The Trump campaign website got an upgrade this week. According to a news release from the president's reelection campaign (yes, already), it's now a one-stop shop for “fact-based information” that the mainstream media doesn't want you to know about.
On donaldjtrump.com, you can check out never-before-seen rally photos, buy merchandise and get the real, unfiltered scoop on what your president is up to.
Sounds pretty handy. One problem: The website revamp also appears to have vanished every single news release and public statement issued during President Trump's first campaign.
Gone is Trump's call in 2015 for a ban on Muslim visitors, which The Washington Post's Fred Barbash wrote about in detail.
But gone also is his famous statement on “COMPELLING MEXICO TO PAY FOR THE WALL”; and the less-famous one comparing refugees to car payments; and the write-up of “TRUMP'S 'VERY GOOD' ECONOMIC SPEECH.”
You'll notice we're still linking to these items.
Whatever the reasons for their disappearance from the website, the statements are all preserved in the Internet's unofficial archives. So naturally, people are now sifting through them, assembling highlight reels of the campaign's greatest literature — even if it no longer officially exists.
Here's our attempt.
Disclaimer: This can't possibly be a complete or even representative sampling of Trump's many, many deleted campaign statements, of which nearly a dozen were once issued in a single day.
Here's what appears to be the very first of them: a March 18, 2015, announcement of Trump's presidential exploratory committee.
It quotes his senior political adviser, Corey Lewandowski: “Mr. Trump has the vision and leadership skills to bring our country back to greatness.”
Lewandowski, you may recall, went on to become Trump's campaign manager — then abruptly resigned after a string of accusations that he roughed up reporters and made inappropriate comments to women.
The early Trump campaign communicated with a bombast that alternately repelled and captivated the electorate.
“The American Dream is dead — but if I win, I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before.”
— Trump, announcing his candidacy in June 2015.
Even something as perfunctory as filing a financial disclosure statement became, in the campaign's wording, a feat of paperwork “not designed for a man of Mr. Trump's massive wealth.”
“First people said I would never run, and I did,” Trump said in that statement. “Then, they said I would never file my statement of candidacy with the FEC, and I did. Next, they said I would never file my personal financial disclosure forms. I filed them early.”
The next logical step in that sequence, however, continues to vex Trump as president: He never released his tax returns.
“I've studied this issue in greater detail than almost anybody.”
— Trump, condemning the Iran nuclear deal in a campaign statement March 21, 2016
By the end of 2015, despite experts discounting his chances, Trump was making policy promises in his statements.
“Bring China to the bargaining table by immediately declaring it a currency manipulator,” for example.
Trump didn't actually follow through on that declaration. He didn't need to, he told a reporter last month: “As soon as I got elected, they stopped.”
“To be endorsed by a Gold Star mother is such a wonderful honor.”
— Trump, quoted in a February 2016 statement
“His wife, if you look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say.”
— Trump, quoted in a July 2016 release, after two Gold Star parents condemned his attacks on Muslims
While his ultimate rival was Hillary Clinton, Trump campaigned nearly as often against the current White House.
“What President Obama gets wrong about deal making is that he constantly applies pressure to our friends and rewards our enemies,” he said in a March 2016 speech, the transcript of which was released in full as a campaign statement, now deleted.
After he assumed the Oval Office from Barack Obama nearly a year later, transcripts leaked from phone calls in which Trump reportedly berated some of the United States's closest allies.
Trump has since been accused of cozying up to strongmen and U.S. rivals around the world, including Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who was invited to the White House last month after prosecuting a murderous drug war.
— title of a campaign statement released a week before Election Day
As Trump kept winning primary elections, the political establishment he loved to denigrate began to take his rhetoric more seriously.
Last May, Trump's campaign released a list of 11 candidates he might name to the Supreme Court should he win. Months later, he added 10 more — “an unprecedented move for American presidential candidates,” the Atlantic wrote.
They hadn't seen anything yet. Once in office, according to the New York Times, Trump orchestrated “an 'Apprentice'-style finale” in which his top two choices headed toward the White House on the same night, only for the president to reveal Judge Neil M. Gorsuch as the next Supreme Court justice.
In the waning days of his campaign, the typical Trump statement had evolved from occasionally typo-strewn bombast into multi-pointed plans for what he'd do in office.
Another bullet point in that same statement proved thornier: “Repeal and replace Obamacare (will be outlined in-depth in a future speech).”
Trump got a redo this month. A partial repeal of Obamacare passed through the House, though many Republicans openly acknowledged that they hadn’t read the bill.
Which recalls another Trump quote you can no longer find on his campaign website: a November statement in which he complains about the passage of the Affordable Care Act and that “no one even read the 2,700-page bill.”
The Trump campaign did not respond to questions about why statements released before January appear to have been removed from its website.
This article has been updated.