US Politics: Donald Trump's strangest moments

US President Donald Trump
Trump addresses the press in Washington this week

Donald Trump left everyone stunned with his ridiculous comments about disinfectant this week, so Max Liu has picked five of the US president's strangest moments...

"Trump is 2.111/10 to win the election, marginally shorter than Joe Biden 2.265/4 who is all but certain to be the Democratic Party candidate."

"He said whaaaat?" It's been a refrain for the past four years, as Donald Trump has consistently made statements that would usually be unthinkable for a US president. Every time Trump makes a preposterous pronouncement - be it concerning his own "genius", foreign policy or public health - some liberal commentators begin writing his political obituary.

And yet every time Trump carries on. He is 1.061/18 to be the Republican Party nominee for this year's election and it would be a major shock if they were to ditch him in favour of, say, vice president Mike Pence 36.035/1. What's more, Trump is 2.111/10 to win the election, marginally shorter than Joe Biden 2.265/4 who is all but certain to be the Democratic Party candidate.

Disinfectant to solve pandemic

Trump has thrived in the age of disinformation but, with his comments this week about injecting disinfectant into human bodies to cure coronavirus, has he gone too far? He's since said he was being "sarcastic", after doctors dismissed the comments as "dangerous and irresponsible", and Dettol issued a statement telling people not to try Trump's suggestion at home.

Some commentators think the incident might be a tipping point for Trump's presidency. But his contempt for expertise is legendary and has helped to cement his popularity with some Americans. Trump was a record 19 months into his presidency before he appointed a science adviser - to offer advice on, among other things, disease outbreaks - an appointment many presidents make before they take office.

"I could shoot somebody..."

Back in January 2016, when he was campaigning in Iowa ahead of the opening primary of the race to be the Republican candidate for president, Trump made an outlandish claim about the strength of his support base. "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters," the candidate told a rally. Ted Cruz won the primary, but only narrowly, and Trump went on to win in New Hampshire the following week. The statement embodies the air of impunity that Trump has carried from the campaign trail into the White House and which he hopes will serve him well in this year's election.

Trump sits down with Putin

At the G20 meeting in Germany in July 2017, Trump got up from his seat during a dinner and sat down next to Russian president Vladimir Putin. Trump's aides had no prior warning that he was planning to do this. The White House initially tried to keep secret the meeting, with Trump dismissing it as "fake news" even though there were eye witnesses. It came just hours after Trump said he accepted Putin's denial that Russia didn't intervene in the 2016 presidential election. There was nobody present to take notes of the conversation between the leaders of the two countries, which not so long ago in historical terms spent almost half-a-century locked in an ideological war, so we'll never know what was said.

Boy scouts bemused by Trump's bragging

"Who the hell wants to speak about politics?" was how Trump opened his gob-smackingly inappropriate address to America's boy scouts in 2017. He then talked politics for most of the speech, attacking Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, talking up his own achievements and threatening to fire his cabinet members. Every president is the scouts' honorary president and, in the past, Trump's predecessors have used their speeches to the national jamboree to talk about duty and honour. Not Trump who used it to score political points and, at one point, ramble on about a cocktail party he attended with "the hottest people in New York." The organisers were inundated with complaints from angry parents.

The mystery of 'covfefe'

Trump's ability to create distractions and confusion was exemplified by what he tweeted at 12:06 a.m. on 31 May 31 2017: "Despite the constant negative press covfefe." The world was baffled. Was it a typo? A code for something sinister? Had Trump tweeted it in his sleep? Six hours later, the president followed up:

To this day, nobody is sure what it meant. Between now and November's election, we can expect more deranged distraction of the covfefe type as Trump tries to prevent his presidency from being defined by covid.

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