Trump Timeline (2015 - 2020)

Trump Campaigning Timeline (2020)        

 Trump Timeline pdf        

2015

June 16 – TV’s Donald Trump announced his run for president, riding an escalator down in front of paid spectators. Trump said, “When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're sending people that have lots of problems. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” (WP | YouTube)


October 28 – Trump signs a letter of intent (LOI) to construct a Trump-branded building in Moscow hours before the third Republican presidential debate. (LOI pdf | New Yorker | WP)


November 24 – Trump mocked a reporter with a disability at a rally in South Carolina. New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski has a chronic condition called arthrogryposis which affects the movement of his arms. (YouTube | Guardian)


December 5 – A trumped up, doctored letter signed by Dr. Harold Bornstein, said Trump would be the “healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” Bornstein later said Trump wrote his own health letter. (Guardian | NPR)


December 10 – Michael Flynn sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow RT dinner. Flynn made semi-regular appearances on RT as an analyst after he retired from U.S. service. (NYT | Wikipedia)



2016

January 23 – Trump said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Ave. and shoot somebody, okay, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s like incredible.” (Gawker | YouTube)


June 3 – Donald Trump Jr. emailed, “If it's what you say, I love it,” after Russians baited him with promises of damaging information on Hillary Clinton. (CNN | NYT | WP)


June 9 – Trump Tower meeting for “dirt” on Hillary Clinton with Russian lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, Kremlin-backed lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and five others. (WP | Wikipedia)


June 23 – Illinois State Board of Elections servers were attacked with malicious SQL inquiries by Russia's Internet Research Agency. Russia's IRA hit Illinois state board IP addresses five times per second until Aug. 12, when attacks abruptly ceased. (Chicago Sun-Times) All 50 states were targeted. (NYT | U.S. Senate)


July 12 – Russia's IRA buys ads on Facebook for the “Down with Hillary” rally in New York on July 23rd. (IRA Indictment | WP | Wikipedia)


July 27 – Trump invites Russian interference: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.“ (NYT | YouTube) Russian intelligence officers began a spearphishing attack on non-public Clinton campaign email accounts that night. (NBC | Mueller Report | Wikipedia )


July 31 – Trump belittled Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a slain Muslim-American soldier Humayun Khan. On July 28th at the DNC, Khizr Khan took issue with Trump's proposed ban on migration from majority-Muslim countries. Khizr offered to lend Trump his copy of the U.S. Constitution. (Wikipedia | YouTube)


August 20 – Russian trolls from the IRA held 17 “Florida Goes Trump” rallies across Florida. (IRA Indictment | WP)


October 7 – Trump brags of sexual assault in Access Hollywood video from 2005. Trump said: “I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab 'em by the pussy. You can do anything.” (NYT | YouTube)


~ October 17 – Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 to stop her from discussing her affair with Trump in 2006. (Wikipedia)


November 8 – Donald Trump elected president, losing the popular vote by the largest margin in United States history. Only four other times did a candidate lose the popular vote yet became president (1824, 1876, 1888, & 2000). The margin of victory in the electoral college was 0.13 or 56.5% with 304 electoral votes out of 538 (45 elections had higher margins and percentages). (Wikipedia)


2017

January 20 – Trump's inauguration crowd of 160,000. (CNN | FoxNews | Wikipedia)


January 21 – Women’s March of seven million worldwide, over 470,000 in Washington. (NYT)


January 27 – Trump's Muslim Ban was signed (Executive Order 13769). More than 700 travelers were detained, and up to 60,000 visas were “provisionally revoked.” (Wikipedia)


February 7 – At 3 a.m., Trump called retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn to ask which is better for the economy a strong dollar or a weak dollar. Flynn was more of a Russia expert than an economics expert. Flynn told Trump he didn’t know, that it wasn’t his area of expertise, that perhaps Trump should ask an economist instead. Trump was not thrilled with that response. (HuffPost)


February 27 – “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated,” Trump said. (CNN | YouTube)


March 2 – Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russian investigation. (CBS | NYT | WP)


May 9 – Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. (CNN | NYT | Wikipedia)


May 17 – Robert Mueller named as special counsel. Trump reacted by slumping back in his chair and saying, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I'm fucked.” (MarketWatch | Mueller Report pdf | Vox | Wikipedia)


May 31 – Trump tweeted, “Despite the negative press convfefe” (CNN | NYT | UrbanDictionary)


June 1 – Trump announced the U.S. would end all participation in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation. (CNN | Wikipedia | YouTube)


July 7 – Putin and Trump talk at the G20 in Germany and at dinner Trump went over to talk with Putin for another hour. (AP | NYT | YouTube)


July 20 – 10 a.m. Pentagon 2E924 Tank meeting: “You would totally go bankrupt if you had to run your own business,” Trump said. “You’re all losers. You don’t know how to win anymore. I want to win. We don’t win any wars anymore. I wouldn’t go to war with you people. You’re a bunch of dopes and babies.” (WP)


July 26 – The FBI conducted a pre-dawn raid of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's home. Manafort advised a Russia-friendly political party in Ukraine, helping to elect former president Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted from power amid public protests in 2014 and fled to Russia. In June 2017, Manafort had retroactively filed Foreign Agents Registration Act paperwork with new details about his work in Ukraine. (NPR | WP)


August 12 – Charlottesville white-nationalist's protest killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injured many others when a car plowed into a crowd of people. Trump said there were some “very bad people” on both sides and “there's blame on both sides,” but some who came out to protest the removal of Robert E. Lee's statue were “fine people.” (CNN | WP | YouTube)


September 22 – Trump criticized NFL football players for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against African-Americans. Trump said, “Get that son-of-a-bitch off the field. He's fired.” (USA Today | YouTube)


October 3 – Trump threw paper towel rolls at Hurricane Maria survivors in Puerto Rico. (CNN | NBC | YouTube)


December 22 – Trump signed the Tax Cuts Act 115–97. It cut corporate taxes, enabling companies to buy back their stocks. It cut estate taxes and other taxes for the rich. It will increase the national debt by $2 trillion over ten years. The top individual tax rate dropped to 37%. The Act cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% beginning in 2018. Trump said, “I think we could go to 4%, 5% or even 6% [GDP growth], ultimately.” (Wikipedia)

GDP reality check: 2.4% (2017), 2.9% (2018), 2.3% (2019), and -5.9% (2020e) (Wikipedia)



2018

January 11 – Trump yelled, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Bipartisan lawmakers were in the Oval Office trying to discuss protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries. “Why do we need more Haitians?” In November, Trump rescinded deportation protection granted to nearly 60,000 Haitians after the 2010 earthquake and told them to return home by July 2019. (YouTube | CNN | WP)


January 22 – Trump imposed tariffs on imported solar panels and washing machines. One year later, Trump’s washing-machine tariffs cost U.S. consumers $815,000 for every job created. Foreign manufacturers such as Samsung and LG raised prices to cover the tariffs. U.S. manufacturers, like Whirlpool, hiked prices because they could. (U of Chicago | WP)


February 2 – Trump announced new low-yield nuclear weapons. (Politico)


March 8 – Trump signed a 25% steel tariff and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports. (CNBC | NPR)


March 13 – Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson while he was halfway across the globe on a sensitive diplomatic mission to Africa to ease tensions caused by Trump’s demeaning insults about African countries. (CNN | NYT)


March 20 – A Channel 4 News investigation revealed Cambridge Analytica and its former Vice President Steve Bannon used Facebook data to target voters in battleground states to vote (for Trump) or not vote (for Clinton) with $15 million of funding from Robert Mercer. Cambridge Analytica invented “Crooked Hillary.” (YouTube 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 | NYT | Wikipedia)


March 22 – Trump added tariffs to $50 billion of Chinese goods - flat-screen televisions, weapons, satellites, medical devices, aircraft parts, and batteries. (Wikipedia)


April 4 – China announced tariffs of 25% on 106 items including automobiles, airplanes, and soybeans (the top U.S. agricultural export to China). (CNN | NYT | USA Today)


April 9 – The FBI raided the office, home, and hotel room of Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, through a search warrant with high-level approval. On August 21st, Cohen plead guilty to campaign finance violations, tax fraud, bank fraud, and other charges. (CNN)


April 30 – “Get rid of her! Get her out tomorrow. I don't care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. Okay? Do it,” Trump said about U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch private dinner attended by Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Lev Parnas. (ABC | CNBC | YouTube)


May 7 – “If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally. It’s not our fault that somebody does that,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (CNN)


May 9 – China canceled soybean orders from the U.S., buying from Brazil instead. (PBS)


May 10 – Trump fired Rear Adm. R. Timothy Ziemer, the White House official in charge of pandemic responses and disbanded the global health security team. (WP)


July 6 – Trump added 25% tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods. (Wikipedia)


July 16 – Trump and Putin met privately without aides or note-takers, with only their interpreters, for 90 minutes (but it took two hours). (CNN | NPR | NYT | Wikipedia)


August 21 – Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, plead guilty to eight counts including campaign finance violations, tax fraud, and bank fraud. Cohen said he violated campaign

finance laws at the direction of Trump and “for the principle purpose of influencing” the 2016 presidential election. In November 2018, Cohen entered a second guilty plea for lying to a Senate committee about efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. He was sentenced to three years in prison. (CNBC | NYT)


August 23 – Trump added 25% tariffs on another $16 billion of Chinese goods. (CNN | Wikipedia)


September 27 – Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while in high school. (CBS | NYT | WP | YouTube)


September 28 – Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) announced at 9:25 a.m. he would be voting to confirm Brett Kavanaugh from the Hart Senate Office building. Six minutes later, Senator Flake met Maria Gallagher and Ana Maria Archila at a fourth floor senators only elevator. Archila started, then Gallagher told Senator Flake, “I was sexually assaulted and nobody believed me. I didn’t tell anyone, and you’re telling all women that they don’t matter. Don’t look away from me! Look at me and tell me that it doesn’t matter what happened to me... that you will let people like that go into the highest court of the land and tell everyone what they can do to their bodies.” Flake stared down with the elevator door propped open. Reporters asked Flake if he had a response, and he replied, “No, I need to go to the hearing. I just issued a statement. I’ll be saying more, as well.” When the Senate judiciary committee voted to send Kavanaugh’s confirmation out of committee and to the full Senate, Flake said that his support for Kavanaugh hinged on a new FBI investigation and that he would not confirm Kavanaugh without it. (NYT | Politico | YouTube)


October 6 – Brett Kavanaugh sworn in as Supreme Court justice. (Wikipedia)


December 8 – Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquín, a seven-year-old Guatemalan girl, died while in custody of U.S. Customs. Eight hours after being taken into custody, she started having seizures and her body temperature was recorded by emergency responders at 105.7 degrees. She died two days after being detained by border officials. The Trump Administration has denied responsibility for her death. (NBC | The Nation | WP)


December 18 – Trump agreed to shut down the Trump Foundation charity under court supervision. He admitted that the charity had purchased the $10,000 portrait of himself that was ultimately displayed at one of his Florida hotels. He admitted to taking the charity’s money to fund some of his for-profit companies, including a golf course in Westchester County, N.Y., and Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Florida. And he admitted that the foundation had given his presidential campaign control over about $2.8 million that the foundation had raised at a January 2016 veterans fundraiser in Iowa. (NYT | WP | Wikipedia)


December 24 – Felipe Gómez Alonzo, an eight-year-old Chuj boy from Guatemala, died while in custody of U.S. Customs. He was diagnosed with a cold, but not tested for influenza, a condition that was confirmed only after his death. (CNN | WP)



2019

April 18 – A redacted Mueller Report was released. (Mueller Report | Wikipedia | WP | YouTube)


June 21 – About 47,000 immigrants are detained in the United States under the Trump administration. More than 11,000 of those immigrants are children. Seven children have died in the facilities in 2018. Children were sleeping on concrete floors and being denied soap and toothpaste at a facility in Clint, Texas, according to observers. A visiting doctor called the detention centers “torture facilities.” At a processing center in El Paso, Texas, 900 migrants were “being held at a facility designed for 125. In some cases, cells designed for 35 people were holding 155 people,” the New York Times reported. (Atlantic | DHS pdf | Frontline | NBC | NYT)


June 27 – Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was warned by senior adviser Robert Blair that he should “expect Congress to become unhinged” if Trump withheld security aid to Ukraine. Blair also warned that withholding the aid could add to the narrative that Trump was pro-Russia. (NYT)


July 17 – At a rally, Trump said, “If you don't support me, you're going to be so God damn poor.” Evangelicals had a problem with his swearing... not with his lies, his racism, his adultery, his sexual assault, his treatment of migrant children, his contributions to the climate crisis, his betrayal of the military, his malignant narcissism, or his closeness to Putin (kompromat). Trump crossed the line with his blasphemy. It's not like he uses the Ten Commandments like a checklist:

adultery

false witness, lying

coveting what others have

Lord's name in vain, blasphemy

(Politico | WP | YouTube)


~ July 18 – Trump told Mick Mulvaney to freeze over $391 million of military aid to Ukraine one week before the July 25th phone call to President Zelensky of Ukraine. (WP)


July 23 – Trump spoke in front of a fake Presidential Seal to a convention of conservative teens. It had a two-headed Russian coat-of-arms bird instead of the eagle, golf clubs instead of arrows, and cash instead of an olive branch. It had Soviet hammer-and-sickle icons. The motto E pluribus unum was replaced with 45 es un titere, Spanish for “45 is a puppet.” (Daily Mail | YouTube)


July 25 – Trump called Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, then the top Democratic candidate for president in the 2020 election. He also wanted Zelensky to find the fictitious computer server in Ukraine that was used to hack the DNC during the 2016 election to pull attention away from the Russian hackers. Roughly 90 minutes after Trump’s call with Zelensky, Michael Duffey, a senior budget official, told Pentagon officials that Trump was personally interested in the Ukraine aid and had ordered the hold himself. Duffey also told the Pentagon to keep the information “closely held to those who need to know to execute the direction” due to “the sensitive nature of the request.” The emails showed Trump first became interested in the aid to Ukraine after seeing a Washington Examiner article on June 19th titled, “Pentagon to send $250M in weapons to Ukraine,” and that some officials were concerned that withholding the aid could violate the Impoundment Control Act of 1974. (WP | NBC News)


August 12 – Whistleblower complaint letter: “I am reporting an urgent concern in accordance with the procedures outlined in 50 U.S.C. 3033(k)(5)(A). This letter is unclassified when separated from the attachment. In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election. This interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the President's main domestic political rivals...” (CNN pdf | NPR | NYT)


August 22 – An abandoned KFC in San Luis, Arizona hid an entrance to a smuggling tunnel under the U.S.-Mexico border. The tunnel was three feet wide, five feet tall, and about 600 feet long. (WP | YouTube)


August 30 – Trump met with Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss Trump’s hold on $391 million in military assistance for Ukraine. Inside the Trump administration, panic reached a fever pitch about Trump’s funding hold, which had stretched on for two months. Days earlier, Politico had broken the story and questions were piling up. U.S. defense contractors were worried about delayed contracts. Officials in Kyiv and lawmakers on Capitol Hill wanted to know what was going on. (Just Security)


September 4 – Trump used a black Sharpie to alter an outdated Hurricane Dorian forecast map to include Alabama, after he had incorrectly listed Alabama as an impacted state on September 1st. Sharpiegate. Trump ordered his aids to obtain an official retraction of the weather bureau's comment that the storm was not headed for Alabama. NOAA disavowed the statement on September 6th. (Wikipedia)


September 25 – A reconstructed, rough “memorandum” of the Trump-Zelensky phone call was released. The White House also emailed talking points against the transcript to Republicans in Congress and Democrats in Congress. Then they sent a recall message to the Democrats to try to take back the emailed talking points message. (Politico | NYT | PDFA | WP pdf)


September 25 – Ukraine's president told Trump to his face that he didn't want to be involved in U.S. elections. “I'm sorry, but I don't want to be involved in democratic, open elections of USA,” Zelensky said. (CNBC)


September 27 – A letter from more than 300 former federal officials expressed concern that, “President Trump appears to have leveraged the authority and resources of the highest office in the land to invite additional interference into our democratic process. That would constitute an unconscionable abuse of power. It also would represent an effort to subordinate America's national interests... to the President's personal political interest.” (CNN | Wikipedia | WP pdf)


October 9 – Trump's letter to Turkish President Erdogan: “Let's work out a good deal! You don't want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don't want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy -- and I will. I've always given you a little sample with respect to Pastor Brunson...” Erdogan threw the letter away. (Hill | NBC)


October 13 – Trump ordered U.S. Troops out of northern Syria. The Russian-brokered deal came as the Kurds suffered a swift collapse in their lines in the face of a Turkish and Syrian opposition onslaught that followed Trump’s initial withdrawal of a much smaller group of American troops from the border area. Trump’s highly criticized move served as a tacit blessing for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s invasion plans. Senator Christopher S. Murphy (D-Conn.) expressed a view that appears to permeate both political parties on Capitol Hill. “The hell you unleashed — by double crossing an ally and restocking ISIS — will cost thousands of U.S. lives in the long run,” he tweeted. (LA Times | Guardian | YouTube)


October 15 – Russia takes abandoned U.S. bases in Syria. Russian forces began sweeping in to fill a security void left by withdrawing American troops in northern Syria. Moscow-backed mercenaries took control of a strategic former U.S. special operations outpost. Video posted on social media by Russian journalists traveling with the mercenaries and Syrian government forces showed abandoned American military tents under camouflage netting, as well as other remnants hastily left behind in recent days by U.S. troops near the strategic Syrian town of Manbij. (Washington Times) The U.S. House of Representatives voted 354 to 60 for a nonbinding resolution expressing opposition to Trump’s decision to abandon the Kurds, a measure that drew support from two-thirds of the House Republican caucus and all three of its top leaders. (Congress | BBC)


November 2 – New sections of Trump's border fence have been repeatedly sawed through by smuggling gangs using cordless reciprocating saws. (DHS redacted pdf | KPBS | Vox | WP)


November 10-16 – US intelligence agencies reported in a classified document of an emerging disease in China during the 2nd week of November. US intelligence informed the Trump administration, “which did not deem it of interest,” and updated two allies with the classified document: NATO and Israel (specifically the IDF). The intelligence also reached Israel’s decision makers and the Health Ministry, where “nothing was done.” (Times of Israel | ABC News)


December 18 – The U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump for abusing his power and obstructing congressional investigations, labeling him a threat to national security, recommending his removal from office, and marking him as only the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. The two articles of impeachment against Trump: Article I, Abuse of Power, was adopted 230-197 and Article II, Obstruction of Congress, was adopted 229-198. (NYT | WP | YouTube)


December 18 – At a rally in Michigan, Trump implied that the late Rep. John Dingell is “looking up” from hell while also mocking his widow, Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell. Trump gave John an “A-plus” funeral. Trump said Debbie, “a real beauty,” called to thank him, saying “John would be so thrilled. He’s looking down. He’d be so thrilled.” Trump then told the crowd: “Maybe he’s looking up, I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe. But let’s assume he’s looking down.” Dingell was the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history. (AP | Detroit News | NBC)


December 19 – A prominent evangelical Christian magazine called Trump “a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused” and that he “should be removed from office.” In an editorial, Christianity Today called Trump’s actions “not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.” (Christianity Today)


December 23 – Trump's tariffs decreased jobs and increased producer prices, said the Federal Reserve Board Report, “Disentangling the Effects of the 2018-2019 Tariffs on a Globally Connected U.S. Manufacturing Sector.” (Federal Reserve | pdf)


December 31 – China informed the World Health Organization of a “mysterious pneumonia outbreak” spreading through Wuhan, an industrial city of 11 million. The government closed a seafood market at the center of the outbreak, moved all patients with the virus to a specially designated hospital and collected test samples to send to government laboratories. (ABC)



2020

January 2 – Trump authorized a drone strike that killed Iran’s top security and intelligence commander Qasem Soleimani at the Baghdad Airport. (NYT | WP)


January 3 – Robert Redfield, the head of the CDC, received a call from his Chinese counterpart with an official warning alerting him to the Covid-19 disease or 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, was alerted to the SARS-CoV-2 virus around the same time. (MarketWatch | C-Span | WP)


January 4 – Trump played golf in West Palm Beach, FL (Trump golf count | Trump cheats at golf)


January 5 – Trump played golf in West Palm Beach, FL (Trump golf count)


January 8 – The CDC issued its first alert advising U.S. clinicians to watch for patients with respiratory symptoms and a travel history to Wuhan, China. (CDC | USA Today)


January 9 – Trump campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio (PBS-YouTube | NBC-YouTube | CBS | transcript Rev)


January 11 – China shared the genetic sequence of Covid-19 (MarketWatch | Snopes | China.org)


January 13 – The Russian military hacked into the Ukrainian gas company at the center of the Trump impeachment inquiry, starting in November 2019. (NYT | WP)


January 14 – Trump campaign rally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (PBS-YouTube | GN-YouTube | NBC-YouTube | transcript Rev)


January 15 – The U.S. House of Representatives voted to send the Senate two articles of impeachment against Trump, initiating the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history. The measure passed 228-to-193. Speaker Nancy Pelosi also announced the seven House Democrats who will serve as the “managers” in the trial, saying “The emphasis is on

making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our Constitution to seek the truth for the American people.” The two articles, charging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, will be hand-delivered to the Senate. (NYT | WP)


January 16 – The Senate opened Trump's impeachment trial with the swearing in of senators and the presentation of the two charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the trial, administered the oath to “do impartial justice” to all senators in the chamber. (NYT | WP) The GAO said the Trump administration violated the law when it froze military aid to Ukraine for a “policy reason.” (GAO | GAO pdf | NYT | WP)


January 17 – Trump targeted Michelle Obama’s school nutrition guidelines on her birthday. The proposed rule would give schools more latitude to decide how much fruit to offer during breakfast and what types of vegetables to include in meals. It would also broaden what counts as a snack. (NYT | WP)


January 18 – Trump played golf in West Palm Beach, FL (Trump golf count | Trump cheats at golf) Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar called with an update while Trump was at Mar-a-Lago. Trump spent much of the conversation wanting to talk about vaping; he was considering a new policy restricting its use. White House officials now believe Trump didn’t fully grasp the magnitude of the threat to the U.S. in part because Azar, who was feuding with several members of Trump’s inner circle, did a poor job communicating it. (MarketWatch | WP)


January 20 – The first confirmed case of Covid-19 appeared in Washington state. (NEJM | Seattle Times)


January 21 – The first day of Trump’s impeachment trial began with more than 12 hours of contentious debate over the procedural rules. Senate Republicans rejected 11 Democratic amendments to subpoena records from the White House, State Department, Defense Department, and the Office of Management and Budget related to Ukraine, which the White House blocked during the House inquiry. Senate Republicans also blocked amendments to issue subpoenas for testimony from John Bolton the former national security adviser, Mick Mulvaney the acting White House chief of staff, Michael Duffey a White House budget office official, and Robert Blair, a Mulvaney adviser who was involved in freezing military aid to Ukraine. (NYT)


January 22 – At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trump said about Covid-19, “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.” (Politico)


January 23 – At Trump's impeachment trial, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Trump floated a “very specific conspiracy theory” that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that hacked the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016. “This theory was brought to you by the Kremlin.” (WP)


January 28 {4,593 cases of Covid-19} – Trump campaign rally at Wildwood, New Jersey (NBC-YouTube | NJ-YouTube | NYT | transcript Rev)


January 29 {6,065 cases of Covid-19} – A memo by Trump's trade adviser, Peter Navarro, gave striking detail of the potential risks of a Covid-19 pandemic with as many as half a millions deaths and trillions of dollars in economic losses. Trump's inner circle protected him from the memo. (NYT | Axios | MarketWatch | MotherJones | Salon) Newly installed panels of Trump's border wall fell over in 37 mph winds, landing on trees on the Mexican side of the border near Mexicali. (CNN | YouTube) A 4,309-foot smuggling tunnel was found under the U.S.-Mexico border connecting an industrial area of Tijuana to a warehouse district in San Diego. This tunnel was about five and a half feet tall and two feet wide, and about 70 feet below ground. It included an elevator, an extensive rail and cart system, forced air ventilation, high-voltage electrical cables, and a complex drainage system. (AP | USA Today | YouTube)


January 30 {7,818 cases of Covid-19} – Trump campaign rallies in Des Moines, Iowa, and Michigan. During the Michigan campaign rally, Trump said about Covid-19, “We have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five. And those people are all recuperating successfully.” (NYT) On his flight back, Trump received a call from his health and human services secretary, Alex Azar, warning of a pandemic. Trump responded that Mr. Azar was being alarmist. (NYT)


January 31 {9,826 cases of Covid-19} – Trump issued travel restrictions from China with loopholes big enough to fly a plane through. Over the next two months, 279 flights arrived from China with 40,000 passengers. (NYT | IB Times | White House) Most Covid-19 cases came from Europe, and Trump didn't block European travelers until March 11. (NYT) The Senate narrowly rejected a motion to call new witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial, paving the way for a final vote to acquit the President by the following week. In a 51-49 vote, the Senate defeated a push by Democrats to depose former national security adviser John Bolton and other witnesses on their knowledge of the Ukraine scandal that led to Trump’s impeachment. Two Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah, joined all 47 Senate Democrats in voting for the motion. (NPR | WP) Trump reversed restrictions on land mines. (BBC | WP)


February 1 {11,953 cases of Covid-19} – Trump played golf in West Palm Beach, FL (Twitter | Trump golf count)


February 2 {14,557 cases of Covid-19} – Trump played golf in West Palm Beach, FL. Trump said about Covid-19, “We pretty much shut it down.” (Trump golf count | FoxNews)


February 5 {24,554 cases of Covid-19} – President Trump was acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate of charges that he abused the powers of his office and obstructed Congress as it probed his attempts to pressure Ukraine into political investigations, after a tumultuous, three-week impeachment trial that left his fate in the hands of voters in November. Democrats fell far short of the two-thirds majority required to remove Trump from office, as senators voted 52-48 to acquit him on the abuse of power allegation and 53-47 to clear him of obstruction. The outcome represented a political triumph for the White House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who successfully held together nearly the entire GOP caucus in blocking witnesses or additional evidence from the proceedings. Just one Republican, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, voted to convict the President of abuse of power. (NYT | WP)


February 7 {31,481 cases of Covid-19} – U.S. airlifts 17.8 tons of donated respirator masks, surgical masks, gowns, and other medical supplies to China. (State Dept | Share America | Snopes | WP) Trump fired two key impeachment witnesses, dismissing Ambassador Gordon Sondland and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert at the National Security Council. An adviser to Trump said the firings of the major impeachment witnesses was meant to send a message that siding against Trump will not be tolerated. (CNN | WP) Trump went to a campaign rally, North Carolina Opportunity Now, and suggested chants of “12 more years” or “16 more years.” (CBS | CNBC-YouTube | WP | transcript Rev)


February 10 {40,554 cases of Covid-19} – At a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, Trump said about Covid-19, “looks like, by April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.” (PBS-YouTube | GN-YouTube | CBS | transcript Rev) White House acting budget director Russell Vought said, “Coronavirus is not something that is going to have ripple effects.” (White House)


February 11 {43,103 cases of Covid-19} – Prosecutors quit amid escalating Justice Dept. fight over Roger Stone’s prison term. All four career prosecutors handling the case against Roger Stone withdrew from the legal proceedings after the Justice Department signaled it planned to undercut their seven-to-nine year sentencing recommendation for President Trump’s longtime friend and confidant. (PBS | WP) Almost simultaneously, Trump decided to revoke the nomination to a top Treasury Department post of his former U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia, who had supervised the Stone case when it went to trial. (WP)


February 13 {46,997 cases of Covid-19} – Attorney General William Barr pushes back against Trump’s criticism of Justice Dept., said tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job.” Barr pushed back hard against President Trump’s criticism of the Justice Department, saying, “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody. I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.” He also noted that when he became attorney general last year, he pledged to resist intimidation from any quarter, whether Congress, the White House, or elsewhere. (WP | ABC | NY mag)


February 15 {50,580 cases of Covid-19} – Trump played golf in West Palm Beach, FL (Trump golf count | Trump cheats at golf)


February 16 {51,857 cases of Covid-19} – Trump rode a limo around the track at the Daytona 500 as the grand marshal. (NYT | CNN | GN-YouTube | CBS-YouTube | transcript Rev)


February 19 {75,204 cases of Covid-19} – Trump campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona (NBC-YouTube | USA Today | transcript Rev) “I think it’s going to work out fine. I think when we get into April, in the warmer weather, that has a very negative effect on that and that type of a virus,” Trump said. (WP)


February 20 {75,748 cases of Covid-19} – Trump campaign rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado (NBC-YouTube | CBS | Denver Post | transcript Rev)


February 21 {76,769 cases of Covid-19} – Trump campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada (CBS | NBC-YouTube | GN-YouTube | C-Span | transcript Rev)


February 24 {79,331 cases of Covid-19} – Trump tweeted, “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA... Stock Market starting to look very good to me!” (Twitter | Vox)


February 24-26 – Trump's two-day trip to India. (BBC-YouTube | WP-YouTube | Namaste-YouTube | DailyShow-YouTube | CNN)


February 25 {80,239 cases of Covid-19} – Nancy Messonnier, a senior CDC official, sounded the most significant public alarm to that point, when she told reporters that Covid-19 was likely to spread within communities in the U.S. and that disruptions to daily life could be “severe.” Trump called Alex Azar on his way back from a trip to India and complained that Messonnier was scaring the stock markets, according to two senior administration officials. (WP)


February 26 {81,109 cases of Covid-19} – At a White House press conference, Trump contradicted the CDC assessment that Covid-19 will definitely spread throughout the US. Trump said, “I don’t think it’s inevitable. I think that there’s a chance that it could get worse, a chance it could get fairly substantially worse, but nothing’s inevitable.” Trump said Covid-19 had a “very low” risk to Americans. (AP | CNN | WP | CNBC-YouTube | NBC-YouTube | transcript Rev) Trump tweeted about Covid-19, “It’s going very substantially down, not up.” “The 15 [cases] within a couple of days, is going to be down to zero.” (Twitter | Salon)

[Note: Two weeks later, there were over 1,000 confirmed cases in the United States.]


February 27 {82,294 cases of Covid-19} – Trump tweeted about Covid-19, “It’s going to disappear one day; it’s like a miracle.” (Twitter | Salon)


February 28 {83,652 cases of Covid-19} – Trump holds South Carolina rally and claims the virus is “Their new Hoax.” (GN-YouTube | NBC-YouTube | transcript Rev) Eric Trump tweeted, “In my opinion, it’s a great time to buy stocks or into your 401k. I would be all in... let’s see if I’m right.” He was very wrong. (Twitter)

[Note: The stock market closed at 25,409 on February 28. It closed at 20,944 on March 31.]


February 29 {85,403 cases of Covid-19} - Trump rally speech in Oxon Hill, Maryland, to the 2020 Conservative Political Action Conference. (CNN | C-Span | CBS-YouTube | WhiteHouse-YouTube | Trump hugged & kissed US flag)


March 2 {88,948 cases of Covid-19} – Trump campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina. Trump said about a Covid-19 vaccine, “I’ve heard very quick numbers, that of months.” (NBC | NBC-YouTube | Fox-YouTube |transcript Rev)


March 6 {98,189 cases of Covid-19} – Trump said after touring the CDC, “Anybody who wants a test, gets a test.” (CNBC) Trump said, “I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it... Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.” (AP-YouTube | WP | Wired)


March 7 {101,924 cases of Covid-19} – Trump played golf in West Palm Beach, FL (Trump golf count | Trump cheats at golf)


March 8 {105,586 cases of Covid-19} – Trump played golf with the Washington Nationals in West Palm Beach, FL (Sun Sentinel | USA Today | Trump golf count) Then Trump hosted a birthday party at Mar-a-Lago for Don Jr.'s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, with Vice President Pence, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and Senator Lindsey Graham under ballroom chandeliers and over gold-rimmed dinner plates. The festivities came with a unique hangover: a series of self-quarantines. Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro had joined Trump, his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner for dinner and afterwards two of Bolsonaro's aides tested positive for Covid-19. Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Rep. Matt Gaetz, and Senator Rick Scott each self-quarantined due to meeting the Brazilian aides. (Jsonline | Washington Examiner)


March 9 {109,577 cases of Covid-19} – Trump tweeted, “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths.” (Twitter)


March 10 {113,702 cases of Covid-19} – Trump tweeted, “And it will go away. Just relax. It will go away.” (Twitter | CBS)


March 11 {118,319 cases of Covid-19} – Trump said, “If we get rid of the coronavirus problem quickly, we won’t need [economic] stimulus.” (WP)  Trump finally blocked travel from Europe. (NYT)

March 12 {125,260 cases of Covid-19} – Trump finally ordered ventilators and N95 masks to be delivered at the end of April. (AP | MSN)


March 13 {132,758 cases of Covid-19} – Trump for first time admits COVID-19 is a concern, declared a National Emergency but said, “I don’t take responsibility at all.” (MSNBC | Politico | GN-YouTube | Atlantic | transcript Rev)


April 1 – The Strategic National Stockpile sent out its last shipment of personal protective gear. (CNN | Seattle Times | Journal Gazette)


April 12 – Dr. Anthony Fauci said that calls to implement life-saving social distancing measures faced “a lot of pushback” early in the Covid-19 outbreak. “If you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives,” Fauci said when asked if social distancing and stay-at-home measures could have prevented deaths had they been put in place in February, instead of mid-March. (CNN)


April 13 – The Covid-19 press conference started with a campaign video. The lights in the briefing room dimmed for a three minute montage of officials offering laudatory comments about the president and of Trump discussing his steps to contain the virus. Then Trump dodged questions from reporters. Here is part of Trump's exchange with CBS White House correspondent Paula Reid:

Reid: What did you do with that time that you bought? The argument is that you bought yourself some time. You didn't use it to prepare hospitals. You didn't use it to ramp up testing. Right now, nearly 20 million people are unemployed.

Trump: You're so disgraceful. It's so disgraceful the way you say that.

Reid: Tens of thousands of Americans are dead. How is… this rant supposed to make people feel confident in an unprecedented crisis? What did your administration do in February for the time that your travel ban bought you?

Trump: A lot.

Reid: What?

Trump: A lot, and in fact, we'll give you a list… We did a lot. Look, look, you know you're a fake.

Here is part of the exchange with CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins:

Collins: You said when someone is president of the United States, their authority is total. That is not true. Who told you that?

Trump: You know what we're going to do? We're going to write up papers on this.

Collins: Has any governor agreed that you have the authority to decide when their states…

Trump: I haven't asked anybody because. You know why? Because I don't have to.

Collins: But who told you the president has the total authority?

Trump: Enough!

(Salon | CBS-YouTube | WP-YouTube | transcript Rev)


April 14 – Trump halts funding for the World Health Organization to deflect blame from his earlier pandemic failures. (NPR | Guardian)


April 15 – Trump threatens to adjourn Congress like a dictator. (NYT | CNN | YouTube | WP)


April 17 – Trump encouraged protests in states with democratic governors by tweeting “Liberate Minnesota” and similar tweets for Michigan and Virginia. (CNBC | Politico | NBC)

Presidential Timeline of Donald Trump
Trump Timeline (PDF)

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