
Later that month, Sanders was in Portland, Oregon to campaign for the Washington caucus and the Oregon primary. During his speech, a small House Finch landed on the stage and many in the crowd tried to get Bernie to notice. After he did, the finch flew up to the podium and the crowd went wild.
Sanders commented, “I think there may be some symbolism here. That bird is really a dove asking us for world peace. No more wars.” The fact that the bird flew up to Bernie as he was addressing it was seen as a miraculous moment for those in the crowd. It became a very popular for Sanders’s campaign and the bird subsequently began trending on Twitter as #BirdieSanders.
Trump’s Unfortunate Mixup
One of Trump’s major talking points for his campaign is his advocacy for New York City after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Despite this, he made a major mistake when speaking at one of his rallies in Buffalo. He said, “I wrote this out, and it’s very close to my heart because I was down there and I watched our police and out firemen down at 7/11, down at the World Trade Center right after it came down.”
You read that right. Trump confused listeners when he said “seven eleven” as opposed to “nine eleven,” leading many to believe that he confused the 9/11 attacks with 7-Eleven the convenience store. Even worse, he didn’t even take the time to correct himself.
Carly Fiorina Sings
Carly Fiorina was the only female Republican candidate for president who had dropped out earlier in the race, but in April, in an attempt to gain momentum against Trump, Ted Cruz announced that Fiorina would be his running mate should he win the Republican nomination.
Fiorina graciously accepted his offer and during her speech she spoke fondly of the Cruz family, even mentioning Cruz’s daughters Catherine and Caroline, to whom she began awkwardly singing a lullaby in front of the entire crowd. Apparently, she had a somewhat close relationship with Cruz’s daughters while they were both on the campaign trail together, texting them and singing them lullabies.
Trump’s Wild Accusation
In May, Donald Trump went piggy-backed off of a National Enquirer story that claimed Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, was pictured with Lee Harvey Oswald in 1963 shortly before the assassination of then-president John F. Kennedy. Trump insinuated that Cruz’s father might have had something to do with the assassination.
But Cruz’s campaign debunked the story, claiming that it was “another garbage story in a tabloid full of garbage.” There was no actual evidence that the man pictured with Oswald was, in fact, Rafael Cruz, despite claims that they looked strikingly similar. With no hard evidence, there was no way to prove that Rafael Cruz had anything to do with the JFK assassination and this was just another instance of Trump making wild accusations.
Within a week of being announced as Ted Cruz’s vice-presidential running mate, Carly Fiorina hit the campaign trail with the Cruz’s. At a rally in Lafayette, Indiana, Fiorina was revving up the crowd as she began to introduce Ted Cruz and his family as the “next first family.”
After Cruz, his wife and kids walk out on stage, Fiorina seemingly disappears from the stage, as if she fell through some sort of trap door. The only person who seemed to notice Fiorina’s fall was Cruz’s wife, Heidi, who promptly helped her back up. Ted Cruz did not seem to notice or care about the incident.
Cinco de — Oh, No
On Cinco de Mayo, Donald Trump ignited the Twitter-sphere once again when he posted a photo of himself eating a taco bowl with the caption “Happy #CincoDeMayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!” The tweet, of course, caused quite the stir.
While Cinco De Mayo is mostly celebrated by Americans as a Mexican holiday – not one attributed to all Hispanics, as Trump mentions – Trump’s tweet made him seem rather tone deaf. In addition to that, he met further criticism because taco bowls aren’t even an authentic Mexican dish and many people thought that he was stereotyping minorities. Whether or not Trump knew what he was doing, he certainly got everyone to be talking about him once again.
Lincoln Chafee’s Plan
When former Rhode Island governor announced his bid as a Democratic candidate for the 2016 Presidential campaign, one of the most striking proposals for his campaign was to have America switch to the metric system like the rest of the world.
He said that switching to the metric system would be “good for our economy, bottom line,” saying that the plan “could save companies money and help avoid mistakes in measurements and international trade.” It was a bold proposal and something that could not be done inexpensively or easily, but it was probably one of the only times Chafee’s name was even mentioned during the Presidential Elections.
More Racist Trump Comments
By June, Donald Trump had already found himself in the middle of a lawsuit involving fraud with his Trump University real estate seminar program. The judge assigned to the case was Indiana-born U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who was born in America but whose parents were naturalized U.S. citizens from Mexico.
Trump made the claim that he was being given an unfair trial and that the judge was biased because of Trump’s stance on immigration, his comments about building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and because Judge Curiel was of Mexican heritage. He tried to rescind his comments by saying what he said was misconstrued that he didn’t believe that “one’s heritage makes them incapable of being impartial.”
Melania the Muppet
Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, was announced as the main speaker at the Republican National Convention held in Cleveland in July. After she gave her speech, many were quick to notice how her speech closely resembled the speech Michelle Obama gave in 2008 during the Democratic National Convention.
It wasn’t just similar, some of the lines were seemingly copied word for word, leaving many to wonder how Melania thought she could get away with plagiarizing Michelle Obama. However, when this was noticed, nobody on the Trump campaign was fired and they defended themselves by saying that the speechwriters took note from Melania’s inspiration and her immigrant background. Needless to say, Melania became an internet joke overnight and it dampened her introduction into the presidential campaign.
Trump’s Brash Attack
In July, Trump was speaking at a rally in South Carolina where he chose to attack South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham. In the weeks leading up to this rally, Trump and Graham were already in a heated feud, calling each other names on several occasions.
Trump brought up a story from a few years prior, in which Graham was asking Trump to put in a good word for him on a Fox News Network show. Trump even went so far as to bring out a piece of paper with Graham’s number written on it, reading the number allowed for the audience and encouraging them to “try it,” probably as another attack at Graham.
An Unlikely Candidate
In July, America was confused when a candidate by the name of “Deez Nuts” appeared alongside Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on a televised poll. The brains behind the gag was one 15-year-old Brady Olson of Iowa, who filed paperwork with The Federal Election Commission to be a candidate for the presidency.
“Deez Nuts” received less than ten percent of the vote for public policy voting in several states, but many believed it was only because he was running as an independent party. Olson said he did this because out of “half trying to break the two-party system, half frustration with the front-runners.” When Rolling Stone asked Olson why they should vote for “Deez Nuts” over Trump, he said, “because I’m young and I think I have fresher ideas because whatever decisions I make would have longer effects on me.”
Trump’s Comments about Megyn Kelly
By August, Trump has already come under public scrutiny as instances of his womanizing and his misogynistic comments were starting to surface. When Trump was being interviewed by Fox News host Megyn Kelly, she asked him about comments he had made in the past, “such as calling some women ‘fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.'”
Trump felt that he was being attacked by Kelly, calling her “ridiculous and off-base” and even was interviewed later by Don Lemon, saying that “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” Many people took offense to this comment and Trump tried to defend himself by saying he meant “nose,” but the damage was already done. He was condemned by many in the Republican Party and was even dis invited from major political events.
A Man with a Purpose
In early August, one man alerted the city of New York when he began scaling Trump Tower in Manhattan using suction cups. He was climbing for more than two hours and was supported only by a harness. Police tried to apprehend the man, who changed his route on several occasions in an effort to evade them.
He was eventually caught by police who took out windows above him so that they could grab him as he passed by. He was an anonymous 20-year-old from Virginia who said in a message to Trump, “Believe me, if my purpose was not significant, I would not risk my life pursuing it. The reason I climbed your tower was to get your attention.”
Ted Cruz’s Cooking Methods
The Independent Journal Review made a series with many of the GOP candidates in some interesting situations, but none stood out quite like Ted Cruz making machine-gun bacon. Ted Cruz begins, “There are few things I enjoy more than on weekends cooking breakfast with the family. Of course in Texas, we cook bacon a little differently than most folks.”
The video then shows Cruz wrapping a strip of bacon around the barrel of a machine gun, wrapping it in foil, then using the gun to hit a target. We see oil spillage on the floor underneath the gun, an indication that the bacon had actually cooked and Cruz is shown eating some of it. In an effort to stand out against other candidates, this was certainly one of the most interesting methods.
Gary Johnson’s Fail
In September during a group interview onMSNBC’s Morning Joe, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson was asked, “What would you do if you were elected, about Aleppo?” Johnson clearly did not understand what interviewer, Mike Barnicle, was talking about, finally asking “And what is Aleppo?”
The panel had to explain that Aleppo was the epicenter of Syrian refugee crisis and once this was explained, Johnson knew how to navigate the question from there. But the fact that he didn’t know what Aleppo was off the bat has earned him criticism for having no knowledge of foreign policies as a presidential candidate.
Hillary Clinton Faints
During the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at Ground Zero, Hillary Clinton had to leave the ceremony rather abruptly. A Twitter video posted by a New Jersey citizen showed Clinton walking to her van and stumbling, having to be helped by her security before she got on.
The video was alarming, leaving many to wonder what was wrong with the Democratic nominee. Her doctor revealed that the episode was attributed to heat and dehydration and her campaign revealed later that day that Clinton was diagnosed with pneumonia just two days before. Thankfully she recovered gracefully, even though the episode was a minor setback for her campaign trail.
She Doesn’t Have the “Look”
During the first presidential debate in September, Donald Trump was asked to reiterate what he meant when he said that Hillary didn’t have “a presidential look.” Trump went on to say that “She doesn’t have the look. She doesn’t have the stamina, I said she doesn’t have the stamina and I don’t believe she does have the stamina,” elaborating by saying that she would be able to handle international relations.
Hillary Clinton had the best response: “As soon as he travels to 112 countries and negotiates a peace deal, a cease-fire, a release of dissidents, an opening of new opportunities in nations around the world, or even spends 11 hours testifying in front of a congressional committee he can talk to me about stamina.”
Many people were paying close attention to the California Senate race since it was between not only two democrats but also two minority women. Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez were on the debate stage in October. As Sanchez was going on about her stance when the debate moderator warned her that her time was up.
Just as Sanchez wrapped up, she proceeded to “dab,” which is a move that is popular among millennials to signify a sense of winning. Her opponent Kamala Harris stood there and said, “So, there’s a clear difference between the candidates in this race.” Many thought the exchange was both awkward and desperate.
The Infamous Conversation
In October, a video had surfaced, probably in a last-ditch effort to sway the public’s opinion on Donald Trump. The video was from 2005 and Donald Trump was recorded having a conversation with then-host of Access Hollywood, Billy Bush. In the video, Trump and Bush can be heard having an extremely lewd conversation about their interactions with women.
Trump can be heard talking about groping and forcefully kissing women, saying “when you’re a star, they let you do it.” This is the same video where Trump infamously said, “Grab ’em by the [expletive].” The video caused an uproar as Trump was exposed for the misogynistic womanizer that many believe him to be. He admitted to the video and apologized, but that did nothing to take away what was already said and done.
In the final presidential debate in late October, Hillary Clinton was explaining what she would do about raising taxes for the rich and tackling debts. She said, “My Social Security payroll contribution will go up, as will Donald’s, assuming he can’t figure out how to get out of it.” As Hillary said this, Donald said into his own microphone, “Such a nasty woman.”
Hillary did not address the comment as it was said and continued on with her point. But after the debate ended, #NastyWoman became a trend as the public was outraged that Trump would say something like that in the middle of her answer. This comment came just after Trump said earlier in the debate, “Nobody has more respect for women than I do.”
President Donald Trump
As election day came around, people were encouraging each other to vote as this was probably one of the most interesting elections to date in recent years. Millennials and democrats (and even many Republicans) alike were heavily campaigning for Hillary because they didn’t want Trump to win. The media even made it seem as if Hillary would win out over Trump, especially after all the criticism he has faced in the moments leading up to the election.
In the end, Trump won out with 306 electoral votes over Clinton’s 232. Although Hillary won the popular vote by millions, Trump was announced the new president-elect of the United States of America. Now, we just wait and see what happens next.