Story highlights

Airports, the immigration system, health care, voting

Trump's got a long list of things that he says aren't working right in America

CNN  — 

If you take Donald Trump at his word, making America great again is going to be quite a chore.

The Republican nominee is selling an apocalyptic vision – the US as an impoverished hellscape beset by bloodthirsty urban anarchists, a terrorist fifth column, and the machinations of globalist elites.

Even the most mundane institutions are cast as symbols of existential rot. At every turn, Trump finds another “broken,” “rigged” and “disastrous” policy to undo or abolish. Real worries and legitimate concerns share space – sometimes lines in a single speech – with Trump’s dark fantasies.

And like so many aspiring authoritarians before him, the candidate is also consistent on another point: channeling scapegoats and delivering a promise that “I alone can fix it.”

Here are more than a dozen people, places and issues Trump has claimed to be damaged or corrupted beyond repair – by anyone other than himself:

American cities

“We have a situation where we have our inner cities, African-Americans, Hispanics are living in hell because it’s so dangerous,” he said during the first presidential debate. “You walk down the street, you get shot.”

The immigration system

“The truth is our immigration system is worse than anybody ever realized,” he said at a September rally in Phoenix. “But the facts aren’t known because the media won’t report on them. The politicians won’t talk about them, and the special interests spend a lot of money trying to cover them up because they are making an absolute fortune.”

The election, generally

“The whole thing we’ve been going through, and I hate to say it, but the whole thing we’re going through – Bernie Sanders, it was a rigged deal – the whole thing is one big fix,” he said at a rally in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Friday. “It’s one big, ugly lie.”

The vote, specifically

“I’m telling you, November 8th, we’d better be careful because that election is going to be rigged,” he told Fox News in August. “And I hope the Republicans are watching closely or it’s going to be taken away from us.”

The media

“If the disgusting and corrupt media covered me honestly and didn’t put false meaning into the words I say, I would be beating Hillary by 20%,” Trump tweeted in August.

NAFTA and free trade

“Because of NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement), signed by (Hillary Clinton’s) husband, is perhaps the greatest disaster trade deal in the history of the world. Not in this country. It stripped us of manufacturing jobs,” Trump said at the second presidential debate. “We lost our jobs. We lost our money. We lost our plants. It is a disaster.”

The VA

“The Veterans Administration is a disaster, the V.A., it’s a disaster,” Trump told a veterans group earlier this month.

US military leadership

“I think under the leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the generals have been reduced to rubble,” Trump said during a September forum. “They have been reduced to a point where it’s embarrassing for our country.”

The Iran nuclear deal

“That is one of the worst deals ever, ever made by this country. It is a disaster,” he said at a GOP debate in March.

Senator Hillary Clinton

“She has been a disaster as a senator,” he said at the second presidential debate. “A disaster.”

America’s been pillaged

“It’s a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth, and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities,” Trump said on Thursday.

Muslim Americans and terrorism

“They’re protecting each other, but they’re really doing very bad damage – they have to open up to society and report the bad ones,” he told ITV’s “Good Morning Britain.” “When they see trouble, they have to report it. They are absolutely not reporting it, and that’s a big problem.”

The Benghazi hearings

“I hope @TGowdySC does better for Rubio than he did at the #Benghazi hearings, which were a total disaster for Republicans & America!” Trump tweeted last December.

The Republican primary

“Because of me, everyone now sees that the Republican primary system is totally rigged and broken,” Trump said shortly before becoming the GOP’s presumptive nominee.

The US’s standing in the world

“We have been disrespected, mocked, and ripped off for many, many years by people that were smarter, shrewder, tougher,” he said in a March interview with The New York Times.


“I think NATO is obsolete,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “NATO was done at a time you had the Soviet Union, which was obviously larger – much larger than Russia is today. I’m not saying Russia is not a threat.”

Europe and its refugee policy

“It’s a total disaster, on top of which you have migration which is destroying Europe,” he said at an event in September. “Germany is a disaster now. France is a disaster.”

PACs and super PACs

“I mean, PACs – you know, these super PACs are a disaster, by the way, folks,” Trump said at the March debate. “Very corrupt. It’s going to lead to lots of disasters.”


“You go over to Qatar, you go over to Saudi Arabia, you go over to some of these countries – China – and you see airports the likes of which you’ve never, ever seen before,” he said last year at event in New Hampshire. “Then you come back and you land at LaGuardia – it’s true: potholes, potholes – you land at LaGuardia or Newark or LAX and you walk into a filthy terminal that’s falling apart with broken terrazzo floors and that’s what we have.”

And Trump tweeted in May, “While our wonderful president was out playing golf all day, the TSA is falling apart, just like our government! Airports a total disaster!”


“Everything is broken about it, everything,” he said during the second debate.

The mental health system

“Fix our broken mental health system. All of the tragic mass murders that occurred in the past several years have something in common – there were red flags that were ignored,” he says on his campaign website.

The visa system

“Our VISA system is broken, like so much else in our country. We better get it fixed really fast. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” -December 10, 2014, on Twitter

The schools

“We need to fix our broken education system! #StopCommonCore #MakeAmericaGreatAgain”

The world

“Look where the world is today, a total mess, and ISIS is still running around wild. I can fix it fast, Hillary has no chance!” he tweeted in May.