Here’s Every Action Trump Took In His Thirteenth Unpresidented Week As POTUS
Wow. President Trump’s 100th day mark is almost here. From someone who’s written about every single day of his presidency, I can tell you one thing for sure: This presidency has been pure insanity.
Over the past several weeks we’ve seen the same recurring themes, just different circumstances. The same Trump, just a different set of advisers. The same GOP, just…ok, unfortunately it’s the exact same GOP.
Although this week was a lot less explosive than the last two (literally), it was still very important. It set the stage for what will be a frantic week to come, as we watch a president obsessed with his public perception scramble to redefine his first 100 days.
Here is every action President Trump, and his administration, took during his thirteenth week as President of the United States:
Thirteenth Weekend (April 15–16)
The Failed Missile Test
After a drama filled week and plenty of back and forth between the the US, China, and North Korea, Kim Jong-un created a lot of hype surrounding this weekend. On Saturday, North Korea showed off their new missile capabilities during its annual military parade. Later in the day, North Korea attempted to launch a missile from their east coast and it failed horribly, exploding within seconds of launch. Many suspected that this may have been due to US sabotage via hacking. The US responded with a short response while Trump was at Mar-a-Lago. It appears the US’ strategy is to apply pressure on North Korea while at the same time engaging China to do their part
- The New York Times and ProPublica did a collaborative analysis of financial disclosures where they discovered that President Trump is filling “federal agencies with former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who in many cases are helping to craft new policies for the same industries in which they recently earned a paycheck.” This is causing a massive potential for conflicts of interest
- President Trump’s travel ban and harsh rhetoric could result in an “estimated 4.3 million fewer people coming to the United States this year, resulting in $7.4 billion in lost revenue, according to Tourism Economics”
- On Sunday morning, President Trump awoke ready to send out an array tweets. He tried to defend his recent flip-flop on labeling China a currency manipulator, bashed the nationwide Tax Marches, and sprinkled in a “Happy Easter”
Thirteenth Week (April 17–21)
Monday April 17
On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence visited the demilitarized zone on the borders of North and South Korea to assure those in the South that the US has their back. Pence asserted that the “era of strategic patience is over,” and that “all options are on the table” when it comes to dealing with North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs
- Hours after Pence’s visit, North Korea’s UN deputy representative, Kim In Ryong held a UN press conference where he claimed that the US’ use of “gangster-like logic” could lead to a “dangerous situation in which thermonuclear war may break out at any moment”
- Meanwhile, it was reported that China and Russia sent spy vessels to tail the “armada” led by the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson that President Trump said was in route to the Korean peninsula. Later in the week, it would be revealed that the naval group wasn’t headed to the Korean peninsula after all, causing South Korea to be outraged. But more on that later…
- South Korea announced that they would be deploying a US missile defense system, despite Chinese opposition and in violation of the unofficial sanctions China has placed on South Korea
- Some non-North Korea news for you: Corporate America isn’t backing Trump’s anti-fact approach to climate. Huge energy companies like General Electric and ExxonMobil aren’t advocating for the US to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement
- President Trump called to congratulate Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the contested referendum that increased his power, despite international election observers calling it unfair
Tuesday April 18
The Blatantly Conflicted
Since President Trump appointed his daughter Ivanka as one of his official advisers, his family’s conflicts of interest have gotten even more tangled. Ivanka has been known to sit in meetings with foreign leaders, and given the fact she still has ties to her business empire, this poses countless conflicts. On Tuesday, the Associated Press dropped a report that revealed:
Although Ivanka no longer manages her company, she still owns it. It’s hard to believe that this patent approval, and Trump business-friendly moves from other nations, would not affect the way the Trump administration deals with said nations. I’ll remind everyone again that Trump’s trust is set up in a way that allows him to pull out profits from his businesses at any time, so it’s important to keep an eye on what business his companies conduct with foreign nations. Needless to say, questionable activities like this raise numerous emoluments clause violations…And the Trump administration is brazenly doing this out in the open with no fear of oversight.
- CNN reported that “The FBI last year used a dossier of allegations of Russian ties to Donald Trump’s campaign as part of the justification to win approval to secretly monitor a Trump associate.” Yes, THAT dossier. The one with the Trump “pee-pee tape.” That component of the dossier has yet to be verified, but it appears that the remainder of the dossier is becoming more and more credible by the day. And the Trump associate in question is none-other than Carter Page, the one who went on that shady trip to Moscow two weeks before the Republican convention to meet with Russia’s state owned oil company (Rosneft) and a Russian intelligence operative, where he discussed lifting sanctions. The dossier made stunning claims about how Carter Page allegedly cut a deal with Rosneft where in exchange for lifted sanctions on Russia, Page would get a brokerage fee on a Rosneft deal. Won’t dive into all that right now, as I covered it in last week’s Unpresidented, but you can check out those details here
- In a theatrical display, President Trump unveiled his “Buy American and Hire American” executive order which, for the most part, is an empty gesture
- The Trump administration removed 23 year old Juan Montes from the US, the first undocumented immigrant protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to be deported
- A month after dismissing federal prosecutors, the Justice Department does not have any U.S. Attorneys in place
- Jon Ossoff (D) and Karen Handel (R) will advance to a June 20 runoff in a race for Georgia’s sixth district. President Trump shared his thoughts
Wednesday April 19
The “Carl Vinson Lie”
Last week, President Trump said he was sending the USS Carl Vinson carrier group to the Korean Peninsula as a show of strength to North Korea and a show of support to South Korea.
“We are sending an armada. Very powerful,” Trump told Fox Business Channel’s Maria Bartiromo. “We have submarines. Very powerful. Far more powerful than the aircraft carrier. That, I can tell you.”
On Wednesday, it became apparent that this was a lie. It turns out, the Carl Vinson was headed to participate in joint naval exercises with Australia. South Korea did not take kindly to this.
“What Mr. Trump said was very important for the national security of South Korea,” Presidential candidate Hong Joon-pyo told the Wall Street Journal. “If that was a lie, then during Trump’s term, South Korea will not trust whatever Trump says,” said Hong.
South Korean media ran headlines calling it Trump’s “Carl Vinson Lie” and Yang Moo-jin, of the University of North Korean Studies, told CNN, “How does the US expect South Koreans to trust the US when its leader bluffs and exaggerates? South Koreans’ feelings were hurt considerably by remarks by the leader of a close ally.”
Despite these developments, Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted on Wednesday, “We have an armada going toward the peninsula. That’s a fact.”
After this embarrassing debacle, the USS Carl Vinson is now reportedly heading to the Korean Peninsula.
- In a reversal from President Trump’s campaign rhetoric, the Trump administration now says Iran is complying with the Obama-era nuclear deal
- From the U.S. aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan in Japan, Vice President Mike Pence issued another warning to North Korea, proclaiming that “the sword stands ready”
- Jeff Sessions referred to Hawaii as an ‘island in the pacific’ while questioning Hawaii’s Judge Derrick Watson’s decision to block Trump’s Muslim travel ban. This both belittled a federal judge and an entire state
- Exxon Mobil reportedly asked for “a waiver from Treasury Department sanctions on Russia to drill in the Black Sea in a venture with Rosneft, the Russian state oil company.” Russia has $500 billion tied up in those sanctions. This was the very same Rosneft-Exxon deal that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson closed when he was CEO of Exxon
Thursday April 20
The US has prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to CNN. The US has long investigated Assange and Wikileaks, and now they are finally seeking his arrest. Wikileaks has published classified material that was leaked from Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. CNN reports:
CIA Director Mike Pompeo went further than any US government official in describing a role by WikiLeaks that went beyond First Amendment activity. He said WikiLeaks “directed Chelsea Manning to intercept specific secret information, and it overwhelmingly focuses on the United States. It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: A non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia,” Pompeo said.
- Reuters reported that, “A Russian government think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system”
- Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge who’s work on the Trump University case led Trump to point to his Mexican heritage as reason why he shouldn’t be overseeing his case, has been assigned to hear the case of Juan Montes (the DREAMER who was deported)
- The New York Times reported that Carter Page’s trip to Moscow was what triggered the FBI to begin keeping a more watchful eye on his communications
- Politico reported that “A frantic and impatient White House is pressuring House GOP leaders for another showdown vote on repealing Obamacare next week so it can notch a legislative win before President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office”
- President Trump praised China’s renewed efforts to keep North Korea in check
- President Trump’s lawyers made a ridiculous assertion “in a Thursday court filing that protesters ‘have no right’ to ‘express dissenting views’ at his campaign rallies because such protests infringed on his First Amendment rights”
Friday April 21
The 100th Day Home Stretch
With the 100th day mark of Trump’s presidency fast approaching (April 29th) and a potential government shutdown on April 28th, the Trump administration has their hands full this coming week.
- Among the tweets Trump sent out on Friday, he showcased how self conscious he is about his accomplishments, or lack thereof, in his first 100 days in office
- There is a lot hinging on the budget next week. Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said that money for Trump’s Mexican border wall and increased immigration agents must be included and has pointed to Obamacare subsidies as a potential negotiating tool:
“It is ripe for some type of negotiated agreement that gives the president some of his priorities and Democrats some of their priorities. So we think we’ve opened the door for that”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) asserted it wouldn’t be that easy:
“Everything had been moving smoothly until the administration moved in with a heavy hand. Not only are Democrats opposed to the wall, there is significant Republican opposition as well”
- In the spirit of trying to rack up some wins in this 100th day home stretch, President Trump promised to unveil a “massive” tax cut next week. This news reportedly “surprised Capitol Hill and left Mr. Trump’s own Treasury officials speechless”
- President Trump signed executive orders aimed to dismantle even more financial regulations
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions once again threatened the funding of Sanctuary Cities if they don’t remove communication barriers between federal immigration officials and local police
- Days after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Iran is complying with the terms of the nuclear deal, President Trump said the exact opposite. Trump called the deal “terrible” and said “Iran has not lived up to the spirit of the agreement”
- The US Treasury Department denied Exxon’s request for a waiver on US sanctions on Russia so they could do business with Rosneft
- Hold on, can’t end this week’s Unpresidented without another Trump-Russia revelation. CNN reported something that we already knew
Russia tried to use Trump advisers, including Carter Page, to infiltrate the Trump campaign – @CNN #TrumpRussia
Another week for the books. Some of the same themes we’ve seen in other weeks continued here.
Just when it seemed President Trump’s chest-beating approach to North Korea seemed to be paying off, the Carl Vinson debacle angered South Korea. Looks like pathological lying doesn’t play well on the world stage. Especially when lives are at risk.
Mid-week, Trump’s conflicts of interest took center stage once more, as Ivanka’s business empire continues to complicate things.
And as always, the Trump-Russia story continues to unfold, with Carter Page’s role becoming more clear and the dossier becoming more credible.
Next week, we’ll see a flurry of activity.