A Complete Breakdown Of Donald Trump’s 29th Unpresidented Week As POTUS
29th Weekend (August 5–6)
Donald Trump has a unique ability to make himself one of the worst parts of every story. Whether it’s the opportunity to denounce neo-Nazis for committing a fatal act of domestic terrorism, condemn a foreign adversary for expelling U.S. diplomats, or to simply not terrify the public by tweeting about nuclear war, there is Donald…making every wrong move imaginable.
This week was truly jarring. President Trump, taking a break from his full-time gig of tweeting about fake news while watching cable news, spent the first week of his vacation tweeting about nuclear war while playing golf.
The resolve of the American people was tested daily as the President of the United States improvised a nuclear game of chicken, 140 characters at a time. While Donald and Kim continued this nuclear game of thrones, much like the white walkers — the true enemy of climate change crept forward as some dire climate reports were made public.
Behind the absurdity, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation is getting closer and closer to the truth.
Here’s a complete breakdown of Donald Trump’s 29th week as POTUS:
President Trump embarked on his 17-day vacation while the White House was undergoing renovations, both literally and figuratively. His new Chief of Staff John Kelly had been attempting to bring some structure to this administration. Although some of his staff shake ups were successful, Kelly hasn’t been able to resolve the source of all the administration’s problems: Donald Trump.
Trump’s reckless self-inflicted wounds keep his approval rating hovering around record lows, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation has impaneled a grand jury and is now seeking out potential financial crimes committed by Trump and his associates (*cough* money laundering), and the most meaningful legislation he’s passed thus far imposes congressional restraints on his own power. And Republicans are beginning to recognize the toxic nature of this presidency.
After interviewing 75 Republicans, The New York Times dropped a report detailing how Republicans, including Vice President Mike Pence, are preparing for a scenario where President Trump isn’t on the ballot in 2020…
…in interviews with more than 75 Republicans at every level of the party, elected officials, donors and strategists expressed widespread uncertainty about whether Mr. Trump would be on the ballot in 2020 and little doubt that others in the party are engaged in barely veiled contingency planning.
“They see weakness in this president,” said Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona. “Look, it’s not a nice business we’re in.”
Pence has, of course, denied this report but his heightened activity with donors and reported conversations behind closed doors suggest otherwise. The New York Times also reported Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) or Ben Sasse (R-NE) may be eyeing an opening come 2020. This news, coupled with Senator Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) new book critical of President Trump, paints a picture of a Republican Party well aware of the fragility and waning political capital of the Republican president currently holding office.
If his presidency remains on its current trajectory of disaster, it is highly likely Trump will be primaried in 2020 by one of his Republican colleagues. And given the path Mueller’s investigation is on whether or not Trump will even make it to 2020 is a valid prospect to ponder.
- The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously, including China and Russia, to impose new sweeping sanctions on North Korea. The sanctions are the toughest thus far, targeting their mineral exports like iron and coal. Estimates found that it could cost North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un’s regime $1 billion a year (that’s 1/3 of their $3 billion in annual exports). This move came after North Korea tested a missile that analysts say could reach the U.S. mainland. President Trump took to Twitter.
The United Nations Security Council just voted 15-0 to sanction North Korea. China and Russia voted with us. Very big financial impact!
As we saw later in the week, these sanctions did not temper Kim Jong-un’s rhetoric…
- President Trump boasted about a Washington Post article (funny it’s fake news when the coverage is negative but real when it’s positive) that notes how gains against ISIS have accelerated in the last several months
Under Trump, gains against #ISIS have dramatically accelerated" https://t.co/jNtOTh0moL
The gains look good on paper, but they are largely built on the back of the work the Obama administration did in Iraq and Syria. But more importantly, what the article fails to note is at what cost these gains are being made. According to the UK civilian monitoring group Airwars, as of July 13th, more than 2,200 have been killed by US-led coalition strikes in Iraq and Syria since Donald Trump’s inauguration 6 months ago. To put that in perspective, Airwars estimates 2,300 civilians were killed in Iraq and Syria by the coalition during Obama’s entire last two years in office.
The reason for this stark rise in civilian deaths is multi-faceted. It’s a combination of an absentee Commander-in-Chief, a crippled State Department, more densely populated battlefields, and a Defense Department prioritizing annihilating ISIS over minimizing civilian casualties. But I won’t get into all that right now. That deserves an article of its own (one I’m currently writing)…
29th Week (August 7–12)
Monday, August 7
Day 200/More Of The Same
200 days into his presidency and Trump still can’t control his Twitter fingers. Along with his usual assertion that the Russia investigation is a hoax, Trump spent the morning trying to deflect from the reality of his shrinking base of support.
Hard to believe that with 24/7 #Fake News on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, NYTIMES & WAPO, the Trump base is getting stronger!
Trump approval by month (per 538 average): January-44.8 February-44.0 March-43.1 April-41.3 May-40.4 June-38.8 July-38.9 August-37.4
After including CNN on his “fake news” list that morning, President Trump then went on a tweetstorm attacking Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) which appeared to be triggered by an appearance on CNN.
Never in U.S.history has anyone lied or defrauded voters like Senator Richard Blumenthal. He told stories about his Vietnam battles and….
conquests, how brave he was, and it was all a lie. He cried like a baby and begged for forgiveness like a child. Now he judges collusion?
Trump, who claims he has no time to watch TV, attacks Sen. Blumenthal on Twitter about 15 minutes after he appears on CNN.
- The New York Times covered a draft report that is currently awaiting approval by the Trump administration. It was put together by scientists at 13 federal agencies and is said to be among “the most comprehensive climate science reports.” It concluded that recent decades were the warmest of the past 1,500 years on Earth and that humans are already feeling the effects of global warming:
“The report concludes that even if humans immediately stopped emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the world would still feel at least an additional 0.50 degrees Fahrenheit (0.30 degrees Celsius) of warming over this century compared with today. The projected actual rise, scientists say, will be as much as 2 degrees Celsius…Among the more significant of the study’s findings is that it is possible to attribute some extreme weather to climate change.”
The draft was given to The New York Times out of fear that the Trump administration may try and suppress the report…Speaking of climate denial, The Guardian reported that “staff at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been told to avoid using the term climate change in their work.”
- President Trump hasn’t filled thousands of key positions within his administration. CNN reports:
“Any new administration has to fill roughly 4,000 positions across the government, more than 1,200 of which require Senate confirmation…As of August 4, when the Senate left town for its August recess, Trump has nominated 277 people for key posts, has had 124 confirmed, and has withdrawn eight of the nominations”
- The city of Chicago is suing the Trump administration over Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ threats to withhold federal money from “sanctuary cities”
Tuesday, August 8
A Song Of Fire And Fury
This was the day that the heightened turbulence began as news of North Korea’s new nuclear development shook the world. U.S. intelligence analysts concluded that Kim Jong-un’s regime has successfully developed miniaturized nuclear warheads that could fit inside of their missiles. This, coupled with news that North Korea is also getting close to an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) that can reach the U.S. mainland, heightened fears.
President Trump then set off what would be the beginning of a week of escalated rhetoric.
After many years of failure,countries are coming together to finally address the dangers posed by North Korea. We must be tough & decisive!
And then, during a brief press conference, President Trump did what many feared he would do in a situation of such grave consequence. He set a red line with what appeared to be a reckless threat of nuclear war:
“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” — President Trump
President Trump: If North Korea makes any more threats to the U.S., "they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen" https://t.co/8dQed79L1W
These words quickly drew backlash as they were perceived as vague and unnecessarily inflammatory. Typically when it comes to foreign policy issues of this magnitude, there is a succinct and coordinated response. The “fire and fury” comments were reportedly improvised. This “red line” essentially claimed that if any more threats were made, then there would be dire consequences…Later that day, we had another threat. North Korea claimed that they are “carefully examining” plans for a missile strike off the coast of the pacific U.S. territory of Guam.
The remainder of the week, people from Guam, to South Korea, to Los Angeles, awoke each morning wondering if President Trump was going to deliver any more provocations…Spoiler alert: He took it up a notch.
- According to USA TODAY, “Trump White House weighs unprecedented plan to privatize much of the war in Afghanistan.” The plan would benefit Blackwater, Betsy DeVos’ brother, Erik Prince’s company
- The Justice Department reversed an Obama-era stance on a voting case in Ohio, now siding with the state of Ohio’s effort to purge thousands of inactive voters
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY) said that President Trump had “excessive expectations” regarding how quickly things can happen in the legislative process
- The Trump campaign began to turn over documents related to the Trump-Russia investigation. 20,000 documents so far
Wednesday, August 9
As the world sat on the edge of their seats, anxiously awaiting what would happen next, President Trump sent out some not so comforting tweets.
My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before….
Hopefully we will never have to use this power, but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!
First off, we need to address the unnecessary lie in his first tweet. Trump’s first executive order was “Executive Order Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal.” Aside from that, this tweet did nothing to assuage the fears that we could be headed into nuclear war. But the worst part about this is the fact that the administration did not have a coordinated message.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis sent out a statement echoing Trump’s hardline rhetoric.
Mattis stmt: North Korea "should cease any consideration of actions that will lead to the end of the regime and destruction of its people
But earlier in the day, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent out a more reassuring tone.
Sec. of State Tillerson says nothing has "dramatically changed in the last 24 hours" on North Korea: "Americans should sleep well at night." https://t.co/zS2B518kDO
In a nutshell:
Trump: NK is gonna burn Tillerson: Don't worry about NK. Sleep well. Mattis: No seriously, we might nuke them all. https://t.co/vOQ9WEbRqg
Sending out mixed messages when dealing with a volatile situation like this makes diplomacy difficult…if diplomacy is your end goal at least. NBC News reported that the Pentagon has prepared a specific plan for a preemptive strike that would target approximately two dozen North Korean missile-launch sites. Needless to say, a preemptive strike would be dangerous, as it could set off a chain of events that could lead to either a long and deadly war or a short and nuclear war. If you’re interested in some other options the U.S. could deploy, read this excellent article.
- The Washington Post reported that “FBI agents raided the home in Alexandria, Va., of President Trump’s former campaign chairman, arriving in the pre-dawn hours late last month and seizing documents and other materials related to the special counsel investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.” This raid into Paul Manafort’s home displayed a stark distrust. The FBI may have feared Paul Manafort may destroy evidence. Remember, Manafort served as a lobbyist and political consultant for pro-Russia Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych. And he also reportedly had a $10 million a year contract with Russian oligarch and close Putin ally, Oleg Deripaska. The contract was part of a plan to assert pro-Russia influence in U.S. politics and lasted from 2006–2009. Paul Manafort moved into Trump Tower in 2006…
- Some lawmakers from both sides of the aisle condemned Trump’s inflammatory North Korea threats
- President Trump took to Twitter to respond to Mitch McConnel’s criticism of his “excessive expectations”
Senator Mitch McConnell said I had "excessive expectations," but I don't think so. After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?
- A Russian spy plane flew over Washington, D.C. and New Jersey
- As Trump spent the day playing golf in the midst of nuclear provocations with North Korea, here’s an old tweet of his just for fun
Thursday, August 10
Russian President Vladimir Putin retaliated to U.S. sanctions put in place in response to Russia’s interference in our democratic process by expelling 755 U.S. diplomats from Russia. In response to this action by a hostile foreign power, the President of the United States thanked Putin…
POTUS response to Putin expelling 755 U.S. diplomats & personnel as response to new sanctions (from pool report)
And here it is in video form, just in case you’re one of the people who think CNN and Jake Tapper is “fake news” (I don’t know how you would’ve made it this far in the article tbh).
These remarks angered people in the State Department. Like I said before, the President of the United States is consistently more eager to attack his fellow Americans than a hostile foreign nation that just successfully interfered in our democracy. As we know, Donald Trump has impulse control issues and whether it be for political expediency or to fulfill a personal vendetta, he lashes out at literally everyone. So we must ask ourselves, why does President Trump bend over backward to praise Putin but will attack any American at the slightest provocation? I think we know the answer…
Every time he praises Putin, Trump makes it easier to be believe Russia has Kompromat on him I wonder what it is 🤔 https://t.co/ccK5jX7jyR
- Special Counsel Robert Mueller continued to ramp up his investigation by subpoenaing the bank records of Paul Manafort, a Ukrainian Oligarch, and Manafort’s son-in-law. Federal investigators also reportedly sought cooperation with Manafort’s son-in-law
- When asked about his “fire and fury” threat, President Trump told reporters that maybe that “wasn’t tough enough”
- “Actions by the Trump administration are triggering double-digit premium increases on individual health insurance policies purchased by many people, according to a nonpartisan study”
- President Trump continued to attack Mitch McConnel
Mitch, get back to work and put Repeal & Replace, Tax Reform & Cuts and a great Infrastructure Bill on my desk for signing. You can do it!
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published their annual “State of the Climate” report which found that 2016 was the hottest year on record:
“Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere increased last year by 3.5 parts per million, the largest single year increase in the 58 years on record. The increase also put CO2 levels over the 400 parts per million threshold — a symbolic “red line” that scientists warn has not been crossed in more than 800,000 years and means the planet is entering a danger zone when it comes to climate change.”
During this week of reports on the dangers of climate change, Scott Pruitt, the climate change denying EPA head, cast doubt on the threat it poses.
Friday, August 11
“Locked And Loaded”
Yet again, people woke up to another nuclear provocation from President Trump.
Military solutions are now fully in place,locked and loaded,should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!
During a time when the people of the world are looking for some reassuring words, President Trump gives nothing but half-baked, reckless comments. When asked about the possibility of war, Trump’s response was delivered with the frankness of someone who clearly doesn’t understand the weight of their words.
Reporter: "Are you talking about war? Is the US going to go to war" with North Korea? Trump: "I think you know the answer to that." https://t.co/fHPkSyMz0y
No. No, we don’t know the answer to that. Which is why the question was being asked. President Trump clearly lives in an alternate reality where words hold no meaning and millions of lives aren’t at stake. The South Korean ambassador-at-large told ABC News:
“It is very worrisome for the president of the United States to fill [fuel] the crisis.”
While all this was occurring, the Trump administration was reportedly in back-channel diplomacy with North Korea.
- President Trump felt it necessary to claim that he has not ruled out a military option for the situation in Venezuela
Trump: "We have many options for Venezuela, and by the way, I'm not going to rule out a military option." (via ABC) https://t.co/uFZzbeThY6
- Congressional investigators want to question Trump’s secretary that was named in Donald Trump Jr.’s email exchanges with Rod Goldstone
- White supremacists/neo-Nazis began to gather ahead of their rally in Charlottesville, VA…
Tell me again about how they're not really nazis
These violent white supremacist terrorists are in #Charlottesville assaulting people right now.THIS IS NOT ABOUT FREE SPEECH #UniteTheRight https://t.co/89sQxb0VKs
Saturday, August 12
Radical White Supremacist Terrorism
As neo-Nazis gathered in Charlottesville, VA to spew their hateful ideology, President Trump was dead silent the entire morning. This was interesting given the fact Trump tweets about a terror attack and labels it radical islamic terrorism before it’s even confirmed.
BREAKING: State of emergency declared for #Charlottesville because of #UniteTheRight rally chaos. https://t.co/I36rVeN4gA
The morning was filled with violence. When Trump finally did tweet, it was vague and non-specific.
We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!
He sent out a follow-up, describing the terrible scene as “sad.”
Am in Bedminster for meetings & press conference on V.A. & all that we have done, and are doing, to make it better-but Charlottesville sad!
Around the time of that tweet, the first footage of the terror attack surfaced.
Video of car hitting anti-racist protestors. Let there be no confusion: this was deliberate terrorism. My prayers with victims. Stay home. https://t.co/MUOZs71Pf4
The neo-Nazi carried out this attack was James Alex Fields. This domestic terrorist murdered 32-year old anti-racism protestor, Heather D. Heyer. Two Virginia state police officers died as well in a helicopter crash while monitoring the situation.
After Heather D. Heyer’s death was confirmed, President Trump delivered remarks and failed to explicitly condemn white supremacy, instead he condemned violence “on many sides.”
What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives. #Charlottesville https://t.co/DB22fgnu6L
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms, this egregious display of hatred bigotry, and violence on many sides.” — President Trump
So, after neo-Nazis assembled and someone was killed by a radical white supremacist terrorist, President Trump condemned hate “on many sides.” For someone who criticized President Barack Obama for not “naming the enemy” and explicitly saying the words “radical Islamic terrorism,” it was really something to watch President Trump twist himself into a not to avoid saying white supremacy, alt-right, neo-Nazi, or even calling this an act of terrorism. The White House tried to clear it up, but the damage was already done.
NEW: White House clarifies Pres. Trump's statement after Charlottesville: "He condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred
Many saw Trump’s comments as a dog whistle to his white nationalist supporters. People from across the political spectrum chimed in.
Very important for the nation to hear @potus describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists
The white supremacists and their bigotry do not represent our great country. All Americans should condemn this vile hatred. #Charlottesville
I urge the Department of Justice to immediately investigate and prosecute today's grotesque act of domestic terrorism.
Of course we condemn ALL that hate stands for. Until @POTUS specifically condemns alt-right action in Charlottesville, he hasnt done his job
The poison spewed by Nazis, white supremacists, and the KKK is not who we are as a country. Takes less than 140 characters to say it.
Even President Obama came out of his Twitter hibernation to remind us all, in his typical inspirational manner, that hate is not innate and there is always hope.
No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…
People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love…
For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." – Nelson Mandela