On June 16, 2015, Donald Trump glided down an escalator at Trump Tower in New York City — with stout waves and an exuberant thumbs-up — to announce his intention to run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
Since then, he has vanquished a slew of opposing GOP candidates, spent $3.2 million on baseball hats and threatened some 20 lawsuits — or approximately one lawsuit every 25 days.
With an eye toward posterity, The Daily Caller has collected the details of each and everyone of Trump’s legal threats.
Here they are — all of them:
In late June 2015, just days after announcing his candidacy, Trump threatened to sue — and did, in fact, sue — Univision.
Trump’s filed his $500 million suit in a New York state court after the U.S.-based Spanish language television network terminated a contract with the Trump-owned Miss Universe Organization in response to Trump’s derogatory comments about Mexican immigrants.
The breach of contract and defamation suit alleged that Univision’s contract termination was “politically motivated” and intended to harm Trump, according to ABC News.
Univision called the lawsuit “legally ridiculous.”
Trump also sent an angry letter to Univision’s CEO officially banning all employees of the company from entering any properties he owns.
Just a few days later, an attorney representing Trump threatened a lawsuit because the National Hispanic Media Coalition described Trump’s derogatory comments about Mexican immigrants as a “bigoted, racist, anti-Latino rant.”
“This afternoon, Thursday July 2, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) received a call from The Trump Organization’s chief counsel threatening a lawsuit against NHMC if it does not cease its advocacy efforts,” the media advocacy organization explained in a statement obtained by TheWrap.
After a summer free of Trump lawsuit confrontations, Trump threatened to sue the Club for Growth, a Washington, D.C.-based group which advocates for free markets and limited government.
Trump’s Sept. 21, 2015 cease-and-desist letter penned by Hofstra University School of Law graduate Alan Garten demanded that the conservative group pull political advertisements critical of Trump’s past advocacy of tax increases or be confronted with “a multi-million dollar lawsuit,” according to CNN.
“I am not surprised the dishonest, irrelevant and totally failing Club for Growth has resorted to attacking the definitive front runner,” Trump said.
The Club for Growth did not pull the ads.
That same week, Trump also threatened to sue a Boston-based internet site StopTrump.us because the site, which no longer appears to exist, was selling shirts and other merchandise with slogans such as “America Is Already Great,” “Donald Is Dumb” and, naturally, “Stop Trump.”
The cease-and-desist letter from Garten to StopTrump.us suggests that the company needs Trump’s authorization to sell merchandise bearing Trump’s name.
The letter to StopTrump.us is humorously similar to the letter to the Club for Growth.
“Trump doesn’t have a case here,” UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh noted in The Washington Post at the time. “Political criticism of this sort — even political criticism that’s sold for money — isn’t covered by trademark law, even when the subject’s name is a valid trademark.”
In mid-October 2015, Trump threatened to sue — and did, in fact, sue — the Culinary Workers Union and Bartenders Union because the union circulated a flyer saying that “when Donald Trump stays in Las Vegas, he stays at a union hotel.”
Trump’s federal lawsuit came after Trump made a two-day presidential campaign stop in Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Sun. Trump says he stayed at the Trump International Hotel but spoke at the nearby Treasure Island Hotel.
The Treasure Island Hotel is a union shop. The Trump International Hotel is not.
On the evening of Nov. 15, 2015, Trump took to Twitter to threaten to sue Ohio Governor John Kasich over negative ads “just for fun.” At the time, Kasich was another of what was then a gaggle of Republicans running for president.
Here’s the tweet:
Later that week, Garten, Trump’s lawyer, was back at it again — threatening to sue New Day for America, a Super PAC supporting Kasich. If the group produced ads containing “any false, misleading, defamatory or otherwise tortious statements representations concerning Mr. Trump’s business or his brand,” Garten wrote, “we will not hesitate to take immediate legal action to prevent such distribution and hold you and your organizations jointly and severally liable to the fullest extent of the law for any damages resulting therefrom.”
New Day for America spokesman Matt David told McClatchyDC that the Super PAC was not particularly troubled.
“Mr. Trump’s been successful in suing his way to financial gain,” David said. “Unfortunately, you can’t sue your way to the Oval Office.”
In early December 2015, Trump threatened to sue Mike Fernandez, a big-league donor to Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign, because Fernandez bought a full-page newspaper ad calling Trump a “narcissistic BULLYionaire.”
Garten made the threat, naturally. Trump’s attorney began his missive to Fernandez by saying “we believe your decision is fool hearted.” Presumably, the Hofstra law grad meant to say “foolhardy.”
Garten then proceeded to warn Fernandez in language remarkably identical to the language he used in his threat to New Day for America, the Kasich Super PAC.
“[P]lease be advised that in the event your ads contain any false, misleading, defamatory, inaccurate or otherwise tortious statements and representations concerning Mr. Trump, his businesses or his brand, we will not hesitate to seek immediate legal action to prevent such distribution and hold you jointly and severally liable to the fullest extent of the law for any damages resulting therefrom,” Garten wrote, according to the Miami Herald, “and will look forward to doing it.”
Fernandez, a highly successful businessman who immigrated to the United States from Cuba at the age of 12, said he wasn’t worried about the legal threats.
“If there is any damage being done to the Trump brand, it is by Donald Trump himself,” Fernandez said, according to the Herald.
In January 2016, Trump threatened to sue The Washington Post when the newspaper was researching a very detailed story about Trump’s role in the failure of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino & Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. At a state Casino Control Commission meeting concerning the casino’s feasibility, the Post reported, Trump derided junk bonds. Next, he used junk bonds to finance the casino.
“I didn’t want to have any personal liability, so I used junk bonds. I accept the blame for that, but I would do it again,” Trump told the Post. “This was not personal. This was a corporate deal.”
“If you write this one, I’m suing you,” Trump then threatened. (RELATED: Trump Taj Mahal To Close, Lay Off 2,100 People — Just In Time For The 2016 Election)
Trump also threatened to sue the Post for libel on May 18, 2016 — during an interview with the newspaper.
“Now, libel suits are very hard and I may look at that frankly if I get elected because it’s very unfair that somebody could write whatever they want to write and get away with it,” Trump said. “And I will be bringing more libel suits as people — maybe against you folks.”
History will remember February 2016 as the month Donald Trump dedicated to threatening Ted Cruz with lawsuits.
In a radio interview on Feb. 3, Trump said he would likely sue someone — it’s not clear who — because Ted Cruz won the Iowa caucuses and Cruz finished second.
Trump’s legal theory at the time was that Cruz committed vote fraud. Trump said he was mad because Cruz had circulated a CNN report that then-GOP candidate Ben Carson wasn’t traveling to New Hampshire and South Carolina — the next two primary states after Iowa. Cruz suggested that Carson might drop out. Carson oddly said he was doing laundry.
“One of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen,” Trump said, according to BuzzFeed News.
Nine days later, and without following through on his legal threat against Cruz, Trump took to Twitter to inform America’s voters that he would sue Cruz “for not being a natural born citizen” unless Cruz would “stop cheating” and “doing negative ads”
About five days after that, in South Carolina, Trump issued a statement promising — in highly general terms — that if he wanted to sue Cruz, he would sue Cruz.
“If I want to bring a lawsuit it would be legitimate,” Trump said, according to Politico. “Likewise, if I want to bring the lawsuit regarding Senator Cruz being a natural born Canadian I will do so. Time will tell, Teddy.”
Cruz responded by saying he welcomed any suit, particularly for the opportunity to depose Trump.
“I may take the deposition myself,” Cruz said.
On March 27, Trump took to Twitter to announce that he would soon sue the Republican Party because he got “less delegates” than Cruz in Louisiana’s Republican primary.
Trump appears to have been dissatisfied because the rules — established long before primary voting in Louisiana began — could have led to a situation in which Cruz received more delegates than Trump received despite Trump’s narrow victory at the polls.
In April 2016, The Washington Post reported that a Trump corporation had threatened to sue the Associated Press at some undisclosed prior date because the news agency published a report — back in October 2015 — explaining that the directors of the Trump Ocean Club in Panama City wanted to get rid of a management group appointed by members of Trump’s family.
The Associated Press piece was headlined “Panama condo owners to Trump: You’re fired!” according to The Washington Post. Trump’s management team was using “fine-print chicanery” to exploit the condo owners, the directors of the condo building alleged.
“Like other news organizations, we did get a letter from Trump’s attorney after the Panama story saying they were considering legal action,” Associated Press Washington bureau chief Sally Buzbee told the Post. “This was very early in his campaign.”
Buzbee added that the AP story about the condo owners’ claims has remained unchanged, and that Trump failed to follow through on his lawsuit threat.
Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston said that Trump called him at his house on April 27, 2016 to threaten a lawsuit if Trump was displeased with Johnston’s reporting in a book called “The Making of Donald Trump.”
Johnston’s book was published in August of this year. The book “offers a searing indictment of” Trump’s “business practices and creative accounting,” according to The New York Times. The book also discusses Trump’s “startling capacity for recklessness, multiple corporate bankruptcies, dealings with reputed mobsters and accusations of fraud.”
On July 18, an attorney representing Trump, Jason D. Greenblatt, sent a cease-and-desist letter to Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter who worked with Trump to write for the 1987 memoir, “The Art of the Deal.”
Trump was upset because Schwartz had criticized Trump as “impulsive and self-centered.”
Greenblatt’s letter called Schwartz’s statements “defamatory.” The lawyer wrote that Schwartz’s criticism exposed Schwartz to “liability for damages and other tortious harm.”
Trump’s attorney further demanded that Schwartz write a statement “retracting your defamatory statements” and send “a certified check made payable to Mr. Trump” for all royalties Schwartz earned for ghostwriting the book with Trump’s name on the cover.
Schwartz did not comply with Greenblatt’s demands.
“The fact that Trump would take time out of convention week to worry about a critic is evidence to me not only of how thin-skinned he is, but also of how misplaced his priorities are,” Schwartz wrote in response.
The dog days of August and September ushered in a period of eerie lawsuit silence from the Trump camp. However, the presidential candidate returned to form earlier this month, twice threatening to sue The New York Times.
The first legal warning against one of America’s largest purchasers of ink by the barrel came early in the month when one of Trump’s attorneys, Marc E. Kasowitz, sent the Times an email promising that the newspaper’s “unauthorized” publication of Trump’s tax returns is “illegal.”
The Times observed that Kasowitz was very likely completely wrong on the law as well as the facts for a variety of reasons. The newspaper also announced that it was undeterred by the angry letter.
About a week later, on Oct. 12, 2016, Trump again threatened to sue the Times for libel, this time because the Paper of Record ran a story reporting the allegations of two women who said Trump fondled them inappropriately.
Kasowitz wrote Trump’s angry letter once again. “Your article is reckless, defamatory and constitutes libel per se,” the lawyer sniped.
Despite Kasowitz’s demand that the Times retract the story of the women’s fondling allegations against Trump, the newspaper stood by that story also.
On Oct. 22, 2016, in a speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in which he said he wanted to “heal the divisions” of America, Trump threatened to sue 11 women who have accused him of unwanted sexual advances.
“Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign — total fabrication,” Trump said in the speech aimed at healing, according to The New York Times.
“The events never happened. Never,” Trump swore. “All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.”
And most recently, last week, Trump suggested that he might sue NBC after the television network leaked a recording of Trump making lewd comments to “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush about a married woman. (RELATED: Donald Trump Suggest He Might Sue NBC For Leaked Billy Bush Tape)
“That was a private locker — you know, that was a private dressing room. Yeah, that was certainly illegal; no question about it,” Trump said.
The specific comments to “Access Hollywood” Trump made included: “I moved on her like a bitch” and “I did try and fuck her. She was married.”
Also: “Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
And: “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
FiveThirtyEight, celebrity pollster Nate Silver’s website, helpfully collected the contemporaneous details of most of Trump’s lawsuit threats.