Beefing with Trump

Samantha Durham, Opinion Editor

Editor’s Note: Samantha Durham is a senior at UNCW studying sociology. She is the Opinion Editor for The Seahawk and enjoys concentrating her work on social issues. All opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Samantha may be found on Twitter @Durham_Sam. All suggestions and inquiries may be sent via email to

It has been over a year since President Donald Trump took office. During that year, he has managed to insult or “beef” with people from all backgrounds and fields. However, his love for conflict began way before his role as President of the United States. Trump’s more than friendly relationship with Twitter and social media has proven to be his most utilized outlet for criticism and, dare I say, attacks on people all over the world. Here are just a few of his biggest and best “fights” thus far.  

Please note that these are not ranked in any specific order and that groups affected by President Trump’s policies were purposely excluded.  

Trump vs. Sen. John McCain 

The “beef” between President Donald Trump and Arizona senator, John McCain has been going on for some time now. McCain a veteran and past prisoner of the Vietnam war stated during an interview, “One aspect of the [Vietnam] conflict by the way that I will never ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest income level of America and the highest income level found a doctor that would say they had a bone spur.” reported Time. This comment alludes to Trump as he received five deferments during the Vietnam war due to attending college and after graduating a doctor diagnosed him with bone spurs in his heels, reported Time.  

According to The New York Times, the conflict in Vietnam resulted in 300,000 men being drafted that year while Trump received a 1-Y medical deferment that fall for bone spurs in his heels. Many have questioned Trump’s knowledge of what it is like to serve his country including Sen. John McCain.  

In the same 2016 New York Times article, Trump stated: “I had a doctor that gave me a letter – a very strong letter on the heels”. He also mentioned that the bone spurs had been a “minor” issue that did not impact his life much.  

This spells out pretty clearly how Sen. McCain feels about President Trump but the 2016 election only seemed to heat up this ongoing distaste for each other.  

Time reported that once the “Access Hollywood” tape was released featuring Trump bragging about assaulting women, Sen. McCain withdrew his support and called President Trump “very foul mouthed” on Twitter.  

This did not fare well with Trump as he took to Twitter (of course) to tell everyone how he really felt about McCain.  

He stated, “The very foul mouthed Sen. John McCain begged for my support during his primary (I gave, he won), then dropped me over locker room remarks!” reported Time. 

Trump attempted to insult McCain’s military history by stating that McCain is, “a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured ” as reported by Time.  

The men have also backhandedly bickered over politics. Time reported that after McCain received a Liberty Medal from the National Constitution Center, Sen. McCain remarked, “half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems.”  

When asked about McCain’s speech Trump threatened to “fight back” claiming he had been “very nice”. Then the Republican bill that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act met John McCain which really got Trump’s blood boiling.  

According to Time, Trump took to Twitter to bash Sen. McCain for his conclusive vote on the bill. Trump tweeted, “John McCain never had any intention of voting for this Bill, which his Governor loves. He campaigned on Repeal & Replace. Let Arizona down!” 

In a 60 Minutes interview McCain claimed that his vote was nothing personal against Trump.  

McCain would have absolutely won this “beef” war if we were picking winners in my book. While they clearly disagree on a lot of issues, regardless of sharing the same political party, McCain seemed as if he was making an effort to get along with the President. 

While McCain taking a shot at Trump for his lack of military service might have been a little unprovoked, he was using it to make a point about the war in general. Could he have conducted it differently, certainly.  

I only side with Sen. McCain on this one because of the tweet Trump posted about McCain’s service. For someone who has not served he really does not have much room to make accusations about heroism. He insinuated that Sen. McCain was not really a war hero due to being captured during his time in Vietnam. For the President to challenge someone’s service like that seems highly unpresidential.  

Trump vs. Meryl Streep 

We just recently passed the 2018 Golden Globes, but some of Trump’s best “beef” comes from the 2017 Golden Globes after Meryl Streep gave an acceptance speech that made it clear Trump was no friend of hers. 

At the time, President Trump was still President-elect, but he started off his relationship with celebrities as President pretty poorly by virtually attacking Streep for her claims at the Golden Globes in 2017.  

Streep took her acceptance speech for a lifetime achievement award as an opportunity to make a point to those watching. She stated, “It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back” reported CNN. 

While speeches of this fashion are not uncommon, Trump still seemed to find Streep’s particularly threatening, even though she never stated his name directly. However, it was certainly implied.  

Trump stated via Twitter no doubt, “Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a Hillary flunky who lost big” reported CNN. 

Trump even continued his three tweet defense by stating, “For the 100th time, I never ‘mocked’ a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him ‘groveling’ when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more dishonest media”, as reported CNN.  

This is obviously not the first time Trump has bashed so-called fake news or the media in general.  

The reporter Trump is referring to is Serge Kovaleski of The New York Times. Trump was caught on video failing his arms about exclaiming “You gotta see this guy”. Kovaleski has arthrogryposis, which visibly limits Kovaleski’s joint functions, reported The Washington Post. 

Personally, I enjoyed what Streep had to say about the President. I agree that his actions, even if they were not intended to be mean, were rather insensitive. I thought Streep calling Trump out on his behavior was important and that has President, Trump should be able to take the heat he receives publicly with a little more grace.   

Trump vs. The NFL 

To kneel or not to kneel, that is the question. Trump has made his stance on the issue crystal clear.  

Trump’s unhappiness with the NFL goes back to Colin Kaepernick, the first player to refrain from standing for the National Anthem at the beginning of each football game.  

Kaepernick sat on the bench, causing a lot of controversy and headache for the NFL, to protest police brutality and inequality.  

Now it is not just Kaepernick that sits or takes a knee, but many others as well.  

The public has argued over if this disrespectful or if this is what the flag stands for in the first place.  

One USA Today article reports that the NFL has been debating keeping players in the locker rooms for next season, due to the controversy.  

President Trump was highly critical of his idea and made it well known via Twitter. He stated, “The NFL is now thinking about a new idea- keeping teams in the locker room during the National Anthem next season. That’s almost as bad a kneeling! When will the highly paid Commissioner finally get tough and smart? This issue is killing your league” reported USA Today.  

This is not the first time Trump has made his disproval of the kneeling situation known.  

During a political pep rally in Alabama, Trump exclaimed, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects the flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired”‘ as reported USA Today.  

NFL athletes have continued to kneel or sit during the National Anthem, regardless of Trump’s outcries. 

Many NFL coaches and officials have commented on the subject including Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Jones stated, “There’s no question that our visibility, our substantiveness, we are looked to for social responsibility as well. This is all a part of what I’m talking about with our commissioner ” reported USA Today.  

This feud between Trump and the NFL is one that I struggle to “pick a side” on. Trump has a right to disagree with the situation and the way the league is handling it. However, Trump should also be respectful of the issue they are protesting. He might not agree with the method but the message should be supported. Instead, he has insulted players and tweeted vigorously throughout the whole season calling for some form of justice.

Trump vs. John Lewis 

Vice President Mike Pence seems to have a lot of respect for Congressman John Lewis after visiting him in Selma, Ala. Pence stated, according to a Washington Post article, that Lewis was “an integral part of the American story in our nation’s unrelenting march toward a more perfect union.” 

However, in true Trump fashion, when his critics come knocking he answers. During one of NBC’s “Meet the Press” shows, Rep. Lewis explained he would not be attending the inauguration for the first time in 30 years because he did not view Trump as a legitimate President, explained The Washington Post. 

Trump took to Twitter to express his feelings on the subject. He stated, “Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about election results. All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!” 

According to The Washington Post, politicians were quick to take sides, many coming to the defense of Rep. Lewis.  Rep. Kevin Yoder stated that he disagreed with Lewis calling the election illegitimate but that Rep. Lewis deserves respect.  

While Rep. Justin Amash replied to Trump’s tweet stating “Dude, just stop.” Mike Pence came to the defense of President Trump. According to The Washington Post, during a “Face the Nation” interview, Pence explained that he valued and respected Rep. Lewis’s sacrifice but that Lewis was also making “baseless assertions.”  

This was incredibly disappointing on the behalf of the President. While he might not like or agree with Rep. John Lewis, respect is ultimately what Trump should have shown rather than attacking the man. Some form of restraint would have served President Trump well here. Rep. John Lewis is an American icon and should be respected. Ultimately, this goes to the ‘respect your elders’ argument. You might not agree with them, but they do deserve your respect.  

Trump vs. Jay-Z 

This is one of President Trump’s most recent disagreements with a celebrity. Jay-Z is Trump’s most recent of targets after the two discussed African American unemployment rates. Trump of course, took credit for the decrease in African American unemployment.  

Hip-hop artist and businessman, Jay-Z had a lot to say about the subject. He appeared on CNN’s “The Van Jones Show”.  

On the show, Van Jones asked if it was acceptable for Trump to make terrible remarks “but put money in our pockets” reported CNN. Jay-Z’s answer was pretty clear as he replied no. He stated, “because it’s not about the money at the end of the day. Money doesn’t equate to happiness. It doesn’t. That’s missing the whole point”, as reported by CNN.  

He goes on to say, “You treat people like human beings. That’s the main point.”  

CNN also reported that Van Jones continued to discuss the African American employment subject by mentioning that unemployment rates for African Americans has been dropping since the Obama administration.

However, Trump felt the need to put in his two cents by stating on Twitter, “Somebody please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, Black Unemployment has just been reported to be at the LOWEST RATE EVER RECORDED!” as reported by CNN. 

I thought this “beef” between Trump and Jay-Z was a little silly. First, Jay-Z has a good point in the fact that money does not buy happiness and that the overall goal should be to treat people like human beings. I disagree with none of that but I do also think this unemployment rate is important. This means more people can put food on the table for their families.  

Do I think that Trump should take complete credit for the unemployment rate? No, not really. CNN reported that the unemployment rate for African Americans and overall has been declining since 2010, before Trump was in office.

Taking full credit and boasting about it is pretty tacky. Trump is not the only reason things have improved on the unemployment front and it seems only fair he recognizes it. These unemployment rates were falling during the time Obama was President, therefore it seems unrealistic to claim is policies solely have created a drop in unemployment.