8 Donald Trump Quotes That Would Be April Fools' Pranks If Said By Absolutely Anybody Else
It's that time of year again! April Fools' Day, that noble annual tradition that inevitably leaves some people chuckling at clever jokes, and others nursing their wounds after trying something they really shouldn't have. But even in the thick of what's inarguably the world's No. 1 day for foolery, all the dire, strange, vexing happenings of the 2015 presidential race are still going on, and they'll be there when you wake up tomorrow. So, in that spirit, here are some Donald Trump quotes that aren't April Fools' jokes.
To the contrary, they're entirely real, and in one way or another they say something about the sorry state of affairs that America currently finds itself in. There's been a lot of furious discussion lately over who or what gave rise to the Trump phenomenon ― racism, the GOP, the media, and political polarization are frequent suggestions ― but you could make the case that his meandering, rudderless style of talking works to his benefit too.
To say nothing of the ideas he actually pumps into the political mainstream, telling a range of people (some of them very bad, like his glut of white supremacist supporters) exactly what they want to hear as though it's the plainest truth in the world. Here are eight things Trump's said that only seem like jokes, but are actually deadly serious for our discourse and our basic decency.
1. "I said it loud and clear: You'll destabilize the Middle East!"
Trump uttered this line, about his long-asserted opposition to the Iraq War, during a Republican presidential debate in February. The problem? There's little to no evidence of Trump having actively opposed the war prior to its start in March 2003, and as BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski detailed, he did an interview with Howard Stern in 2002 in which claimed to support it.
2. "So if you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously, just knock the hell- I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise."
This one came from a February rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and it's far from the only time Trump has encouraged violence from the stage at one of his events. This was the first time he stated that he'd pay for legal fees his supporters might incur, though, which takes the enabling to a whole new level. Incidentally, he seemed to back off this promise later, when something obviously (inevitably) happened.
3. "You have to treat 'em like s**t."
Originally quoted in 1992 in New York Magazine, and highlighted in a devastatingly effective anti-Trump ad from a conservative PAC embedded above, this advice that Trump reportedly gave a friend about women is about as crude and simple a sum-up of the tenor of this campaign as it gets.
4. "And he referred to my hands ― 'if they're small, something else must be small.' I guarantee you, there's no problem. I guarantee."
Nobody was all that interested in Donald Trump's penis. They were tuning in to watch a presidential debate. But that didn't make one bit of difference after Florida senator an ex-Trump rival Marco Rubio mocked the size of his hands. This is why it'd be hard for Trump to actually play an April Fools' joke, really ― when you're willing to talk about your penis during a nationally televised presidential debate, what's left for satire?
5. "If it weren't for me, you wouldn't even be talking about illegal immigration."
Trump threw out this line on Fox News host and moderator Chris Wallace after the first GOP primary debate in August. It's about as absurd as it gets, as anybody even passingly familiar with the Republican Party's tone and tactics on immigration can attest ― 2012 nominee Mitt Romney made illegal immigration one of the core issues of his primary campaign, pushing to the right the whole time, recognizing its power as a means to compel the Republican base. Hell, Trump isn't even the first person to suggest building a border wall. These aren't really new ideas, they're just coming in a louder package.
6. "There has to be some form of punishment, yeah."
That's how Trump responded to MSNBC's Chris Matthews this week when asked if women would be punished for having abortions if they became illegal. (Trump supports banning abortion, with limited exceptions.) He ended up reversing course almost immediately, posting a statement to Twitter after the interview aired saying that he meant only the abortion doctors, not the women, should be punished.
7. "I don't know if they were bruises from that, why, who said there were bruises from that? How do you know those bruises weren't there before?"
There's nothing foolish about how Trump responded to the battery charge against campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who may face prosecution for allegedly grabbing ex-Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields by the arm so hard that, according to Fields, it left bruises. Trump, needless to say, was not convinced by this. As you can see above, he (somewhat frantically) told reporters that the bruises might not have been caused by Lewandowski, who appears to grab Fields' arm in security footage of the incident released by police in Jupiter, Florida, this week.
For the record, Lewandowski has previously denied grabbing Fields, calling her "delusional" and insisting via Twitter he's never met her.
8. "What is in her hand???"
Also in response to the Michelle Fields incident, Trump offered up this somewhat farcical gem, seemingly distressed that people weren't considering that the former Breitbart reporter posed a big threat to him. Specifically, because of the mysterious item pictured in her left hand: a pen. Trump later suggested that it could've been "a little bomb."