The 22 most dramatic moments of Trump’s presidency, in photos

Louise Hall
·8-min read
<p>President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in as President on January 20, 2017 at the US Capitol in Washington, DC</p> (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in as President on January 20, 2017 at the US Capitol in Washington, DC

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

On 20 January, Donald Trump’s time as president of the United States will officially end, drawing to a close a four-year term that has been as explosive as many had anticipated when he first set foot in the White House.

On Wednesday, despite Mr Trump’s efforts, president-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated at the US Capitol, the scene of a pro-Trump insurrection earlier this month.

Here, we take a look back at some of the Trump administration’s most dramatic moments.

READ MORE: Follow live updates as Biden set to be sworn in as president

Days before his inauguration in 2017, president-elect Donald Trump held a press conference to announce he had formally given "complete and total" control of his business empire to his two sons, Eric and Don Jr, to avoid conflict of interest during his presidency.

Mr Trump quickly faced backlash after many pointed out that the documents, which were placed next to him as evidence of preparations, appeared to be blank.

The president has been accused of using false props for public impact on a number of occasions, including signing blank paper and sharing a photo of a book filled with accomplishments that appeared empty.

Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th president of the United States at the US Capitol in Washington DC, 20 January, 2017Reuters
Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th president of the United States at the US Capitol in Washington DC, 20 January, 2017Reuters

Donald Trump’s four years as president officially began with his Inauguration Day at the US Capitol in Washington DC on 20 January 2017.

Ariel photos of the somewhat sparse crowds drew attention on the day, with many parts of the National Mall left unfilled as Mr Trump took his inaugural oath.

Mr Trump’s look has become a defining symbol of the presidency with the 74-year-old renowned for his deep tan and permanently blond hair.

The president has often conveyed great attachment to his hairstyle, saying that his “hair has to be perfect". Last year it was revealed in an investigation of his taxes that he filed $70,000 in hairstyling expenses tied to his former reality show, The Apprentice.

President Trump, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte join hands for the family photo during the 31st Association of South East Asian Nations, 13 November 2017JIM WATSON/ AFP via Getty Images
President Trump, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte join hands for the family photo during the 31st Association of South East Asian Nations, 13 November 2017JIM WATSON/ AFP via Getty Images

Mr Trump added to his growing reputation for awkward handshakes with world leaders during a “traditional” ASEAN handshake with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in 2017.

The president’s unusual and abrupt handshake technique has often made headlines and has even been examined by experts, who speculate Mr Trump gives long and firm handshakes as an attempt to assert dominance.

First Lady Melania Trump walks through Christmas decorations in the East Wing, 27 November 2017AFP via Getty Images
First Lady Melania Trump walks through Christmas decorations in the East Wing, 27 November 2017AFP via Getty Images

First Lady Melania Trump’s first attempt at the White House’s Christmas decorations in 2017 went viral. The display of stark white branches was likened to Stranger Things and described as a "nuclear winter wonderland".

In 2020 the first lady was caught on tape apparently expressing her distaste for the annual duty, raging: “Who gives a f*** about Christmas stuff and decoration?”

French President Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump walk hand in hand under the colonnades of the White House in Washington on 24 April 2018AFP via Getty Images
French President Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump walk hand in hand under the colonnades of the White House in Washington on 24 April 2018AFP via Getty Images

Speculation over the president’s body language once again caught media attention when the president and his French counterpart put on a notable display of professional affection in Washington back in 2018.

Their warm demeanor marked a significant shift in the interaction between the two men since their tense encounter on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels earlier that year.

Ivanka Trump and her husband White House advisor Jared Kushner are seen during the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, 14 May 2018AFP via Getty Images
Ivanka Trump and her husband White House advisor Jared Kushner are seen during the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, 14 May 2018AFP via Getty Images

The president’s oldest daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, who have both served as senior White House advisors to the president, attended the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem in 2018.

In 2017 the Trump administration recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and ordered the US embassy to move there, a highly controversial decision that overturned seven decades of US foreign policy.

Last year, the embassy renamed a courtyard after Mr Kushner, who lacked any political or diplomatic experience prior to his lead role in the peace process.

Melania Trump wears a jacket emblazoned with the words “I really don’t care, do you?” following her surprise visit with child migrants on the US-Mexico border, 21 June 2018AFP via Getty Images
Melania Trump wears a jacket emblazoned with the words “I really don’t care, do you?” following her surprise visit with child migrants on the US-Mexico border, 21 June 2018AFP via Getty Images

In 2018, the first lady caused a media storm after wearing a coat emblazoned with the words “I really don’t care, do you?” on her surprise visit with child migrants at the US-Mexico border.

The first lady later said the coat, which sparked backlash in light of the administration's implementation of an immigration policy that separated hundreds of children from their parents, was meant as a message to the media.

Donald Trump and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II inspect a Guard of Honour, formed of the Coldstream Guards at Windsor Castle, 13 July 2018Getty Images
Donald Trump and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II inspect a Guard of Honour, formed of the Coldstream Guards at Windsor Castle, 13 July 2018Getty Images

The president raised eyebrows when he broke with etiquette while meeting the Queen at Windsor Castle by walking in front of her as they inspected a guard of honour.

Reports later speculated that the Queen quietly mocked the president by wearing a brooch given to her as a present by former president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama on the day he arrived in the United Kingdom.

US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is greeted by President Donald Trump at the justice’s ceremonial swearing-in, 8 October, 2018Getty Images
US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is greeted by President Donald Trump at the justice’s ceremonial swearing-in, 8 October, 2018Getty Images

Justice Brett Kavanaugh was sworn onto the US Supreme Court in 2018 following uproar at his highly-charged confirmation process where he was accused of sexual assault.

Mr Kavanaugh denied allegations levelled against him by Dr Christine Blasey Ford where she said that he had assaulted her when they were both at high school in 1982. Protesters descended on Capitol Hill to decry his appointment.

Kanye West shows a picture on a phone to Donald Trump during a meeting in the Oval Office, 11 October, 2018Getty Images
Kanye West shows a picture on a phone to Donald Trump during a meeting in the Oval Office, 11 October, 2018Getty Images

Kanye West launched into a bizarre rant during his meeting with the president in 2018, with the vocal Trump supporter lavishing praise on the president while wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat.

The rapper announced in July 2020 that he was running for US president against Mr Biden and Mr Trump and some speculated that Republican support for the bid was aimed at diverting votes from the Democratic candidate in swing states.

Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during their second summit meeting, 28 February, 2019Getty Images
Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during their second summit meeting, 28 February, 2019Getty Images

Mr Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met for a second summit in Vietnam in 2019 with the US president calling the autocrat a “great leader” and describing their relationship as “very special”.

The president urged North Korea to surrender its nuclear weapons in exchange for the prospect of an economic revival in the isolationist country.

Ahead of Mr Biden’s inauguration, Mr Kim has threatened to expand his nuclear arsenal, saying the fate of relations with the county depends on its hostile policy.

President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a meeting in New York, 25 September 2019AFP via Getty Images
President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a meeting in New York, 25 September 2019AFP via Getty Images

Mr Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met in New York in 2019 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly as a political storm raged against him in Washington that would end in his first impeachment.

The anticipated meeting came after the White House released a redacted memo that showed Mr Trump asking Mr Zelensky to look into Mr Biden’s actions in Ukraine when he was vice president.

White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx and Donald Trump are joined by members of the Coronavirus Task Force, 23 April, 2020EPA
White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx and Donald Trump are joined by members of the Coronavirus Task Force, 23 April, 2020EPA

As the coronavirus pandemic began to tighten its grip on the US, White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx appeared stunned as Mr Trump wildly suggested the virus could be treated using ultraviolet light and bleach during a daily press briefing.

More than 389,000 people have died as a result of Covid in the US, with more than 23.4 million recorded cases, the highest tally worldwide.

Donald Trump holds a Bible while visiting St John’s Church across from the White House amid George Floyd protests on 1 June, 2020AFP via Getty Images
Donald Trump holds a Bible while visiting St John’s Church across from the White House amid George Floyd protests on 1 June, 2020AFP via Getty Images

Amid nationwide racial justice protests over the police killing of George Floyd in May, the president walked from the White House across Lafayette Square to silently hold up a Bible in front of St John’s Church.

Mr Trump’s visit - which led to accusations that peaceful protestors had been violently cleared from the area - was reportedly motivated by his fury at news stories claiming he had gone to his bunker for safety.

Donald Trump, returning from a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 21 June, 2020AP
Donald Trump, returning from a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 21 June, 2020AP

The president was pictured looking deflated on return from a disappointing campaign rally in Oklahoma, his first in three months after events were put on hold due to the pandemic.

The controversial rally in Tulsa saw just over 6,000 people attend a 19,000 capacity arena after the president had boasted one million people had registered to come.

President Donald Trump posted a picture to Instagram posing with Goya Foods products, 15 July, 2020Instagram/ RealDonaldTrump
President Donald Trump posted a picture to Instagram posing with Goya Foods products, 15 July, 2020Instagram/ RealDonaldTrump

The president and his oldest daughter raised questions over Hatch Act ethics rules after he posted a picture to Instagram posing with Goya Foods products.

The bold endorsement for the brand came following calls to boycott the company after its CEO Robert Unanue publicly praised the president.

Donald Trump pulls off his protective face mask at the White House after returning from Covid treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center on 5 October, 2020REUTERS
Donald Trump pulls off his protective face mask at the White House after returning from Covid treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center on 5 October, 2020REUTERS

Mr Trump was photographed dramatically pulling off his protective face mask while standing on the Truman Balcony of the White House after returning from being hospitalised at Walter Reed Medical Center for coronavirus in October 2020.

More than 40 members of Mr Trump’s administration, campaign, and inner circle have contracted the virus since late September, including the first lady and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

Donald Trump dances at the end of a rally in Carson City, Nevada on 18 October, 2020AFP via Getty Images
Donald Trump dances at the end of a rally in Carson City, Nevada on 18 October, 2020AFP via Getty Images

During his re-election campaign, Mr Trump began dancing to the Village People’s “YMCA” as the finale to his large events.

Mr Trump was criticized for continuing to host large public gatherings amid the ongoing pandemic.

Donald Trump at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, 21 November, 2020EPA
Donald Trump at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, 21 November, 2020EPA

Mr Trump was pictured playing golf at his club in Virginia for the 143rd time since becoming president in the days following Mr Biden’s election win.

The president spent one in five days playing golf in 2019 and was pictured doing so twice over the Memorial Day weekend in 2020, as the US topped more than 100,000 coronavirus deaths.

A mob of pro-Trump supporters breach the US Capitol Building in Washington, US, 6 January, 2021REUTERS
A mob of pro-Trump supporters breach the US Capitol Building in Washington, US, 6 January, 2021REUTERS

A violent pro-Trump mob breached the US Capitol on 6 January, 2021 as lawmakers gathered to certify Mr Biden’s win in the 2020 election, forcing them to evacuate.

Five people died as a result of the violence as rioters looted and vandalised the building. The president had encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol building at a “Save America” rally earlier that day.

Donald Trump at the US-Mexico border wall 12 January, 2021AP
Donald Trump at the US-Mexico border wall 12 January, 2021AP

With just days left in office Mr Trump visited the US-Mexico border wall on 12 January, with a view to celebrating what he sees as one of his greatest presidential accomplishments.

A rallying cry of Mr Trump’s 2016 campaign, the construction of the border wall was an attempt to reform what the White House described as the nation's broken immigration system.

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