The most inflammatory Donald Trump tweets

Just a few short years ago, subscribing to the president's Twitter feed meant subscribing to a measured diet of peacefully anodyne messages about government policy. That all changed on January 20, 2017. From the moment Donald Trump was sworn in as commander in chief, subscribing to the president's Twitter feed meant unleashing an non-stop deluge of drama, insults, and shouty opinions direct into your brain-hole. There were firings that took place over Twitter. Tweets which directly contradicted stuff Trump himself had said just moments earlier. And who could forget the stream of fascinating new words like "covfefe?"

But even amidst all this linguistic excitement, one genre of Trump tweet stood out. You know the sort. The sort of tweet where Trump says something so outrageous that the entire world instantly lets out out a collective "WHAAAAA?" The sort of tweet where Trump picks fights, discusses women's anatomy, or declares he's just launched an unprovoked nuclear attack on Rhode Island. But what are the most outrageous Trump tweets the internet has seen? Read on.

Telling four nonwhite Democratic congresswomen to go home

Back when he was still mostly known as a reality star, Donald Trump made a political name for himself by suggesting Barack Obama hadn't been born in the USA (historical spoiler alert: he had.) Even back then, the suggestion seemed racist, but at least there was the fig leaf of Hawaii's accession date kinda covering it a little bit. By the time July, 2019 rolled around though, Trump was through with bothering to protect his modesty. After a week of headlines featuring members of the four-woman Democratic "Squad" criticizing border detentions, Trump fired off a tweet telling them to go back to their own countries. 

Now might be a good time to mention that all members of the Squad are nonwhite. Now might also be a good time to mention that three of the four were born in the USA.

Although Trump didn't specifically name anyone in his tweet, it was pretty clear who he was talking about (via BBC). Squad members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib have all spent the 116th Congress auditioning for the role of "thorn in Trump's side" and, apparently, they've succeeded. The media backlash was pretty unambiguous that telling nonwhite Americans to go home was super racist, but Trump wasn't done with the Squad yet. Not 30 days later, he was tweeting Israel, telling them not to let Talib and Omar visit. Israel subsequently barred the two congresswomen (via CNBC).

Tweeting Hillary Clinton's image alongside anti-Semitic tropes

Back in the heady days of summer 2016, the one point Trump's tweets liked to hammer over and over again was that Hillary Clinton was corrupt. This ain't particularly unusual in a presidential campaign. What was unusual was the graphic Trump used in one tweet to demonstrate Clinton's corruption. The picture showed an image of Hillary's face, alongside a gigantic pile of money, and the words "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!" pasted across a Star of David.

As Vox explains, one of the oldest anti-Semitic tropes in the book is the one where evil, moneyed Jews use all their evil money to influence corrupt gentile politicians. The fact that it was a friggin' Star of David that was alongside Clinton didn't reassure people that Trump wasn't resurrecting this unfortunate meme. The tweet had barely gone live when its anti-Semitic connotations were being called out.

To be fair to Trump, he fixed the tweet after only a couple of hours, replacing the Star of David with a circle. Unfortunately, he gave his replacement image the hashtag #AmericaFirst! According to The Guardian, this is a phrase originally used by Nazi-supporting Americans in the run up to WWII. Jeez. That's either real unfortunate or just really racist.

That buying Greenland tweet that killed a royal visit

Not every inflammatory thing Donald Trump tweets is racist. Sometimes, he just likes to throw out something utterly bizarre, like a naughty child dropping a dead rat down a classmate's back, just to see what will happen. Into the "dead rat twitter equivalent" category falls this tweet about Greenland. In August 2019, Trump tweeted an image of a small town in Greenland dwarfed by a gigantic Trump tower. The not very reassuring caption was "I promise not to do this to Greenland!" Here's some advice: if you frequently have to promise not to build tacky towers on random islands, you may need to rethink your approach to politics.

The tweet may have in itself just been bizarre, but in context it caused outrage in both Greenland and Denmark (Greenland is an autonomous Danish territory.) Just the day before, Trump had floated the idea of buying Greenland for "strategic reasons," (via the Guardian). You probably won't be surprised to hear that Greenlanders weren't too hot on the idea of being bought by a foreign power, like colonialism was still a thing.

There were real world consequences from the tweet. After Denmark's prime minister replied that it was absurd and reiterated that Greenland wasn't for sale, Trump retaliated by canceling a state visit to Copenhagen (via BBC).

The series of tweets attacking "Charlie Hebdo" after gunmen shot up their offices

On January 7, 2015, two gunmen linked to Al-Qaeda stormed into the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and shot 12 people dead. Coming 10 months before the much deadlier Paris Attacks, the Charlie Hebdo massacre shocked the Western world. The cartoonists had been targeted specifically for mocking Islam, and the defiant phrase Je suis Charlie ("I am Charlie") was soon sweeping across Twitter.

Well, almost. There was one glaring exception. One week later, on January 14, Donald Trump weighed in on the tragedy ... by insulting Charlie Hebdo. In one tweet he wrote, "Charlie Hebdo reminds me of the 'satirical' rag magazine Spy that was very dishonest and nasty and went bankrupt. Charlie was also broke!," following it up a few minutes later with "If the morons who killed all of those people at Charlie Hebdo would have just waited, the magazine would have folded — no money, no success!" Jesus, Donald! Pick your battles, dude!

Amazingly, Trump's digs at Charlie Hebdo weren't the only inappropriate things he tweeted in the wake of the mass shooting. The very day the attack unfolded, Trump fired off a tweet blaming France's strict gun control laws for the tragedy. Because it's not like you'd get an Islamist terrorist massacring a building full of innocent people in the gun lovin' USA.

The "extremely credible" Birther source

Hands up who remembers Birtherism! The preeminent conspiracy theory among dingbats in the early 2010s, Birtherism postulated that Barack Obama was ineligible to be president because he was born outside the USA. In some versions, he was supposedly born in Kenya, while in others he was born in Hawaii, but Hawaii hadn't joined the union yet. But don't spend too long worrying about the ins and outs, because it was all bunkum. Not that this stopped some influential people from peddling it, including a certain ex-property mogul turned reality TV billionaire.

To list all of Donald Trump's Birther tweets would take until the heat death of the universe. There's a full list on Twitter if you really want to look, but here we're just gonna focus on the most inflammatory of all. One was the tweet stating an "extremely credible source" had called Trump's office to tell him Obama's birth certificate was faked. The other was the tweet where Trump implied Obama had organized a plane crash to kill the guy who signed his birth certificate.

Hilarious as it seemed at the time, Trump's birtherism did a lot to stoke the flames of similar conspiracy theories that would become such a huge part of the 2016 election. It also helped force Obama to actually release his birth certificate (via CNN), in what now seems like an early warning that the conspiracy clowns on Twitter would soon be calling the shots.

Mocking a guy with nuclear weapons during a tense diplomatic standoff

There aren't many people in the world who deserve mocking more than Kim Jong-un. The pudgy leader of North Korea is despot whose family business is torturing people. But, y'know, there's a time and a place to stand up to the bullies, and it's definitely not when one of those bullies is threatening to hurl nuclear weapons at you. Not that the thought of Hawaii or Anchorage going up in a cloud of radioactive fire stopped Trump. During the middle of a tense diplomatic standoff with North Korea, the president called Kim names and made oblique references to who had the bigger trouser snake.

Let's set the scene: It's fall 2017, and the world is super worried North Korea's crazy leader is about to start a nuclear war. As South Korea works to lower the temperature, Trump cranks the thermostat right the way back up, first by calling Kim "Little Rocket Man," and then by tweeting that his nuclear button is "bigger and more powerful" (via BBC). Yep, that's a nuclear standoff reduced to a dong measuring contest.

Despite Trump's tweets, the North Korean hotplate gradually cooled, ultimately leading to a number of face-to-face meetings between Trump and Kim in which neither man offered to measure the other's nuclear button. Trump even credited his mocking tweets with allowing the diplomatic breakthrough (via the Week).

The "my wife is hotter than yours" tweet

No mothers, no wives. That's the code of honor among gangsters. But what would make even the mafia blanch is apparently up for grabs in a presidential primary. In March 2016, amid a viscous tussle between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination, Trump sent out a tweet that hit so far below the belt as to be positively subterranean. A picture of Cruz's wife Heidi and Trump's wife Melania side by side, the tweet basically amounted to Trump bragging to Cruz "my wife is hotter than yours!"

There's no doubt that Melania is a good looking woman. There's also no doubt that Oh my God, are we actually seriously discussing this? If the relative attractiveness of a spouse was the key thing needed in a president, the Oval Office would just be permanently roped off with tape reading "reserved for the wife of Chris Hemsworth." Coming at a time when many were already accusing Trump of misogyny, it didn't exactly scream that this was a guy who respected women.

Still, Heidi Cruz has since told The Atlantic that the tweet didn't bother her. No, what bothered her was when the Trump-aligned National Enquirer followed up with a bogus story about her husband cheating on her. Classy.

Congratulating himself in the wake of a mass shooting

On June 12, 2016, a 29-year-old security guard who'd declared allegiance to ISIS stormed into Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and killed 49 people. At the time, it was the deadliest mass shooting in US history. In the aftermath of the carnage, the world tried to figure out if the shooting had been an anti-LGBT hate crime (Pulse was a gay nightclub) or just a straight-up terrorist attack. Thoughts and prayers were offered, vigils were held ... and then there was Donald Trump, congratulating himself on predicting the massacre.

At 9:43 am, mere hours after the gunman had been shot and the surviving hostages freed, Trump tweeted: "Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don't want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!" It was a tweet that managed the remarkable feat of taking the deadliest post-9/11 terror attack in America and turning it not into an event to be memorialized, but a gigantic monument to Trump's ego.

In a better world, the backlash would have forced Trump to at least remove the tweet, but he didn't and it's still there to read in all its awful glory. What's next, using 9/11 to flog MAGA caps and Trump-branded cologne?

Telling Russia he's about to bomb their ally

One of the reasons the Syrian civil war was such a gigantic, miserable mess is that it was a proxy war between several major powers. That meant no outside country could just go in, remove Assad, and take on ISIS without potentially triggering WWIII. Especially when one of the countries protecting Assad was nuclear-armed Russia. So, yeah, Syria was something everyone had to be very careful when handling, which is why this tweet from Trump was potentially so dangerous. After reports came through that Assad had gassed civilians (again) in April 2018, Russia's foreign ministry ominously warned the Americans not to strike, or face retaliatory fire. Trump responded by tweeting that American missiles "will be coming, nice, new and 'smart!'" 

The threat to bomb Russia's ally at a time of high tension was about as disruptive as you'd expect. Europe's air traffic control had to issue warnings that any airplane flying over the eastern Mediterranean might be hit by an incoming missile (via CNBC), a sentence that presumably caused many soiled underpants. There was also the risk of all-out war. Russia had earlier threatened to bomb any American bases that fired missiles into Syria, which would've been the biggest provocation since Pearl Harbor.

To be fair, Trump rolled it back not 40 minutes later, tweeting "stop the arms race?" To be even fairer, he wouldn't have had to do any rolling at all if he'd not sent the original tweet.

Lying about London's mayor in the aftermath of a terror attack

On June 3, 2017, three terrorists drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge, before leaping out and stabbing survivors. In the eight minutes before police shot the attackers dead, eight people were killed, while nearly 50 were injured. Coming within months of a similar attack on Westminster Bridge and the horrific Manchester Arena bombing, it understandably caused a lot of fear that Britain's streets weren't safe. In London, mayor Sadiq Khan announced more police would be deployed, and "there was no reason to be alarmed" by the sight of so many armed officers (police don't routinely carry guns in Britain.) 

All nice and straightforward, huh? Not if you're Donald Trump. The day after the attack, Trump tweeted, "At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and London mayor says there is 'no reason to be alarmed!'", thereby implying — to a mostly American audience who mostly hadn't read Khan's actual statement — the mayor of London was utterly unbothered by a violent massacre taking place on his streets. There's twisting people's words and then there's just making crap up, Donald.

Amazingly, Trump's beef with Khan didn't stop there. As The Guardian reports, Trump has since repeatedly tweeted about Khan, calling him a loser, saying he's a national disgrace, and retweeting a far-right British commentator who referred to London under Khan as "Londonistan." Is this in any way connected to Khan being Muslim? Take a wild friggin' guess.

Retweeting the Clinton body count conspiracy after Epstein's suicide

The downfall and death of Jeffery Epstein has been one of the craziest stories of the last couple of years. A teacher turned multimillionaire financier who cavorted with the stars, Epstein was subsequently revealed to be a sexual predator, charged with sex trafficking, and then died before he could go to trial. The whole thing felt like a film noir, with Epstein being a noted associate of movers and shakers across the globe. Who raised on a diet of thriller movies wouldn't believe these powerful men and women conspired to have him killed? The answer: not Donald Trump!

In the aftermath of Epstein's suicide, Trump retweeted a comedian-turned-Fox News commentor who claimed Epstein should now be added to the "Clinton body count" (via Newsweek). If you've not heard — and, honestly, lucky you — the Clinton body count is a conspiracy theory that claims people connected to the Clintons frequently die suspicious deaths. It probably doesn't help that Epstein really was a previous associate of the Clintons. But you know who else he was an associate of? Donald Trump (via Vox). There. See how easy this conspiracy stuff is?

It was conservative commentator Andrew Eggar who probably summed up Trump's retweet best: "Whatever happens, the correct explanation for it is not which explanation is likeliest or most supported by the evidence, but whichever one is best for him [Trump] or worse for his enemies."

Retweeting Britain's most lunatic far-right group

If Britain First were a person, it'd be the terminally drunk, terminally violent racist on the back of a London bus, shouting abuse at anyone who doesn't look like they were cloned by combing the DNA of a bulldog with an undercooked gammon steak. The UK's most notorious far-right group, Britain First surfaced in 2011, before spending the next few years engaging in anti-Islam stunts like invading mosques and cultivating ties to Northern Ireland's violent loyalist paramilitaries (via Channel 4). Both its leader and deputy have been jailed for hate crimes (via BBC), while its leader has separately been recorded admitting he beat two of his ex-girlfriends (also via BBC).

The short version is Britain First is run by extremely not-nice people, spreading an extremely not nice ideology, while possibly trying to bring religious conflict back to Northern Ireland. If there's one group you don't want to retweet, it's them. So when Trump retweeted three of their videos in 2017, it caused an absolute poop storm.

According to the BBC, Trump retweeted one video falsely claiming to show a migrant attacking a man on crutches, and two videos of violence from Syria and Egypt shorn of their context (one showed a mob pushing a man off a roof without mentioning the Egyptian state later arrested and executed the perpetrators.) The outrage this sparked in Britain was so great Trump was later forced to apologize. Hey, there's a first time for everything.