Throughout his candidacy Donald Trump has made numerous outlandish, false, and offensive claims. But don’t get all bent out of shape — a lot of the time, he’s just joking!
Pressed to defend controversial remarks, Trump and his representatives have cast his critics as humorless rubes.
The latest examples came last Friday when Trump, speaking to a group of law enforcement officers, encouraged them to brutalize suspects.
White House Press Secretary later explained that Trump was “making a joke at the time.” The humor was lost on law enforcement officials across the country, who widely condemned the remarks.
Here are some more of Trump’s best knee-slappers.
The joke about assassinating Hillary Clinton.
Speaking at a campaign rally in North Carolina last August, Trump suggested that if Hillary Clinton was elected, the only way to stop her from appointing anti-gun judges would be to assassinate her.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, who supported Trump’s candidacy, dismissed Trump’s remarks as “just a joke gone bad.”
The joke about asking the FBI Director to stop an ongoing investigation.
In a meeting with former FBI Director James Comey, Trump allegedly asking him to “see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” referring to the ongoing investigation into Trump’s former National Security Advisor and Trump’s campaign aide. Trump cleared the room before delivering the comments, according to Comey.
Some humorless people were concerned that this could constitute obstruction of justice. Congressman James Comer, who serves on the House Oversight Committee, explained that Trump was probably joking.
Rep. James Comer, a member of the Oversight Committee, says Trump may well have been joking to Comey. "It looks different on paper."
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) May 17, 2017
The joke about encouraging Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s email.
Last July, Trump directly addressed the Russian government and asked them to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails. “Russia, if you are listening, I hope you are able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” Trump said.
Several months later, in February 2017, then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer explained that “[h]e was joking at the time.”
The joke about Obama founding ISIS.
In an August 2016 rally, Trump asserted that Barack Obama founded ISIS. “He’s the founder of ISIS. He’s the founder of ISIS, OK. He’s the founder! He founded ISIS!,” Trump said to cheers.
The next day, talk show host Hugh Hewitt tried to give him a chance to walked it back, asking him if he really meant that Obama “created a vacuum” which ISIS filled.
“No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do,” Trump replied.
Later, Trump revealed he was just joshing.
Ratings challenged @CNN reports so seriously that I call President Obama (and Clinton) "the founder" of ISIS, & MVP. THEY DON'T GET SARCASM?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2016
The joke about the Chinese inventing climate change as a hoax.
On November 2012, Trump tweeted that climate change was a hoax invented by the Chinese.
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
For the next several years, to maximize the comedic impact, he tweeted many similar claims.
Then, on Fox & Friends in January 2016, he revealed he’d been joking all along.