As if the Trump administration's policies aren't horrifying enough, his team's short tenure in the White House has had an equal amount of opportunity to fan flames (both partisan and non) by a variety of actions. At times, it seems like those opportunities are never passed by.
For posterity, we've ranked the most poignant, starting with a startling case of elitist classism unfortunately thematic in 45's White House.
10: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's wife shading lower tax brackets on Instagram
It's difficult to quantifiably assess how tactless it is to have the wife of the Treasury secretary -- the person charged with advising the president on financial matters, who told The New York Times the administration's proposed estate tax repeal will "obviously, ... disproportionately help rich people" -- vividly exclaim the difference between her family's financial earnings and those of an Oregonian health care worker.
Louise Linton, a former actress and Mnuchin's wife, took the time to respond "your life looks cute" in August after an Instagram user critiqued her, her husband, and Mitch McConnell for using a military jet for job-related travel to Kentucky.
In case you missed it, here's the exchange in all its petty glory:
Louise Linton: "Great #daytrip to #Kentucky! #nicest #people #beautiful #countryside #rolandmouret pants #tomford sunnies #hermesscarf #valentinorockstudheels #usa"
Jennifer Miller: "Glad we could pay for your little getaway. #deplorable"
LL: @[Miller] cute! [Kissy-face emoji, with heart] Aw!!!! Did you think this was a personal trip?! Adorable! Do you think the US govt paid for our honeymoon or personal travel?! Lololol. Have you given more to the economy than me and my husband? Either as an individual earner in taxes OR in self sacrifice to your country? I'm pretty sure we paid more taxes toward our day "trip" than you did. Pretty sure the amount we sacrifice per year is a lot more than you'd be willing to sacrifice if the choice was yours. [light-skinned bicep emoji, kissy-face emoji] You're adorably out of touch. [heart-eyes emoji] Thanks for the passive aggressive nasty comment. Your kids look very cute. Your life looks cute. I know you're mad but deep down you're really nice and so am I. [...] Go chill out and watch the new game of thrones. (sic) It's fab."
Soon after, Linton deleted the post and made her Instagram private.
"I think my post was just five or six words," Miller told the Times, "and she had to go on basically a rant about it to make herself look more important and look smarter, better, richer -- all those things." Miller also said she wished she hadn't let Linton's photo elicit a response in the first place.
The Department of the Treasury said the Mnuchins have since reimbursed the government for the trip, according to the Times, and Linton's publicist sent out an apology acknowledging Linton's post was "highly insensitive." Miller also penned a well-written, well-reasoned response published by CNN Opinion.
In completely unrelated news, Kentuckians are now among the 70 percent of Americans predicted by the Associated Press to be most affected by Trump's decision to repeal a provision of the Affordable Care Act. According to the Chicago Tribune, "Roughly half of the estimated 71,000 Kentuckians buying health insurance on the federal exchange were benefiting from the cost-sharing subsidies Trump just ended." Kentucky voted Trump 62.5 percent to Clinton's 32.7 percent (and Gary Johnson's 4.7 percent).
TL;DR: More cake, Jennifer? Kentucky?
9: When Trump came to Irma, Harvey, Maria victims' aid with an actual golf trophy
As of October 1, Trump hadn't visited Puerto Rico, devastated by hurricane damage.
He had, however, dedicated the Presidents Cup to "all of those people that went through so much," positioning the disaster in the past while bequeathing its victims and survivors with what they really need: hypothetical association with a golfing trophy.
Trump happened to make history that day, in a blundering flurry of PR acumen. The Presidents Cup tweeted out after Trump's speech at the event:
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said he plans to have the island's energy grid restored to 95 percent power by December. Until then, paper towels and trophies. (Read: brioche.)
8: When congressional Republicans had to defend the NEH and NEA from the president
After news broke that Trump's budget for the remainder of the 2017 fiscal year would include massive cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities -- among other vital agencies -- unlikely defenders of the arts came forward.
Congressional Republicans and Democrats began lobbying together for the agencies, independent from the White House, and eventually ordered $2 million increases for both the NEA and NEH, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Trump's initial plan seemed doomed to fail, though it certainly put cultural programs that receive federal funding on high alert. Also from the L.A. Times:
"Most NEA funds go to support community arts groups in all 50 states, with rural, Republican-leaning states topping the lists of spending per person. As a result, arts programs have a strong constituency in Congress, especially on the appropriations committees that dole out spending."
Elected officials from each of those states would have to choose between allegiance to their state's presidential pick or allegiance to their state, at that point. And with re-election always on the radar, it's no wonder why both programs ended up seeing a massive uptick in funds.
In August, all 16 members of Trump's Committee on the Arts and Humanities would resign after the president's response to the riots in Charlottesville, Va. The artists encoded a message in their letter to the president; the first letter of each paragraph, when put together in order of appearance, spells "RESIST." It seems, according to goverment and public response, that the arts are here to stay.
7: When the president's former chief adviser denounced Milo Yiannopoulos, a tool in Trump's campaign
In a surreal, pot-calling-the-kettle-white-supremacist move, former chief adviser to the president Steve Bannon recently declared Milo Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart tech editor and Trumpian campaign tool of the alt-right, "dead" to him.
News of the Breitbart chairman's move to distance himself and his publication from Yiannopoulos comes after a BuzzFeed expose that revealed, in detail, how Yiannopoulos worked with white nationalists to merge the image of the alt-right with ideologies of white supremacy. The story went viral, and Bannon ostensibly reacted to preserve the image of his media outlet.
Shedding Yiannopoulos's skin isn't that easy, however. According to BuzzFeed, the two are still financially connected through the Mercer family, which owns shares in Breitbart and funds a significant portion of Yiannopoulos's hydra-head outlet, sprouted out of necessity after Breitbart fired him and Simon & Schuster pulled his book deal in response to his statement condoning pedophilia.
Given Trump's focus on banning Muslims from entering the country, deporting as many undocumented migrants as possible, and his campaign's legacy of promising a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, connecting the dots between Bannon, Trump, and white nationalism doesn't require a leap in logic. The Trump campaign was complicit in accepting Yiannopoulos's support leading up to the election, active in receiving Bannon's guidance during and after, and entirely tone-deaf to American values throughout. Those hands can't be washed clean, no matter how many hats change at the White House.
6: When Vice President Mike Pence rhetorically attended a football game to leave it -- on taxpayer money
In an incredible move of weirdly paternal, formal condemnation -- rarely seen in the administration, and juxtaposed with perennial caps-locked tweets -- Vice President Pence left a football game earlier this month after players on both teams knelt for the national anthem.
"I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag, or our national anthem," Pence said after the event.
Surprising no one, the president tweeted praise for Pence's actions after players showed "such disrespect for our country!" And despite the fact that the short trip to Indianapolis may have cost taxpayers $88,000, both the president and the vice president stood by their actions, causing quite the hubbub around their supposed images as fiscal conservatives.
Eric Reid, who plays safety for the 49ers, pointed out that the stunt was likely planned. "He knew our team has had the most players protest," he told Niners Nation. "He knew that we were probably going to do it again."
The Atlantic hailed Trump and Pence's move as "Mike Pence's Flagrant Waste of Taxpayer Money," noting Pence "spent more than most Americans make in a year traveling to an NFL game to perform a political stunt," echoing the financial disconnect evident in Linton's Instagram response to Miller.
Seven players from the 49ers knelt during the anthem at an October 15 game, one week after Pence's venture to Indianapolis, according to The Guardian. An ESPN survey conducted in September found that a majority of white viewers opposed the form of protest while a majority of black viewers supported it.
5: When Trump's visit to Israel's Holocaust remembrance museum was actually about him and "his friends"
When political and cultural leaders visit Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial museum constructed "to collect, examine and publish testimony of the [Holocaust] and the heroism it called forth," they generally leave with the weight of atrocity on their shoulders. The museum houses the Hall of Names, which preserves 2.7 million "Pages of Testimony" from Hitler's mass genocide, according to the center's website.
Trump's visit made headlines for exactly the wrong reasons. In his "book of remembrances" note, signed by foreign leaders as part of the ritual of visitation, Trump wrote what ultimately reads like a tweet or a thank-you card for being thrown a party.
The full note, 89-character note:
"IT IS A GREAT HONOR TO BE HERE WITH ALL OF MY FRIENDS - SO AMAZING + WILL NEVER FORGET!"
Comparisons to former presidents Bill Clinton's, Barack Obama's, and George W. Bush's Yad Vashem notes spread across the internet like wildfire. Neither Clinton nor Obama had left notes that could fit within Twitter's 140-character constraint -- though, to Bush's credit, his 16-character note ("God bless Israel") can be interpreted simply as speechless.
At least there were no Trump Steaks involved?
4: When Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded protections for LGBT people, again
The first attack on LGBT people from the Trump administration came in February -- the day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions was sworn into office. The new Department of Justice rescinded its appeal to prevent the reduction of Obama-era DOJ and Department of Education joint guidance instructing schools to let transgender students use the bathroom that match their gender. Sessions's DOJ withdrew the guidelines in totality later that month.
In late March, when Trump signed an executive order undemining Obama-era guidance that prohibited discrimination toward LGBT employees byfederal contractors, the second attack went unchecked.
Earlier this month, the DOJ issued a memorandum on "religious liberty" that essentially lays out its ideology going forward on a wide set of issues, affecting LGBT people and single mothers, among others.
Sen. Dick Durbin questioned Sessions on October 18 regarding the effects of the memorandum. The exchange was the least graceful tango in recorded history.
Durbin: "Under the guidance you released to all executive departments on religious liberty, let me ask you this question: Could a Social Security Administration employee refuse to accept or process spousal or survivor benefits paperwork for a surviving same-sex spouse?"
Sessions: "That's something I have never thought would arise, but I would have to give you a written answer to that, if you don't mind."
Durbin: "I'd like to have that. Could a federal contractor refuse to provide services to LGBTQ people, including in emergencies, without risk of losing federal contracts?"
Sessions: "I'm not sure that is covered by it, but I will look."
Essentially, Sessions is saying he didn't stop to think whether his department's actions would allow for discrimination against LGBT people before releasing the guidance. JoDee Winterhof, the Human Rights Campaign's senior vice president for policy and political affairs, flagged that as unlikely.
"It's difficult to believe that the Attorney General of the United States did not consider all potential ramifications before he signed a sweeping license to discriminate order," she said in a press release.
In an infuriating turn of events, the guidance could not only affect LGBT people in the workplace and in health care, but also our ability to eat cake. Go figure.
3. When Ben Carson endorsed Roy Moore for U.S. senator from Alabama
"Judge Moore is a fine man of proven character and integrity, who I have come to respect over the years," said Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson in a statement late in September. His decision to back Moore, a disgraced judge who was removed from his previous post as Alabama chief justice for ordering judges not to respect the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling, doesn't necessarily surprise.
What makes it kind of uncomfortable, however, is Moore's recently revealed comment on the Here I Stand podcast regarding same-sex marriage and historical race relations.
"In 1857 the United States Supreme Court did rule that black people were property," Moore said in a cringe-inducing preamble. "Of course that contradicted the Constitution, and it took a civil war to overturn it. But this ruling in Obergefell is even worse in a sense," he continued -- of course arguing that it unfairly affects Christians and going the predictable "what next, interspecies marriage?" route.
Moore's comparison of rulings that abolished slavery and same-sex marriage is unsavory, to say the absolute least. But Carson, aware of the statement or not, supports him for his former statements regarding religion and traditional values.
"He is truly someone who reflects the Judeo-Christian values that were so important to the establishment of our country," Carson detailed in his September statement. "It is these values that we must return to make America great again."
2. When former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price expensed about $1 million
If Pence's $88,000 rhetorical trip to the 49ers-Colts game raised any eyebrows, Price's actions leading up to his resignation will almost certainly do the same. Politico broke news in late September that Price had chartered flights on taxpayer money to the tune of $400,000, and the outlet later revealed that Price had spent another $500,000 on White House-approved travel.
"The taxpayers won't pay a dime for my seat on those planes," Price said after the news became public. As ambitious as that statement sounded, he abided quite literally by his words and agreed to pay back $51,887.31 of the sum he incurred traveling during his eight-month tenure in the administration -- exactly the cost of his seat.
Price resigned September 29, the same day the news broke.
1. When Betsy DeVos slashed protections for disabled students
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos tops this list for many reasons, but one stands out in particular. In a remarkably regressive move, DeVos eliminated 72 guidance documents outlining protections for disabled students from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in early October. The news didn't break until The Washington Post reported the actions three weeks after the Individuals with Disabilites Education Act documents had been reduced.
Citing the move as a part of the administration's strategy to "alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens," the removal of the guidance documents rings cold, calloused and disconnected from a long struggle in education to better serve students with disabilities.
"All of these [guidelines] are meant to be very useful ... in helping schools and parents understand and fill in with concrete examples the way the law is meant to work when it's being implemented in various situations," said Leslie E. Jones, the chief of policy and advocacy for the National Center for Learning Disabilites.
But the administration disagrees, referring to the guidelines as "outdated, unnucessary, or ineffective."
There's no joke that can accompany this one. Just a reminder to resist.