National

17 in ‘17: The feuds that fueled Donald Trump’s first year

17 notable Trump moments of 2017

President Donald Trump’s first year in office was filled with memorable events — some were more notable than others. Here are 17 for 2017.
Up Next
President Donald Trump’s first year in office was filled with memorable events — some were more notable than others. Here are 17 for 2017.

Donald Trump has taunted world leaders, criticized football players and picked fights with members of his own party. After a year in office, one thing is indisputable with this unconventional president: He relishes the battle.

Trump’s adversaries span the globe and few sectors of society have been spared a Trump tirade. If he perceives a slight, he’s doesn’t turn the other cheek.

"I think it's always okay when somebody says something about you that's false, I think it's always okay to counterpunch or to fight back," Trump said.

Here are 17 of Trump’s biggest feuds of 2017:

1. Trump vs. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un: A beef over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program has devolved into personal insults and existential threats. Trump has vowed to rain "fire and fury" on North Korea if "Rocket Man" Kim continues his nuclear pursuits. Kim sent people scrambling for dictionaries when he labeled Trump a "Dotard" as well as a “gangster fond of playing with fire.”

2. Trump vs. journalists. Beyond Fox News, Trump harbors deep disdain for the mainstream media he accuses of peddling “fake news.” He puts a special focus on CNN. He tweeted a video edited to show him body slamming the network’s logo and accused it of representing "our Nation to the World very poorly." The network’s reply: "It’s not CNN’s job to represent the U.S. to the world. That’s yours.”

3. Trump vs. the National Football League. Trump blasted the league for not punishing players who engage in protests inspired by quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the national anthem. The league delivered a tepid response to Trump’s complaint, but New Orleans Saints Sean Payton replied: "I’m disappointed in the comments that were made. I think we need a little bit more wisdom in that office." Trump even instructed Vice President Mike Pence to walk out of an Indianapolis Colts game after several players failed to stand during the National Anthem.

4. Trump vs. the National Basketball Association. Trump’s gridiron grievances shifted to the hardwood when he criticized Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry for criticizing him. Trump canceled the White House celebration visit for the NBA champion Warriors, which prompted Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James to refer to Trump as "U bum" in a tweet, adding that "Going to the White House was a great honor until you showed up!"

5. Trump vs. LaVar Ball. The president lashed out at the father of LiAngelo Ball, one of three UCLA basketball players arrested on shoplifting charges in China, for not expressing gratitude for Trump’s aid in getting his son released from jail. "It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department, it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got his son out of a long-term prison sentence – IT WAS ME," Trump fired off in a 6 a.m. tweet. Ball told CNN that Trump was inflating his role and added, “I don’t have to go around saying thank you to everybody.” Trump lashed out again, calling Ball a “poor man’s version of Don King,“ a reference to the black sports promoter, as well as an “ungrateful fool.”

corker mug
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. J. Scott Applewhite AP

6. Trump vs. Sen. Bob Corker. An ugly October spat in which Trump referred to the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as "Liddle Bob Corker" after the Tennessee Republican argued that Trump could trigger World War III. Corker also questioned Trump’s mental state, saying, "It’s a shame that the White House had become an adult day care center."

7. Trump vs. Sen. John McCain. Disdain borne of a campaign in which Trump mocked McCain’s capture during the Vietnam War and McCain pulled his support after the emergence of that Access Hollywood tape that captured Trump boasting about sexual assault spilled into 2017, as McCain warned against “half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems.” In turn, Trump lashed out at the Arizona Republican for voting against the Senate bid to repeal the Affordable Care Act, accusing him of letting down his state.

8. Trump vs. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. After the New York Democrat called for him to resign over sexual assault allegations, Trump called Gillibrand, a potential 2020 Democratic presidential challenger, "a lightweight" who ‘would come to my office begging for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them)”’ in a tweet that many deemed sexually suggestive. Gillibrand shot back via Twitter: "You cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame you have brought to the Oval Office."

9. Trump vs. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. In one of his longest feuds, Trump revels in calling Warren, another potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, "Pocahontas" because she once claimed Native American ancestry. Trump repeated the nickname at a White House event honoring Navajo "Code Talkers," prompting the Massachusetts Democrat to tell MSNBC that it was “deeply unfortunate that the president of the United States cannot even make it through a ceremony honoring these heroes without having to throw out a racial slur."

10. Trump vs. Sen. Jeff Flake. Flake has been Trump’s most vocal GOP critic in Congress. The Arizona Republican, who announced that he won’t seek re-election, accused Trump of undermining world stability "by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters." Trump’s response? "The reason Flake and Corker dropped out of the Senate race is very simple, they had zero chance of being elected," he tweeted.

sessions
Attorney General Jeff Sessions Alex Brandon AP

11. Trump vs. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The first senator to endorse Trump and a trusted campaign adviser, Sessions is on the outs for bowing out of the investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 election. "Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else," Trump told The New York Times in July. He also called Sessions “very WEAK” on investigating what Trump says are crimes committed by his 2016 Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. Though Sessions stayed low and sought to brush off the criticism, his former Senate colleagues were not amused: “The only person who is more upset with Trump about this than me, is my wife,” said Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican.

12. Trump vs. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Another Cabinet member in the White House doghouse, Tillerson ran afoul of Trump after reportedly calling him a "moron" in a Pentagon meeting over the summer. Trump shrugged off the alleged remark as "fake news," but told Forbes magazine that if Tillerson did say it "I’ll guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests. And I can tell you who is going to win."

john lewis mug
Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga David Goldman AP

13. Trump vs. Rep. John Lewis. The two have been at it since before Day One of the Trump administration. The Georgia Democrat didn’t attend Trump’s inauguration and said he doesn’t consider Trump a "legitimate" president. Trump responded by calling Lewis, a civil rights icon who was nearly beaten to death during a march in Selma, Ala., in 1965, "All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!"

14. Trump vs. Sen. Lindsey Graham. Trump and Graham were competitors for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Their relationship hit a bump in August when Graham accused Trump of drawing a "moral equivalency" between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville. Trump called the senator "publicity seeking Lindsey Graham” in a tweet, and said the South Carolina Republican “just can’t forget his election trouncing.” Yet Trump seemingly doesn’t hold a grudge: the two patched things up enough to golf together and confer on health care legislation.

15. Trump vs. Meryl Streep. The Academy Award-winning actress railed against Trump in a Golden Globes award speech in January for mocking a reporter who has a disability. “When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose,” she told a star-studded audience. Trump took to Twitter and called Streep “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood.”

frederica mug
Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla Alan Diaz AP

16. Trump (and his chief of staff John Kelly) vs. Rep. Frederica Wilson. This spat escalated after the Miami Democrat accused Trump of being insensitive to a fallen soldier’s widow. Trump said Wilson had “totally fabricated” his remarks and blasted her on Twitter as “wacky” and a “disaster” for the Democratic Party. White House Chief of Staff Kelly later falsely accused Wilson of bragging about securing money for her district during a 2015 ceremony devoted to a pair of slain FBI agents.

17. Trump vs. Carmen Yulín Cruz , the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Cruz criticized the federal government’s response to Hurricane Maria, saying it was “killing us with the inefficiency and bureacracy.” Trump retorted via Twitter the next day, saying Cruz had “been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump.” He panned her for “poor leadership ability” and accused her and others of “wanting everything to be done for them.”

William Douglas: 202-383-6026, @williamgdouglas

Lesley Clark: 202-383-6054, @lesleyclark

Related stories from McClatchy DC

  Comments