Trump is officially approaching the 100-day mark of his presidency, and he has already faced quite a few controversies. In fact, his presidency began with controversy, specifically regarding the number of people who attended his Inauguration Day ceremony at the White House in January. While White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made his debut by stating that Trump had the "largest audience to ever witness an inauguration: period," the photos of a sparsely-filled White House lawn suggested otherwise. This is only one of the disturbing photos of Trump's first 100 days that has so far defined his term.
Trump's administration expressed an alarming commitment to "alternative facts" in the early days of its formation, and has since remained true to this central theme by frequently providing information that is completely at odds with scientific theory or established truth. Because of that, photography has become an increasingly important means for fact-checking many of the administration's outrageous claims. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and it's hard to deny what is visually depicted in images.
Of course, images don't make or break a president, but they certainly provide a portrait of what the commander in chief stands for, and what image of his administration he presents to the world; for someone who is responsible for representing America internationally, this shouldn't be taken lightly.
Unfortunately for the country, there are a number of cringe-worthy images of the Trump administration that have gone viral over the past few months. Here are some of the most distressing photos from Trump's first 100 days in office.
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway created a social media firestorm when this image of her kneeling on a couch in the Oval Office surfaced. The picture was taken during a visit from dozens of leaders of historically black colleges and universities. Critics argued that Conway would never have assumed such an unprofessional posture while using her phone if the visit was instead from white males, but Conway argued that she was simply trying to take a photo for the group from a specific angle.
2The Administration's Lack Of Diversity
Photos like this are not uncommon within the Trump administration. As you can see, the president, who is responsible for creating policies that represent all Americans, is surrounded by predominantly white men, with the exception of one white woman. In fact, according to the New York Times, Trump's cabinet is "more white and male than any Cabinet since Reagan's," a statistic that makes it difficult for diverse voices to be heard in policy decisions.
3Trump Signing The Global Gag Order
In January, Trump made the controversial decision to sign an executive order that reinstated the "global gag rule," which means that international aid will no longer go to organizations that provide abortion services, even if they provide other life saving services like HIV testing and prevention. This order will affect the lives of some of the world's most vulnerable women, and the photo makes it seem as though this decision was made solely by men.
4Trump Leaving Melania Behind
Maybe Trump was just too eager to finally reach the steps of the White House to begin his inauguration in January. Or maybe he simply forgot that his wife was joining him. Either way, this image of Trump completely leaving First Lady Melania in the dust when the pair arrived at the White House on Inauguration Day spoke volumes to many about his manners.
5Trump Signing A Kid's Hat, Then Tossing It Into A Crowd
A kid asks Trump to sign his hat at the White House Easter Egg Roll. The president signs ... and then tosses the hat into the crowd. pic.twitter.com/7ExdhpO97H— POLITICO (@politico) April 17, 2017
OK, so not technically a photo, but I couldn't not include this. At the annual White House Easter Egg Roll in April, Trump was apparently feeling the holiday spirit and decided to autograph a kid's "Make America Great Again" hat — but then he tossed the hat into the crowd instead of handing it back to the boy. Critics say that Trump was simply tossing it back to the kid who asked for the signature, but the boy's shout of "No!" when Trump tossed it seemed to suggest otherwise.
6Trump Pretending To Drive A Great Big Truck
In March, Trump welcomed members from the American Trucking Association to the White House — and he couldn't resist trying out one of their trucks on the White House Lawn. This is his trucking face. (He was also wearing an "I [Heart] Trucks" pin.
7Trump Allegedly Refusing To Shake Angela Merkel's Hand
When German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the White House in March for her first meeting with President Trump, things got pretty tense. Trump has been pretty critical of the EU, and apparently Merkel had to explain fundamentals of European trade to him 11 times. But the tension culminated when Trump allegedly refused to shake Merkel's hand for a press photo-op. Trump claims not to have heard the requests, but his body language in this photo doesn't make matters any better. Despite Merkel leaning toward him to chat, he was looking away.
8Trump's Meeting With Justin Trudeau
In another diplomatic foray, Trump met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in February, and this time he was the one whose handshake was snubbed. Well, kind of. Trudeau eventually came around. But this photo of him staring questionable at Trump's outstretched hand before accepting the offer reveals some potential hesitation.
9The Decision To Bomb Syria
Trump has proven that he is willing to be more aggressive against ISIS in the Middle East, but many have wondered who in his administration is influencing his decisions. It has, however, become apparent that the roles of Trump's children and children-in-law are expanding, including for son-in-law Jared Kushner. Kushner has been placed in charge of the Office of American Innovation, and according to this photo, he is also taking a more active role in foreign policy. Here you see Kushner with Trump and other members of the administration during a briefing about the air strike against the Assad regime.
10Trump Signing Executive Orders
In his 100 days in office, Trump has already signed 32 executive orders, which is the most that any president has signed in that amount of time since WWII. This can be seen as a symbol that Trump is trying to bypass Congress to pass some of his more controversial campaign promises, but he hasn't had much luck so far. His proposed travel ban has been blocked by federal courts, as has his effort to defund sanctuary cities. Still, the rate at which he has been signing executive orders is likely a sign that there are many more to come throughout his administration — despite the fact that he once criticized Obama for doing the same.
11Trump Reacts To The AHCA Failure
In one of the biggest failures in recent political history, the GOP ultimately failed to repeal and replace Obamacare, which they had been promising to do for seven years and which Trump made one of his campaign promises. The vote on the American Health Care Act was ultimately canceled in March because Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan couldn't get enough support for the plan to pass. No one is quite sure yet how Republicans plan to move forward given this defeat, but this reaction photo of Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price basically gives us a hint as to how they're feeling.
12Ivanka Trump Channeling Her Inner Marie Antoinette
On the same day that Trump signed his controversial travel ban that left many refugees and international citizens detained in airports across the country, Trump's daughter Ivanka posted a photo of herself in a shimmery dress on Instagram. The photo had no caption, but social media erupted with criticism, comparing the first daughter to controversial historical Queen of France Marie Antoinette who ignored the poverty of her people to live in luxury. For many, the photo symbolized the Trump family's ignorance, or just general apathy toward the lives of those who are less privileged.
13Trump Reacts To A North Korean Missile Test
And lastly, my personal favorite. Trump was dining at Mar-a-Lago, his golf course country club, which he has affectionately dubbed "The Winter White House," with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in February when news broke that North Korea had just launched a missile. Chaos ensued. Given that the club is not an official government building, there was no place to go to discuss the briefing, so Trump handled the situation right there at the dinner table for all of his guests to see. This photo of Trump in the middle of the action pretty much encapsulates his entire presidency thus far. It depicts a man who seems not to take threatening issues seriously enough.
Trump's first 100 days have been a whirlwind of controversy and polarization, to say the least. An unconventional candidate from the start, Trump has certainly been an unorthodox commander in chief, and many of his actions have been outright shocking. Perhaps future historians will look back on Trump's presidency with confusion. But at least there are plenty of photos to prove that yes, indeed, some of these things actually did happen, and the internet responded accordingly.