Donald Trump: the 22 wildest moments of his 2016 presidential election campaign - so far
Published 01/09/2016 | 11:28
From banning all Muslims from America to building a wall along the Mexican border (who's gonna pay for that wall?) - Donald Trump's campaign for the US presidency has provided shocking, amusing and controversial moments aplenty.
Mr Trump, the maverick candidate, has turned the US political world on its head over the past year, and there is now a very real possibility that he will become the next American president.
Here we recap the key moments from what has been a wild ride of a campaign since Mr Trump announced he was running in June 2015:
1. Muslim ban
On December 7 2015, in response to the 2015 San Bernardino attack, Mr Trump sent shockwaves around the world with the following statement: "Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."
2. Mexico 'sending rapists'
Mr Trump wasted no time in offending - and grabbing headlines. In his campaign launch he said of Mexican immigrants coming to the US: "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people." It did not go down well in Mexico.
3. John McCain ‘not a war hero’
On July 18 2015, Mr Trump said of American war hero and Republican grandee: "He's not a war hero." The billionaire explained: "He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured." Mr McCain was a prisoner of war for five and a half years during the Vietnam War, having been shot down over Hanoi on a bombing mission.
4. ‘Small hands’
Marco Rubio joked on the campaign trail: "He is taller than me, he's like 6' 2", which is why I don't understand why his hands are the size of someone who is 5' 2". Have you seen his hands? And you know what they say about men with small hands..." At the next Republican debate, Mr Trump held up his hands up and said: "Those hands can hit a golf ball 285 yards."
"I guarantee you there is no problem," Trump affirmed. "I guarantee you," as the Republican race more than ever resembled a school playground.
5. ‘Little Marco, Lyin’ Ted’
The Republican debates were characterised by personal insults and sniping. Mr Trump was always able to hit his opponents where is hurts, describing Ted Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted” and diminutive Mr Rubio as “Little Marco”.
6. ‘Low energy’ Jeb
Mr Trump destroyed Jeb Bush’s 100 million-dollar candidacy with a single phrase that struck the former Florida governor like an arrow to the heart. He was, Mr Trump said during a debate back in August 2015, “low energy”. The insult stuck. Jeb was finished.
7. Megyn Kelly ‘has blood coming out of her... wherever’
Mr Trump clashed with Fox News' Megyn Kelly during a debate in August 2015. He later suggested the reason for the tension was that she had been menstruating. He said she had "blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her... wherever".
In a later interview, Kelly confronted Mr Trump about several tweets he had posted referring to her as a "bimbo". "Excuse me,” Mr Trump said. “Not the most horrible thing… Over your life Megyn, you’ve been called a lot worse. Isn’t that right? Wouldn’t you say?”
8. Trump Towers elevator entrance
Donald Trump formally launched his run for the White House on June 16 2015. In bizarre scenes at Trump Towers, Mr Trump and his wife Melania descended an escalator in front of the world's media. Presidential? Judge for yourself:
9. Trump ‘mocks disabled reporter’
In November, Mr Trump was slammed by disability rights groups for apparently mocking a disabled New York Times reporter. At a rally he appeared to do an impression of Serge Kovaleski, who suffers from a congenital joint condition. "Now the poor guy, you gotta see this guy," he said, later denying that he was mocking the journalist.
10. Melania - or Michelle’s convention speech
Melania's speech delivered a widely well-received speech on the first night of the Republican convention in Cleveland. It received rave reviews - until someone noticed it was heavily plagiarised from Michelle Obama’s 2008. Mr Trump and his wife were said to be “furious”.
11. Carly Fiorina: ‘Look at that face!’
Mr Trump responded to the challenge from Carly Fiorina, his fellow Republican presidential hopeful, by insulting her. "Look at that face!" he told Rolling Stone. "Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!"
12. ‘I could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue’
In January, Mr Trump's polls continued to soar - he cold do no wrong, apparently. He said he could shoot someone on New York's Fifth Avenue and his frontrunner status would not suffer. "You know what else they say about my people? The polls, they say I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that? Where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s like incredible," he said.
13. Sarah Palin endorsement
Mr Trump accepted a much sought after endorsement in January, but soon seemed unsure why he wanted it in the first place. He stood by uncomfortably as Sarah Palin unleashed phrases like: “right-winging, bitter-clinging, proud clingers of our guns, our God, and our religion” during a rambling speech which came a day after her son was arrested on domestic violence charges. Mrs Palin soon vanished from the campaign trail for the remainder of the primary campaign.
14. Miserable Christie
The shoe was soon on the other foot after Chris Christie endorsed Mr Trump, and found himself standing behind the property mogul as he uncorked an unorthodox victory speech. His miserable facial expressions soon became an Internet sensation.
15. Campaign manager arrested
Corey Lewandowski, Mr Trump’s campaign manager, was arrested for assault and battery after he grabbed a reporter in a scrum following an event. Despite intense pressure, Mr Trump refused to fire Mr Lewandowski. The charges were later dropped.
16. Ties Ted Cruz’s father to JFK assassination
Donald Trump is no stranger to casting insinuations about his rivals, but he outdid himself in May, 2016 when he speculated that Ted Cruz’s father had helped John F Kennedy’s assassin. “I mean, what was he doing — what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting?” Mr Trump wondered aloud, citing an outrageously untrue tabloid story.
17. “A hell of a lot worse than waterboarding”
Donald Trump blasted the Obama administration during a debate in February for banning waterboarding, and said he would bring the practice back as well as things “a hell of a lot worse”. That comment caused the director of the CIA to speak out against Mr Trump’s proposal.
18. “How stupid are the people of Iowa”
In November, Dr Ben Carson pulled into the lead in the crucial state of Iowa, but was facing scrutiny over anecdotes he had shared about his life, including whether an incident in which claimed to have tried to stab a friend actually took place. Mr Trump decided to reenact the incident, ending with the line “how stupid are the people of Iowa” to believe this.
19. Clashing with parents of fallen soldier
Captain Humayun Khan was killed in Iraq while protecting his subordinates from a car bomb. His parents appeared at the Democratic National Convention in July, with his father rebuking Mr Trump over the Muslim ban and questioning whether he had read the US Constitution.
Mr Trump subsequently suggested that Mrs Khan was not allowed to speak because of her religion (she later said it was because she was too emotional), and said Mr Khan had "no right" to make such a statement. He was criticised by Republicans and Democrats alike, as well as veterans groups and families of other fallen soldiers.
20. Surprise trip to Mexico
Enrique Pena Nieto, Mexico's president, in August issued formal invitations to both candidates to visit Mexico prior to the election.
Just days later Mr Trump suddenly decided to accept- giving less than 24 hours notice that he would be travelling to a country in which he is deeply unpopular due to his past statements about Mexican immigrants.
While in Mexico City he called Mr Pena Nieto a "friend", and said they would work together to solve the immigration issue.