The First 100 Days of Trump Memes
If there's a single word that sums up the first 100 days of Donald Trump's presidency, it would have to be memeable. Not the word you would've chosen? Not even a word, period? Psh. Sounds like fake news.
To mark Trump's first three-plus months as an elected official, we've collected the best memes his finely tuned administration has inspired so far -- it seems almost every morning brought news of a freshly dank meme, and it's a safe bet that many more will rise in the 1,362 days leading up to the 2021 inauguration.
I Have Never Been to Prague in My Life
Early in January, BuzzFeed published a dossier alleging that one of Trump's attorneys, Michael Cohen, met with Kremlin officials in Prague. Cohen's response: a sick close-up of the front of his passport. The randomness of the rebuttal has inspired countless copycat uploads -- all of which make roughly the same amount of sense.
Make America Great Again
Trump understood America in 2016 better than most people assumed, and his official campaign slogan is the chief example of Trump's memeability in an age of memes. He slapped it on those signature red hats, tweeted with the #MAGA hashtag, shouted it at rallies like an aging arena rocker playing his biggest hit. It embodies the spirit of Trump's existence: a malleable putty capable of both a coherent winning strategy and a simpleton's reductionist worldview. MAGA is the ultimate Trump meme.
Ah, fake news, what would we be without ye? What began as a centrist Democratic whine -- FAKE NEWS on Facebook swung the election in Trump's favor, it's the only explanation! -- quickly and predictably became co-opted by Trump and his crew to refer to any media coverage they didn't like. CNN? Fake news. The New York Times? Fake news. Frederick Douglass' death? Fake, fake, fake news. Now every citizen can point and yell, "Fake news!" at any shred of information that challenges their beliefs. This is the most democratic of memes.
Boy, President Trump sure looks presidential sitting behind a desk at Mar-a-Lago. What's he writing? Internet jokesters have a few ideas.
Side-Eyeing Michelle Obama
One of the weirdest (but best) parts of Trump's inauguration was that moment when Melania handed Michelle Obama the mysterious Tiffany's box. Michelle's "Jim-facing" was all of us that day, in more ways than one.
Livestreaming has become the norm for cord-cutters of the 21st century, and while there were yuge, massive crowds attending the event in person, social media stepped up with some creative interpretations of the day's activities.
In the VERY first days of Trump's presidency (remember those?), counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway appeared on television more often than Jerry Seinfeld in reruns. These were times when cable news anchors sincerely believed presenting true information -- like, for example, that the Trump inauguration crowds were not the biggest ever -- would force officials to realize the error of their ways. Instead, Kellyanne Conway informed the world that she lived by a set of "alternative facts," thus gifting the world yet another versatile meme.
Several years ago, golfer Dave Phillips attended a conference to see which muscle groups were used the most in his swing. "Research showed," he later wrote, "that the key lower body muscle was the gluteus maximus." In other words, DAT ASS.
In March 2013, actor Danny DeVito tweeted "Antonin Scalia retire bitch." His reasons for doing so are still unclear. But four years later, the concise demand has bloomed into a popular refrain, a call for controversial men, especially politicians, to cut their bullshit and pack it in.
Trump Hotel Memories
Do you remember the time Trump Hotels tried to run a social marketing campaign asking Twitter users for their favorite travel memories? Thanks to hardworking meme-sters around the internet, you don't have to. Remember, kids: Your tweets will live as long as Twitter lives.
steve bannon looks like if kenneth branagh melted like that fat vampire in blade.— josh androsky🌹 (@ShutUpAndrosky) January 30, 2017
"Steve Bannon Looks Like"
A pug Animorph that got stuck at the early end of its transformation? We can't say for sure. But these people can.
Trump's First Order of Business
Since taking office, President Trump has found a new favorite hobby: signing executive orders. The internet's way of dealing with this has been to turn all his fancy black folders into silly statements and rudimentary doodles. Say what you want, but this walking Ralph Steadman cartoon can draw.
What happens when the President gets the Roll Safe treatment.
When Trump wanted to ban immigration from a list of Muslim-majority countries, the courts stepped in and blocked the order. Trump didn't back down, instead tweeting about what he (presumably) perceived to be an easy judicial decision. Naturally, no one interpreted "Easy D!" that way. Sometimes 140-character limits are a blessing.
SEE YOU IN COURT
Speaking of judicial decisions, "I'll see you in court!" isn't just something litigious villains in '90s sitcoms say; it's what the President of the United States tweets when that Easy D wasn't as easy as he thought.
Trump shakes hands like someone pulling a pinball plunger. By the time it was Trudeau's turn to visit the White House, Canada's head honcho was ready to pull back.
Perhaps the funniest aspect of Donald Trump's first 100 days as president is his conviction that public branding will alter the opinions of the gazillion reporters and citizens who watch his every move like a bald eagle suspiciously eyeing... Donald Trump. His claim about the Trump administration's mechanical competence combined with an internet full of broken machine gifs to create true meme magic.
"Who's got two thumbs and wants to become a meme?" These Trump officials, apparently, who got exactly what they asked for.
"I call my own shots"
Like so many other memes from Trump's first 100 days, the President created this himself via Twitter. Once again, Trump demonstrated his affinity for shimmery corporate euphemisms, and added the FAKE NEWS meme to boot.
Kellyanne Conway Sits
In an alternate universe, an adult sitting like a distracted pre-teen on a couch wouldn't make news. But in this universe, it's Kellyanne Conway casually chilling on an Oval Office couch while President Trump meets with leaders of historically black colleges. Photoshopping opportunities like this don't come along very often.
Google would have you believe Donald Trump's 6-foot-2. According to this Lilliputian meme, that shit's fake news. Sad!
Sex and the Russia
Poor Carrie. All she wanted was an invite to one of those Russian parties we've been hearing so much about.
This Is the Future That Liberals Want
When far-right Twitter user @polNewsNetwork1 tweeted a photo of a drag queen sitting next to a woman in a niqab in a New York subway car, deriding the image as "the future that liberals want," said liberals clapped back by celebrating diversity and offering self-aware visions of their own utopias. (Enter dogs, superheroes, Guy Fieri.) "I hope one day that a picture of a woman in modesty garb sitting next to a colorful drag queen isn't out of the ordinary," the drag queen in the original picture, Gilda Wabbit, told BuzzFeed News, "that it's everyday life for everyone!"
Paul Ryan's Deck
Once upon a time, House Speaker Paul Ryan thought it was a good idea to explain the GOP's Obamacare replacement with a PowerPoint presentation. The rest, as you know, was meme-story.
Obamacare vs. GOP Replacement
Before House Republican leaders pulled the GOP's bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, the internet wasn't thrilled with the idea of Trumpcare. To illustrate their frustration in simple terms, the people built a meme, a meme that starkly juxtaposed purity with disappointment and goodness with garbage, a meme that yelled, "Fuck that shit!" real loud.
Kellyanne Conway's Spying Microwave
"You can surveil someone through their phones, certainly through their television sets -- any number of ways... microwaves that turn into cameras," Trump's truth-massaging consigliere told The Record. "We know this is a fact of modern life." To-may-to, to-mah-to, microphone, microwave.
Donald Trump Jr.'s Sitting Skills
This infamous picture comes from a New York Times story, headlined, "Donald Trump Jr. Is His Own Kind of Trump." Changed, of course, from the original: "Donald Trump Jr. Is the Death Knell of Sitting as We Know It."
Border Wall Requirements
What's worse than having no wall? According to Trump, an UGLY WALL. A very real graphic on Fox News lent itself too well to parody to go unused.
A few years ago, when someone asked David Owen whether Trump was "in on the joke" of his public persona, the New Yorker writer said, "As far as I could tell, the Trump we were used to seeing on television was the honest-to-god authentic Trump: a 10-year-old boy who, for unknown reasons, had been given a real airplane and a billion dollars." Harsh? Not when you see what happened when the president welcomed members of the American Trucking Association to the White House. The pictures, which corroborated Owen's take, were already gold. But the ensuing tweets, especially this flawless "Thong Song" one, catapulted the images to meme stardom.
Health Care Meetings
Before Trumpcare failed, it was hard to stomach the irony of the situation: dusty white male politicians were debating women's healthcare. You know how insane that was? As Hillary Clinton's favorite meme pointed out, it was like dogs debating feline issues.
The First Lady? Not safe either. When Her Highness released her official White House portrait -- complete with the softest of focuses -- it got roasted with the same intensity as, well, most things Trump-related.
There's a -1,362% chance that Matt Furie envisioned his Pepe the Frog character becoming an icon of Nazi sympathizers and alt-right Twitter eggs, but here we are. The best way to fight memes, though, is with more memes. As Pepe evolved from an innocent cartoon character to a relatively innocent normie meme to a rallying figure for alt-right Nazi sympathizers to a literal stand-in for Trump and his deplorables, it became nearly impossible to escape Pepe. How do you maintain a meme's value in a super-saturated market? Start searching for rarePepes.
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