A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 179th Unpresidented Week As POTUS
Trump’s first major typo after winning the election was spelling Unprecedented incorrectly. He infamously tweeted “Unpresidented.” This typo is emblematic of his administration: An impulsive, frantically thrown together group of characters with virtually no oversight. After Trump was sworn in, I started writing the weekly “Unpresidented” column, analyzing every week of his presidency. This is week 179.
This was a week that amplified Trump’s worst character flaws and exacerbated his most controversial scandals. From Russia’s attacks on America to Attorney General William Barr’s abuses of power to President Trump’s overt racism to the mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic – it was jam-packed. First, we start with Russia.
We learned about intelligence that indicated Russia has paid bounties to members of the Taliban to kill US troops, with some sources indicating UK troops were targeted as well. This was reported by The New York Times, CNN, the Associated Press among others, with The Washington Post and AP going as far as to say the bounties were successful in killing American troops. If true, this would be a huge escalation in Russia’s hybrid war on Western democracies
The Times reported that President Trump was briefed on this in March of this year. Press Secretary Kaleigh McEnany denied that President Trump was briefed, and Trump later echoed this on Twitter. It’s unbelievable that intelligence this consequential for America’s national security would not make it up to the President.
If Trump did know about this, it would make his subsequent actions even more daming. Not only were no retaliatory measures taken against Russia, President Trump made an effort to get Russia reinstated in the G7 and planned to withdraw troops from Germany – a move that would benefit Russia.
After the news of the alleged Russian bounties circulated, and it was corroborated by multiple news outlets, including a CNN report that sourced European intelligence, President Trump took to Twitter to cast doubt on the intelligence saying it could be another “Russia hoax.” President Trump went the “fake news” route and sought to clear Russia of responsibility – which he’s done throughout his presidency for Russian interference in the 2016 election.
In an interview on NBC, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the Russian bounty stories “bullshit” and cited President Trump’s tweets casting doubt on it as evidence backing his argument. Needless to say, Russia continues to get a return on their 2016 investment. If this intelligence turns out to be true, and Trump doesn’t retaliate for this depraved act, he is only further confirming the suspicion that he is a Russian asset.
Speaking of assets, the best tool in President Trump’s authoritarian toolbox took center stage this week once again. Attorney General William Barr’s politicization of the Justice Department was the topic of a bombshell hearing on Wednesday. The key witnesses were Aaron Zelinsky, Assistant United States Attorney in Maryland, John Elias, who works at the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, and Donald Ayer, the former Deputy Attorney General for President George H W Bush. As I wrote in The Independent, what they said made waves:
Zelinsky alleged that he was told Stone got special treatment because of “his relationship to the President.” Zelinsky also testified that he was told that the Acting US Attorney in DC installed by Barr, Timothy Shea, got pressure from the highest levels of the DOJ. Zelinsky went on to say that he was told the sentencing reduction was based on political considerations and Shea gave Stone favorable treatment because he was “afraid of the President.” He depicted an out-of-control DOJ that was used to bending the rule of law to Trump’s whims.
John Elias testified that Barr improperly launched antitrust investigations and targeted automakers because of tweets President Trump sent, not for reasons of upholding the rule of law. While Michael Mukasey defended all of Barr’s conduct, Donald Ayer did not hold back, giving one of the most concise, blistering condemnations of Barr’s conduct I’ve heard: “I am here because I believe that William Barr poses the greatest threat, in my lifetime, to our rule of law and to public trust in it.”
After this hearing, we learned that Roger Stone’s case was not the only Trump ally’s case Barr meddled in. The New York Times reported that Barr tried to interfere in Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen’s case to undercut the charge that implicated President Trump. This is unacceptable authoritarianism. It happened in the Spring of 2019. Imagine what else Barr has done that we don’t know about?
President Trump and Attorney General Barr’s corruption of the Justice Department is intrinsically tied to the issues driving the racial justice protests. Activists are protesting a “justice” system that perverts the rule of law to protect well-connected white people while systemically incarcerating and murdering black people. This week, President Trump continued to stand firmly on the wrong side of this issue.Looking to make a difference? Consider signing one of these sponsored petitions:
While everyone was talking about Russia reportedly paying bounties to kill US and UK troops, President Trump spent much of his weekend tweeting out “Wanted” posters of Black Lives Matter protestors. Trump also signed an executive order to prioritize the prosecution of people who vandalize statues, putting his defense of the Confederacy on paper.
President Trump’s racism didn’t stop there. In the first few seconds of a video President Trump retweeted on Sunday, one of Trump’s supporters in The Villages yelled “white power.” The White House argued that President Trump hadn’t heard the racist chant in the video. Trump’s team is now using incompetence as an excuse for Trump’s behavior. They claim Trump didn’t retaliate because he wasn’t briefed on the intel indicating Russia put bounties on US troops. They claim Trump doesn’t even watch things before he shares them with his 82M followers.
After Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) called the tweet “indefensible,” Trump deleted it. Deleting the tweet doesn’t change the fact that it happened or that Donald Trump embraces white supremacist ideology – which he did earlier this week as well.
After saying he’s looking to jail protestors who are taking down statues of historic racists, Trump called them “hoodlums,” “anarchists,” and “bad people.” Trump falsely accused a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement, which a majority of Americans support, of treason – a crime punishable by death. Black Lives Matter is literally about ending the extrajudicial killings of black people.
Aside from racism, authoritarian corruption of the DOJ, and capitulation to Russia, this week was conquered by the biggest failure of Trump’s administration: the coronavirus pandemic. As backlash mounted over his comments arguing for slowed coronavirus testing, Trump didn’t deny that he asked officials to slow down coronavirus testing and then falsely claimed slower testing is a good thing.
President Trump’s obsession with appearances is dangerously deadly. With less testing the cases would still exist, we just wouldn’t find them. Slow testing in the early stages of this pandemic is literally why we are here. Between January and mid-March when the US did less testing and COVID-19 was allowed to spread unchecked throughout the country.
In a hearing on the coronavirus this week, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) just asked Dr. Fauci agrees with President Trump saying that testing should slow down. Fauci claimed that he isn’t aware of anyone being told to slow down testing and says they are now going to do more testing.
Regardless of whether or not he gave an order on this front, what Trump is saying is that he doesn’t care if people die, he just doesn’t want high case numbers or the deaths to be identified as coronavirus deaths so it doesn’t reflect poorly on him politically. Trump’s callous indifference to the death of Americans was reflected at his rally this week.
President Trump traveled to Arizona, a coronavirus hotspot and gathered people into crowded an indoor church, made them sign coronavirus waivers while he publicly waging a war on masks – which is the single best public safety measure you can take in that situation.
Later this week, Vice President Mike Pence and the coronavirus task force held their first briefing in nearly two months. It wasn’t at the White House, it was at the headquarters of Health and Human Services. Trump wasn’t there, but Pence proved that a coronavirus task force briefing without Trump has no fewer lies.
Vice President Pence kept lying and saying we’ve flattened the coronavirus curve. The curve could not be reached for comment because it’s too busy flying into the stratosphere. The US reached above 40k cases in a single day for the first time ever this week. Pence may do so calmly and quietly but he is just as much a dangerous gaslighter as his authoritarian leader Trump.
This week, there was also a slight rebuke of President Trump’s opposition to masks. Former Vice President Dick Cheney and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) backed wearing masks. Even two of the most sinister conservatives in modern history support wearing masks. This is not a partisan issue folk. Trump just doesn’t want to smudge his face makeup. Don’t listen to him. Wear a mask.
Speaking of undermining universally popular ideas, the Trump Administration asked the Supreme Court late on Thursday to overturn the ACA, telling the court that “the entire ACA must fall.” It’s moves like this that continue to propel Joe Biden in the polls.
The second poll this month had Biden beating Trump by 14 points nationally. Biden also outraised Trump in May $80.8 million to $74 million. Trump is losing and he knows it. During an interview with Hannity, President Trump said of Biden: “He’s gonna be your president because some people don’t love me…” Trump also couldn’t name a single 2nd term priority. Meanwhile, Biden showed him how to lead.
Joe Biden gave his best speech so far this campaign in Pennsylvania on Thursday. Ahead of the Trump Administration’s ACA ask to the Supreme Crout, Biden spoke about the ACA. Biden made a good point about how survivors of COVID-19 will soon be part of a new wave of people with pre-existing conditions and if Trump gets his way in court, the ACA will be shot down, and with it, pre-existing condition coverage.
Biden implored people to wear masks and tore into Trump. Biden said Trump is like a child whining in self-pity about how this virus “happened to him.” Biden says this pandemic didn’t happen to “him,” it happened to all of us and we need real leadership to get out of it.
It was a genuinely excellent, empathetic speech from Biden on healthcare and coronavirus. Biden talked about his son’s cancer battle and promised to end Trump’s attacks on healthcare. Biden said the president has a “duty to care” and promised he would not abandon struggling Americans. This brings me to something I still see on social media: false equivalence between Trump and Biden.
Just recently, President Trump botched his COVID-19 response, unleashed military on peaceful protestors, had AG Barr move to protect his allies, and went full-blown white supremacist against Black Lives Matter. If you still think Biden is the “lesser of two evils” or there is any equivalence between them you have not been paying any attention.
If you want to push Biden to take certain positions, that’s fine. Keep pushing. But claiming they “both suck” is either a bad faith voter suppression effort or coming from a place of genuine ignorance. I’m not trying to be condescending, that’s just the objective reality.
One of these men is a straight-up unhinged authoritarian racist who has proven that all he cares about is himself. Trump has literally said that he wants to slow testing so numbers look better for him. On the other hand, Joe Biden is a good man. We need to recognize an ally when you see one and oppose the fascist.
There are existential issues at stake that 4 more years of Trump will make even worse. Trump called climate change a hoax, just like he called coronavirus fears. Look where that got us…
Trump is on the wrong side of every single issue from systemic racism to gun reform, etc. The choice between Biden and Trump could not be clearer. There is far too much at stake for games. Luckily the polling indicates most Americans get this. Just be skeptical of anyone who utters the words “lesser of two evils.” They either have ulterior motives or are uninformed.
Now let’s take a look at another Unpresidented week that proves Trump is unfit for office.
Trump Doubles Down On Wanting To Slow Testing
Day 1,250: Monday, June 22
Monday’s top stories:
- USA TODAY: Trump’s Tulsa rally: He says he wanted to ‘slow the testing down’ on COVID-19 and other takeaways
- CNN: Trump says he told his people too much coronavirus testing puts US at ‘disadvantage,’ contradicting staff
- CNN: Two more Trump staffers test positive for coronavirus after Tulsa rally
- The New York Times: The President’s Shock at the Rows of Empty Seats in Tulsa
- The Washington Post: Amid threats and political pushback, public health officials are leaving their posts
- ABC News: Berman relents, leaves post as US attorney after taking stand against firing
- ABC News: 12 states have set record highs in new COVID-19 cases since Friday
- CNN: Young people in the US South and West are increasingly getting coronavirus
- Axios: Exclusive: Trump held off on sanctions over Uighur detention camps to secure China trade deal
- The New York Times: For Barr, Standoff With Prosecutor Adds to String of Miscues
- The Washington Post: Audrey Strauss, acting U.S. attorney in New York, expected to advance politically sensitive cases, safeguard office’s independence, colleagues say
- Charlotte Observer: 2 dead, 12 hurt after gunfire erupts at north Charlotte Juneteenth party
- The Verge: K-pop fans and TikTok teens say they reserved tickets for Trump’s Tulsa rally to leave seats empty
- TheHill: Poll: Biden leads Trump by more than 20 points on race and policing
- Vanity Fair: “Brad Really S–t the Bed Saturday Night”: After Tulsa Catastrophe, Parscale—And Kushner—Is at the Top of Trump’s Hit List
- Miami Herald: Trump is flat-out wrong. Mail-in voting is safer, not vulnerable to fraud, like he says
- NBC News: Mourners in Atlanta line up in the rain to pay final respects to Rayshard Brooks
- AP: 1 city, 1 voting place: Kentucky braces for lines in primary
- CNN: Trump falsely accuses Obama of treason in latest unfounded attack on his predecessor
Coronavirus Continues To Surge
Day 1,251: Tuesday, June 23
Tuesday’s top stories:
- Bloomberg: Virus Surges Across U.S., Throwing Reopenings Into Disarray
- CBS News: Coronavirus cases surging in Florida and Texas as states barrel ahead with reopening plans
- AP: Virus numbers surge globally as many nations ease lockdowns
- Politico: ‘I don’t kid’: Trump says he wasn’t joking about slowing coronavirus testing
- The Washington Post: Prosecutor to tell Congress of pressure from ‘highest levels’ of Justice Dept. to cut Roger Stone ‘a break’
- NBC News: Breaking with Trump, Fauci says U.S. will do ‘more testing, not less’
- USA TODAY: Louisville cop Brett Hankison fired for his role in Breonna Taylor fatal shooting
- Vox: Fauci: Coronavirus vaccine could be available by end of 2020
- CNN: 5 things to watch in Tuesday night’s primary contests
- MSNBC: ‘Hardly a mask in sight’ : Trump campaigns in Arizona as coronavirus cases surge
- ABC News: Trump says he’s ‘authorized’ arrest of anyone ‘who vandalizes or destroys’ monuments
- Axios: House Judiciary Committee prepares to subpoena Attorney General Bill Barr
- The Daily Beast: Trump Tweets Multiple Videos of Random Black Men Attacking People
- CBS News: “A historic moment”: Georgia Legislature passes hate crimes bill
- Axios: EU prepares to ban American travelers as borders reopen on July 1
- USA TODAY: White House press told to leave grounds as tensions rise over attempted removal of Andrew Jackson statue
- Reuters: Chinese firm gets approval to begin human testing for potential coronavirus vaccine
- Bloomberg: Saudi Arabian Cities Come Under Attack From Yemeni Rebels
- Rantt Media: Interview: Rep. Jim McGovern Says Trump Ignores Human Rights Abuses
- Rantt Media: Could There Be Violence In The 2020 Election?
William Barr: Trump’s Authoritarian Tool
Day 1,252: Wednesday, June 24
Wednesday’s top stories:
- CNN: Roger Stone sentencing recommendation watered down from ‘highest levels,’ former prosecutor tells Congress
- The Independent: Bill Barr is the best tool in Trump’s authoritarian toolbox — that much was proven today
- NBC News: Trump administration to end federal support for COVID-19 testing sites
- Ars Technica: White House ordered NIH to cancel coronavirus research funding, Fauci says
- Politico: Top takeaways from Tuesday’s primaries: The left, the right, the wait
- The New York Times: Americans Face New Virus Limbo as Some Reopenings Are Halted
- NBC News: Three suspects indicted on murder charges in death of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia
- Business Insider: Trump seemed not to know what the ’19’ in COVID-19 stood for at a rally in Phoenix, where he also broke city rules by not wearing a mask
- CNN: Fauci warns of disturbing trend as Trump ignores viral surge
- The Washington Post: Senate confirms 200th judicial nominee from Trump, a legacy that will last well beyond November
- NBC News: Senate Democrats block GOP policing bill, calling it ‘irrevocably flawed’ and ‘partisan’
- Reuters/Ipsos Poll: Approval of Trump’s coronavirus response sinks to lowest on record amid surge in cases
- Bloomberg: Biden Opens Up Largest Polling Lead of the Year Over Trump
- Yahoo Finance: Biden outraises Trump for month of May amid coronavirus, George Floyd protests
- The Daily Beast: Trump Hire Michael Pack Sued for Mass Firings at U.S. Government-Funded Global Media Agency
- NBC News: ‘Shambolic,’ ‘mean spirited’: Obama, in first 2020 event with Biden, rips Trump
- AP: Tucson police chief offers to resign after death of man while handcuffed, left face-down
- NBC News: A massive dust cloud is barreling toward the U.S. The health impacts could be deadly.
- Rantt Media: Meet The Manhattan DA Candidate Primarying Cy Vance
- Rantt Media: COVID-19 Highlights Anti-Asian Racism Rampant In Canada
- ESPN: FBI says rope had been in Talladega garage since October; Bubba Wallace not victim of hate crime
- CNN: The country where hundreds of thousands of people haven’t heard of Covid-19
The Day We Learned Barr Tried To Undermine Cohen Charges
Day 1,253: Thursday, June 25
Thursday’s top stories:
- The New York Times: Inside Barr’s Effort to Undermine Prosecutors in N.Y.
- The New York Times: U.S. Sets Record for Daily New Cases as Virus Surges in South and West
- NBC News: CDC says COVID-19 cases in U.S. may be 10 times higher than reported
- CNN: The 3 most populous states are breaking coronavirus records, leading to fears of ‘apocalyptic’ surges
- NBC News: Texas pauses reopening as hospitals inundated with ‘explosion’ of COVID-19 cases
- BuzzFeed News: Elijah McClain Died In Police Custody In August. Millions Of People Are Now Demanding Justice.
- CNN: Supreme Court rules asylum seeker cannot challenge removal
- CBS News: Vaccine whistleblower accuses HHS secretary of ongoing retaliation
- CNN: Multiple Trump campaign staffers quarantining after Tulsa rally
- CNN: Dozens of Secret Service agents will be quarantined after Trump’s Tulsa rally
- Forbes: Nearly 20 Swing State Polls Were Released Today–Biden Leads In All Of Them
- The Washington Post: Black Americans say racism, policing top issues for November, favor Biden by huge margin, Post-Ipsos poll finds
- NBC News: Biden ties COVID-19 to Trump’s ‘callous’ Obamacare assault: ‘A new pre-existing condition’
- CNBC: House passes Democratic police reform bill after GOP plan stalls in the Senate
- Sky News: Long-term COVID warning: ICU doctor reports having coronavirus symptoms for three months
- CNBC: Fed puts restrictions on bank dividends after test finds some banks could be stressed in pandemic
- NBC News: Booker edges ahead of McGrath in too-close-to-call Kentucky Senate Democratic primary
- CNN: Former GOP candidate Carly Fiorina says she’ll vote for Biden
- The Washington Post: Trump lashes out at Black Lives Matter, accuses one member of ‘treason’
- The Daily Beast: Trump Exempt From New Jersey Quarantine Order Because He’s ‘Not a Civilian,’ Says White House
- CNN: Nunes cannot sue Twitter over accounts posing as his mother and a cow, judge rules
- National Geographic: Mysterious cosmic object swallowed by black hole baffles astronomers
Russian Bounties On US Troops
Day 1,254: Friday, June 26
Friday’s top stories:
- The New York Times: Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says
- NBC News: Trump administration asks Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare amid pandemic, recession
- The Washington Post: Live updates: U.S. sets another single-day record for new coronavirus cases, surpassing 40,000 for first time
- The New York Times: As Virus Surges, Younger People Account for ‘Disturbing’ Number of Cases
- ABC News: Coronavirus updates: 82% of Alabama’s ICU beds full as COVID-19 cases soar
- The Washington Post: How Arizona ‘lost control of the epidemic’
- NBC News: Appeals court rules funding for Trump border wall construction ‘unlawful’
- MSNBC: Florida, Texas roll back reopening measures as COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S.
- TheHill: Stocks sink as Florida, Texas reimpose restrictions after COVID-19 spikes
- The Texas Tribune: U.S. Supreme Court declines Texas Democrats’ request to allow all Texans to vote by mail
- CBS News: House approves measure to make Washington, D.C. a state
- CNN: US travelers ‘unlikely’ to be allowed into EU as bloc reopens, diplomats say
- CNN: Judge orders Roger Stone to begin 3-year prison term July 14, rejecting request for a longer delay over coronavirus fears
- Slate: Donald Trump’s “Rocket Ship” Economy Isn’t Taking Off. It’s Exploding.
- NBC News: Barr claims voting by mail will lead to fraud, ‘counterfeiting.’ Admits he has zero evidence.
- Slate: Donald Trump’s “Rocket Ship” Economy Isn’t Taking Off. It’s Exploding.
- The Daily Beast: Trump Seems Resigned Biden Will Win: ‘He’s Going to Be Your President’
Russian Bounty Story Further Develops And “White Power”
After the @nytimes reported that Russia paid bounties to Taliban militants to kill US troops, @CNN corroborates that story and reports that UK troops were also targeted.@PressSec claims Trump and Pence weren’t briefed on this.
We don’t believe them. pic.twitter.com/s9Tdsyn2Qh
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) June 27, 2020
- The Washington Post: Russian bounties to Taliban-linked militants resulted in deaths of U.S. troops, according to intelligence assessments
- AP: Trump denies briefing about reported bounties on US troops
- USA TODAY: ‘Indefensible’: Trump slammed for sharing video where supporter yells ‘white power’ at protesters
- Rantt Media: Trump Masks His Real Racism Under False Patriotism