2016 wasn’t a great year for anyone… but especially not anyone working in politics. From Russia to Iceland, to the United States, citizens witnessed the most incredible year in government and policy. All around the world, there were scandals, shockers, and changes that rocked the globe, transforming the political landscape as we know it- just in time for 2017.
From the potential Russian hacks, the heartbreak of Aleppo, the rise of The Donald and of course, Brexit, check out this recap of what was probably, the craziest year in international politics, with the most unbelievable moments in recent history.
The Russian Hack
In the most recent of worldwide political insanity, the U.S. government has identified hacks designed to influence the 2016 election by Russia. The most recent news offers evidence that Putin himself put in the order to conduct the hacks, which were implemented to discredit Hillary Clinton and help boost Trump’s potential candidacy.
Trump, who has denied the evidence of hacking, has gone on to endorse Putin for being smart, and suggest that everyone just move on from the hacking. He’s even suggested that he knows more about hacking than he lets on and that the government should go back to using couriers and paper documents to cover up a trail.
The soft-spoken and somewhat sullen Ben Carson, who is known for his bizarre statements, declared his belief that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to be U.S. presidents. Carson claimed that if a religion “fits within the realm of America and consistent with the Constitution, no problem,” but that the Muslim religion, specifically, wasn’t in line with American values.
For members of Congress who were Muslims, Carson said that if they announced Sharia law that was fine, but otherwise, should not be allowed to participate in American politics. The remarks were inspired by a Trump supporter who referred to Obama as a “Muslim” at a rally, without the President-Elect disagreeing with him.
Trump’s Dig At John McCain
Trump decided to throw some shade at Republican John McCain’s time as a prisoner of war, suggesting that he didn’t try hard enough. The Arizona senator, who is considered a war hero, wasn’t in Trump’s eyes simply because he was caught. McCain was a prisoner at what’s referred to as the “Hanoi Hilton”, and the victim of repeated beatings and torture.
“He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured,” he said during an appearance in Iowa. Trump later clarified that he did not feel that McCain did enough for war veterans, which is why he suggested that he wasn’t heroic.
Mike Huckabee’s Israel Commentary
Controversial Republican candidate Mike Huckabee shocked leaders around the world and U.S. policy makers when he said Barack Obama was on the brink of causing another Holocaust. He criticized the Iran deal, saying that by dealing with the Iranians, Obama “Will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.”
Even government officials who opposed the Iran deal criticized Mike Huckabee, saying that the statements were inappropriate. While the brash comments did result in Huckabee actually having some recognition in the election, he continued to not gain traction or any kind of significant support from voters.
Jeb Bush’s Economy Ideas
The solution to boosting the economy? Don’t ask Jeb Bush. In response to questions about how we should boost the economy, Bush, who was originally in the running to be the Republican candidate, suggested that we all just work a little harder. His out of touch response didn’t bode well for his already dwindling popularity with voters.
“People need to work longer hours,” Bush said, as if to suggest that the American economy was only the responsibility of citizens to improve. He later elaborated on his original comments, saying that he meant part-time workers should be provided more opportunities to work, rather than full-time workers would have to work more.
The Blood Coming Out Of Her…
President-elect Trump made more waves with his disparaging remarks about Megyn Kelly after the first GOP debate, back in the summer of 2016. Enraged by the questions, Trump went on a tirade after the debate. He accused her of unfair questioning, calling them “ridiculous” and even went as far as to blame her menstruation cycle as the reason behind it.
“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever,” Trump said, in a statement that he later clarifying, to say that he was referring to her nose. This was only corrected after immediate backlash ensued from the public. Later in the campaign, the early remarks were still referred to frequently, with reporters not buying Trump’s corrected version.
Jeb Bush’s Iraqi War Stance
Jeb Bush continued to confuse voters with his inconsistent views on big issues, such as the Iraqi War. Bush went back and forth on whether or not he would have deployed troops to Iraq if he had been President. He continued to stumble after he was pressed for more information, and after a few unsuccessful attempts to form an opinion, he finally said that he would not have gone.
He tried to bring up Hillary Clinton, citing that she also said she would have gone to Iraq, stating “I would have authorized the invasion, and so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody.”
Iceland’s Lack of Government
At the end of 2016, Iceland didn’t have a government and hadn’t for nearly two months. Former Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned due to a tax scandal, and after the citizens demanded that they hold an election, the government pushed back, saying that it would be at least six months before an election was held.
According to another Iceland official, Johannes Kristjansson, many other officials were involved in the tax scandal but went unnamed. A revolution was promised by the anti-government “Pirate Party,” but never happened. Any efforts to rebuild the cabinet, hold an election, or take back the government have failed.
Castro and Obama Awkward Handshake
During a controversial move to meet with Fidel Castro, reporters captured what was an incredibly awkward handshake between Barack Obama and Fidel Castro. What was supposed to be a handshake, or maybe a high give, Castro awkwardly held Obama’s arm up by the wrist, as Obama grinned and gestured with his other hand.
Unfortunately, it got more attention than their actual handshake, which was called a historic handshake, and occurred at the Summit of the Americas in Panama City. The two nations had not met in over 50 years, and the meeting was planned by both to help break tensions.
Trump’s Taiwan Call
In the first of many political don’ts, Trump accepted a congratulatory phone call from Taiwan, breaking political protocol by not going through the proper channels. The move created outcry worldwide, especially from China, who immediately pointed to Trump’s inexperience and lack of respect for political correctness.
Most politicians also blamed Taiwan, calling it a sneaky move on behalf of the small island nation, who have competed with China for trade. According to insiders, the call was not as random as it appeared, and was a deliberate move to show that Trump intended to stick to his outlier strategy, sending a message around the world that he intended to break protocol.
Bernie Sanders & The Damn Emails
Bernie Sanders, a favorite of many young Democrats, chose to opt out of the Hillary Clinton email scandal, choosing to forego the opportunity to go after her. Since the email controversy began, many Democrats and Republicans publicly criticized the candidate, demanding a federal investigation.
While admitting that it wasn’t a great political move, Sanders stated that he believed the “American people are sick and tired of hearing about damn emails,” a statement that of course, Clinton agreed with. Of course, after that, it was revealed in an email leak that the Democratic Party privately preferred Clinton as their presidential candidate, attempting to give her an unfair advantage over the well-liked Sanders.
Ben Carson’s Middle East Confusion
In another odd rant, Ben Carson seemed to be confused about the conflict in the Middle East. He incorrectly cited Russians to be there, as well as Chinese soldiers, which he later clarified in a pre-prepared statement to the press. He even promised to provide more context about his statements, promising to supply research to back up his original comments, but later backtracked.
The portion of Carson’s statements that he knew more than White House intelligence drew the most criticism, saying that his resources must be better. one White House official said that the declaration literally rendered him speechless and that he couldn’t believe that Carson would make such a claim.
President-elect Trump is known for his outlandish statements, but his remark about bombing the [expletive]” out of ISIS is high on the list. “ISIS is making a tremendous amount of money because of the oil that they took away,” Trump said at a rally in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
“I would bomb the [expletive] out of them,” Trump continued. “I’d blow up every single inch, there would be nothing left.” While the worldwide frustrations and devastation over the acts of ISIS are apparent, no other world leader has been as brash and blunt as Trump in their plans for retaliation.
Hillary Clinton’s Strange Email Quips
The former secretary of state downplayed her missing emails in a series of jokes that left reporters confused, and at least a little annoyed. When asked whether or not she “wiped” her server of the emails, Clinton replied with, “What, like with a cloth or something?” She segued into assuring the group of reporters that she was cooperating fully with federal investigators.
In another odd quip, Clinton made a comment about social platform Snapchat. She said that her favorite feature of the platform was the fact that messages disappeared. The attempt at humor was lost on most, especially Republicans, who called Clinton’s remarks insensitive and inappropriate.
The Syrian Refugee Crisis
The Syrian Refugee crisis is one of the biggest events in world-wide news in 2016, with the crisis displacing over 13.5 million Syrians worldwide. Some nations offered asylum, with Turkey, Germany, and Lebanon taking in the largest amounts of refugees. While the crisis began in 2011, it reached an epidemic when people started washing up on Turkish beaches, having drowned when trying to cross the sea.
While Greece was widely praised for their efforts in assisting the refugees by the Chief of the UN, he also requested that other countries pitch in as well. When the United States started to accept refugees, some citizens resisted the efforts, stating fears of terrorism and overpopulation as the reasons.
Jeb Bush’s “Anchor Babies”
In a peculiar rant about immigrant children, Jeb Bush seemed confused himself as he described the need to block pregnant immigrant women from coming into the country to have children. Calling them “anchor babies”, Bush later corrected himself, describing the “anchor babies” as the children of Asians who immigrate.
Jeb Bush, who didn’t gain the full-fledged support of the other Bush men and former Presidents, got significant backlash for his statements, where he said: “If people are bringing — pregnant women are coming in to have babies simply because they can do it, then there ought to be greater enforcement.”
Carson’s Insensitive Shooting Remarks
Ben Carson is known for his strange quips, but his remarks after a shooting at a community college in Oregon were just offensive. Carson, during a segment filmed for Fox and Friends, seemed to suggest that the victims of the deadly attack didn’t do enough to protect themselves, or stop the gunman.
The remark was especially off, specifically stating that he would want a potential victim to charge the gunman, with the rest of the crowd, because during a robbery incident at a Popeye’s Chicken years earlier, Carson himself said he directed the gunman towards the poor cashier standing behind the counter instead of attacking him, the customer.
Trump’s “That Face” Comments
In an interview with Rolling Stone, President Trump made several brash remarks against Republican Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, but not for her skills or experience in politics. He openly mocked her appearance, expressing disgust at her face in particular. He questioned whether or not anyone would want Fiorina as their president, based solely on her looks.
“Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!” Trump said, in remarks that he later rephrased. After the interview, Trump said that he hadn’t meant the statements in the way they were perceived by the press and that he found Fiorina to be very beautiful.
In one of the most surprising political events of 2016, Great Britain voted to exit the United Kingdom in an exit dubbed “Brexit” to the shock of most European citizens. Many didn’t expect “Brexit” to pass, and it passed with only 52% of the vote. The pass will result in the exit in March of 2017.
The move has significant implications for the country, who already suffer with the pound being at its lowest value in nearly thirty years. Influential leaders, such as the UK Prime Minister Theresa May haven’t approved the move, but says she will respect the will of the people.
Aleppo, a city in war-torn Syria, was also one of the largest stories in international news last year. The citizens of Aleppo have endured a violent four years of war, with frequent bombings and airstrikes. Many children don’t attend school and seldom play outside, families fight starvation and live secluded lives. The city is divided in the east and west, with hospitals and other civilian areas targeted.
The global community has responded with criticisms of Russia, who continue to bomb the city, despite the devastation it caused people. While many have fled the city, many still remain, trapped in the city due to ground troops.