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Four years is a lifetime on the internet.
“I’m fucking trembling out of excitement brahs. We actually elected a meme as president.”
He had no idea how immediately true that proclamation would be.
Since Trump won the 2016 election, the left who has adopted memes as a potent way to attack the president. Pretty much everything he has done since taking office has been meme-ed to hell and back, hoping to get under the president’s skin. These memes are making the internet great again.
The best Donald Trump memes
Trump memes: May 2017
Donal Trump tweets covfefe (May 31)
Many people were concerned about how Donald Trump’s off-the-cuff use of Twitter would affect America—and it has already been some ride—but no one could have predicted what happened on the second to last day of May.
Before going to bed, Trump composed a tweet that he never finished, then hit send.
Covfefe entered the lexicon, and the internet (and sidewalk chalkboard signs) was never the same.
It’s a phrase with staying power, and it quickly became the punchline to almost every good internet meme.
But perhaps worse than all, it took down the happiest account on the internet. After putting a ‘Covfefe’ hat for sale in the We Rate Dogs store, @dog_rates offered the proceeds to Planned Parenthood. Conservatives were upset that the man behind the account was liberal. So he apologized, which upset the left.
Anyway, this just about sums everything up.
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump had presented himself as the exemplar of masculinity and virility he believes himself to be. Just, remember the primary debates. Or don’t.
Trump believes being a man matters most, which is why, perhaps, in their first meeting, newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron felt that he needed to speak to Trump in that same language. And with all absurd male-on-male courting rituals, no first impressions counts more than the handshake.
The internet was thoroughly impressed by the effort.
One of Trump’s biggest selling points to his base was that he was not part of a cabal of secretly globalist leaders who would meet in private to determine the fate of the world. No, that was his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Which is part of why everyone lost it when a photo emerged of Trump participating in what looks like a downright globalist cabal initiation ritual in his first visit abroad.
In reality, he was just helping the Saudis open their new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology. Or was he?
One of the more frustrating aspects of Donald Trump is that he’s the “I’m rubber you’re glue” president. Almost nothing people say to him has the desired effect. No insult, burn, or dig is going to have a meaningful impact.
People on social media were at their wits’ ends—until the perfect meme arrived. All mocking Spongebob does is repeat the exact words back at whoever says them, showing how stupid they sound.
It’s exactly what those wishing to spoof the president need.
Someone even remade Trump in Spongebob’s likeness.
In the beginning and middle of May, the Trump White House was in astounding disarray. With Trump dismissing James Comey unexpectedly, his surrogates had no idea what to say and went with the explanation that was given in Comey’s dismissal letter.
Unfortunately for them, Trump went told a different story. The same pattern repeated itself with the Russia-confidential information scandal. To put an end to it, Trump wanted people to know that, hey, he does a lot of stuff and shit happens and that’s your problem, not his.
As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
Most of the internet thought it sounded like he was about to hawk a male enhancement pill or some other medication.
To be fair, he does see those ads often on Fox News.
You almost never know what is about to come out of the president’s mouth. Americans have braced themselves for any potential weird outburst and prepped for the worst. But no one expected to see a frog appear—except for artist Mike Mitchell. He saw Trump’s mouth and chin as a sort of canvas for a Futurama-like Hypnotoad drawing, and in doing so, freaked the entire internet out.
No one knows if it’s more comforting seeing Trump’s words come out of the mouth of a frog, but it can’t be any worse than normal.
Trump memes: April 2017
Donald Trump has been long speculated to make his subordinates declare loyalty, but in advance of May 1, he tweeted that he wanted the whole country to declare themselves loyal to America. Twitter did not miss that goodness.
For whatever it’s worth, this is another example of something previous presidents did that didn’t raise a kerfuffle. Blame Twitter.
Trump memes: March 2017
“Now the story of a wealthy family who lost everything and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together. It’s … The Trump Presidency.”
Sort of. While the parallels aren’t perfect—there’s no matriarch of the Trumps that matches Lucile—a writer noticed some eerie parallels between the saga of Donald’s family and the escapades of the Bluths. Trump’s Obamacare repeal debacle, Politico reporter Dan Diamond pointed out, was just like the one where the Bluths tried to build a house.
2. Of course, I’m talking about ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT’s classic episode, “The One Where They Build a House.” pic.twitter.com/UdWOL7jtvM
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) March 24, 2017
Once you start seeing it, it’s everywhere. Ivanka as Lindsay, the blustery Gob as Donald, Jared Kushner as George Michael. Even Paul Ryan, repeatedly giving up on Trump, mimics Michael repeatedly driving away from the family, only to come back again and again.
It’s easy to forget that Donald Trump is, behind the bluster and bravado, still a person, with normal urges.
When he invited a coalition of truckers to the White House to discuss healthcare reform, they brought a big rig onto the grounds. Trump, like any one of us would, wanted to get behind the wheel and toot the horn. And he did. It could have been a touching and humanizing moment for a president many demonize, but because it happened as he was unaware the vote on his signature healthcare bill was being delayed, it instead became a meme.
Trump memes: February 2017
A lot has been written about the sheer male whiteness of Donald Trump’s cabinet and closest advisers.
A photo op after Trump signed legislation to repeal the Streams Protections Rule (a rule designed to protect streams), really showed how glaring it is. People were swift to point out the extreme lack of diversity.
People were also quick to completely burn the group on Twitter.
The president is very, very conscious of his image, and that certainly hasn’t been lost on the internet. So whenever any random tweeter or redditor comes up with an idea to rile the president up by taking his stature down a bit, everyone jumps in. The results are often inspired, like when the idea behind Tiny Trump started percolating. The premise is simple: Take the president and make him seem as small as possible, especially in front of world leaders.
In one of his first press conferences as president, besot by reports of a chaotic administration, Donald Trump said his administration is running like a “fine-tuned machine.”
In fact, he said it more than once..
Twitter did not agree. Twitter, way more than once, did not agree at all.
“This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine" pic.twitter.com/RE9Op24eGl
— Ryan George (@theryangeorge) February 16, 2017
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump portrayed himself as a man of the people. His opponents attempted to paint him as an out-of-touch billionaire.
There’s really only one was to prove it. Who would be more likely to know the cost of a Snickers at a 7-11? A man of the people, or an out-of-touch billionaire.
“Drugs,” Donald Trump said, “are becoming cheaper than candy bars.”
Donald Trump has finally started inviting world leaders to the White House and the results—at least for the meme community—have been yuge.
Trudeau did not let his legions of internet fans down.
The new soundtrack of the alt-right, a loosely organized white supremacist online movement, Trumpwave takes synth-heavy beats from the president’s previous heyday, the 1980s, and overlays Donald Trump quotes on them. basically turning any New Order song into a Make America Great sex jams.
Seriously. Just give it a listen.
Almost to the minute after it was announced, Donald Trump’s executive order banning travelfrom seven Muslim-majority nations has been held up in court.
As the judges have ruled again and again against the order, Trump has gotten testier and testier until, when the 9th Circuit issued a devastating ruling against the president, he unleashed online.
SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2017
Many online noted the similarity to a very popular Twitter user with very prescient, very presidential-sounding tweets from years before.
"im not owned! im not owned!!", i continue to insist as i slowly shrink and transform into a corn cob
— wint (@dril) November 11, 2011
Ever since Donald Trump became a serious presidential contender and declared Twitter to be his preferred mode of communication, the entire internet has become amateur Trump-ologists, parsing his every character for meaning.
But on Feb. 8, the president left everybody stumped with this tweet.
Big increase in traffic into our country from certain areas, while our people are far more vulnerable, as we wait for what should be EASY D!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2017
Everyone eventually realized that the president meant that the courts had an easy decision before them in regards to his travel ban, but not before everyone took it to mean something very, very sexual.
After the (FAKE NEWS!) New York Times declared that Steve Bannon pulled a fast one on Trump, sneaking his way on to the National Security Council, Trump took to Twitter to let the part of the populace that reads his tweets know that he is the one who knocks. Or decides. Or whatever.
I call my own shots, largely based on an accumulation of data, and everyone knows it. Some FAKE NEWS media, in order to marginalize, lies!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2017
And just what does the “I call my own shots, largely based on an accumulation of data” mean?
Twitter had its way with that one.
I call my own shots, largely based on an accumulation of data pic.twitter.com/unX566vGL8
— David Bennett (@MaynardBasilisk) February 6, 2017
Trump memes: January 2017
One of the joys of small children is they are so sincerely satisfied with and impressed by their own ability to complete the simplest of tasks, no matter how enfeebled and downright bad their actual efforts are.
— Trump Draws (@TrumpDraws) January 31, 2017
Back in March, Donald Trump told MSNBC that he would make an excellent foreign policy expert because ” I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.”
Make you think, doesn’t?
Kinda like this guy.
That’s the Roll Safe meme, which features a picture of an idiot dude pointing to his head because he knows his logic is unassailable, because, look, here’s my brain.
As Mugato said in Zoolander, “He’s absolutely right.”
The only way to ever be 100-percent successful on social media is to use a secret government supercomputer to simulate every possible iteration of every possible scenario that could ever play out down the road before you tweet, or never tweet.
Trump Hotels took neither of those routes (understandable back in 2012), but when stories of Muslims being handcuffed and detained at airports became the top story of the president’s first weekend in office, someone found an old Trump Hotel tweet asking everyone to tell them their favorite travel stories.
Chanting "Shame" outside your Washington D.C. hotel with a million people last weekend! @TrumpHotels
— Joan Walsh (@joanwalsh) January 29, 2017
On one of Trump’s first trips as president, he bounded up the stairs of Marine One, and one thing about that stuck out to web denizens.
Well, two things. Ass cheek left, and ass check right.
Come for the Crying Jordans splayed across the president’s butt, stay for the outstanding Simpsons reference.
— Alazar M. (@zarzarbinkss) January 27, 2017
A lot of liberals had jitters watching Trump be sworn in as president because many of them had a completely ridiculous fear that the goal of his presidency was to bring about a cataclysmic culture clash that would portend the collapse of society, all while a terrifying nuclear threat loomed over everything.
Then Donald Trump kinda plagiarized Bane, and everyone realized sometimes reality is stranger than fiction.
To add some damn levity to the end of the world, people imagined what Trump’s inaugural address might be like if he stole from other famous movies characters.
A faux SEO play disguised as a trenchant commentary on the state of affairs, mixed with a dash of nihilism, all set to the tune of an unexpected redirect.
Live footage of Trump assuming the presidency: pic.twitter.com/mJJYMeTq2H
— Murtaza Hussain (@MazMHussain) January 20, 2017
One of the oldest, inviolable rules of the internet is to never ever, ever, ever share something that can let people’s imaginations run wild. If you want to tell someone you are hard at work on a new house, show them the actual blueprints. If you are cooking a meal, the picture needs to be of what’s in the pan.
Otherwise, people will just assume it involves dicks.
This is also true even if you are the president-elect of the United States. If you want people to know you are working on your inauguration speech in the days leading up to inauguration (which, like, first off, yea, we all kinda assumed that’s what you’d be doing anyway), don’t obscure the damn text of your speech.
Otherwise, people will just assume it involves dicks.
— Gerry Duggan (@GerryDuggan) January 18, 2017
- These Sean Spicer memes are better than ‘SNL’
- The best memes of 2017 (thus far)
- Reddit 50/50: What is it and why is it so popular?
Trump memes: December 2016
I’m not entirely sure what further explanation you are expecting to read here.
Someone used a computer program that lets you digitally manipulate images to blend the face of the president of the United States onto the face of England’s reigning monarch, and the finished product satisfies in an unexpected fashion. The account had been around for months, but it blew up in mid-December.
A post shared by Trump Queen (@ogtrumpqueen) on
Four years is a lifetime on the internet. Here’s to all the memes to come.
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.
David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]