A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 205th Unpresidented Week As POTUS

President Trump continued his pattern of sabotaging COVID relief as millions of Americans lost crucial aid. Then, he and Pence vacationed.
President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago golf club – December 24, 2020. (CNN)

President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago golf club – December 24, 2020. (CNN)

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 205.

Update: President Trump has signed the COVID relief bill, but the damage is done. Millions of Americans have unnecessarily lost a week’s worth of unemployment benefits. Below is our article on how he sabotaged the effort.

The split-screen was stark, but not surprising. Outgoing President Donald Trump was golfing at his luxury Mar-a-Lago club and Vice President Mike Pence was vacationing in Vail, Colorado on the taxpayers’ dime. Meanwhile, millions of Americans lost their enhanced unemployment benefits and stared down the barrel of looming evictions at the end of this month. The optics of this would be terrible in their own right, but the context made it worse. This is the Trump Administration’s fault.

In one of his final acts as President, Donald Trump made an impossibly horrible Christmas even worse for millions. Tens of millions of Americans have to spend the coming days in debilitating fear. After Congress passed a $900 billion COVID-relief bill and a government spending omnibus bill, Trump decided to blow them up. The COVID bill included $600 checks ($2,400 for a family of four), $300 in additional enhanced weekly unemployment benefits, $25 billion in rental aid, more PPP money for businesses, and an extension of the federal eviction moratorium. Trump refused to sign it and demanded the stimulus checks increase to $2,000. To those not paying attention, this may sound like Trump is coming in to help the American people but that’s not the case. Context is crucial.

For anyone pretending Trump cares about helping Americans, look no further than the consequences of this delay. The fact Trump hasn’t signed this bill means that over 12 million Americans lost their enhanced unemployment benefits and more could face eviction as soon as this week. Even if Trump signs the bill now, the delay caused those with unemployment to miss a week of enhanced checks. Not to mention a potential government shutdown. Congress literally negotiated the deal with the White House. If Trump really wanted $2k checks, he would’ve asked for it during the negotiations. Instead, he opted for sabotage.

Let’s go even further and highlight the timeline of events. In May, House Democrats passed the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act. Republicans did nothing, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refusing to take it up for a vote. Negotiations didn’t continue until July. Democrats then dropped their ask by $1 trillion. As negotiations began to heat up between Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Trump jumped in to sabotage talks in August with flimsy executive orders that stalled talks for months.

Now, once negotiations were over between Democrats, Republicans, and his own administration, Trump has decided to jump in again. Trump was MIA throughout all these negotiations while he focused on his attempted election coup. The White House even endorsed the bill. It passed, then Trump pushed for $2,000 checks. The bottom line is this: he doesn’t care, he’s a saboteur. This is probably more about punishing McConnell and Republicans who haven’t supported his attempted coup and causing chaos than anything else.

Even if Trump’s ask wasn’t serious, Democrats wasted no time in using it to try and secure more help for struggling Americans. After Trump made the demand on Tuesday, Speaker Pelosi immediately called Trump’s bluff, calling for the $2,000 to be passed in a standalone bill via unanimous consent on Christmas Eve. This was a pretty brilliant move. Pelosi put the ball in the GOP’s court, knowing Democrats could pass this in a heartbeat and Republicans would be the ones opposing it, ahead of the runoffs.

So as of Tuesday night, this was the state of play: Trump demanded $2k checks. Pelosi called his bluff, making it known Democrats have always been pro-relief. Republicans were then in a spot of having to either say no and try to keep his caucus together ahead of the Georgia runoffs or cave and pass the $2k checks. Well, so far, they’ve said no. On Thursday, Democrats tried to pass the $2,000 checks and Republicans rejected it. Trump complained about it on Twitter, but a mention of Republicans was conveniently omitted from his tweet.

I wanted to lay all this out because while some people are somehow blaming Pelosi for this, it’s important to note that McConnell and Trump are to blame for the past impasses. And when it comes to Trump himself, the only constant in his role in COVID relief negotiations after the first bill was signed has been to sweep in at the last second to sabotage talks. Folks shouldn’t let him rewrite history.

All Trump gave vulnerable Americans for Christmas is anxiety-inducing uncertainty. Trump was born into millions and has never struggled for anything. He’s now at his golf club after inflicting more suffering on those already suffering. Unfortunately, this isn’t all he was up to this week.

Moments like these require unrelenting truthtelling. We take pride in being reader-funded. If you like our work, support our journalism.

This week, President Trump pardoned dozens of people, including former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, longtime Advisor Roger Stone, former Trump Campaign Advisor George Papadopoulos, Charles Kushner,  Rep. Duncan Hunter, Rep. Chris Collins, Alex van der Zwaan, and four Blackwater guards who committed war crimes in an Iraqi Massacre.

Aside from the obvious cronyism, what we’re witnessing is the completion of Trump’s obstruction of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. Manafort, Stone, Papadopoulos, and Flynn all lied to federal prosecutors to protect Trump, and now he’s returning the favor. The Mueller report outlined 100+ pages of contacts between Trump associates and Russians. There was plenty of collusion. It also outlines how obstruction from Trump and his associates impacted Mueller’s ability to find enough evidence to charge a criminal conspiracy.

The arch of Trump’s obstruction is now complete. Trump dangled pardons as investigators sought cooperation from his cronies, they lied to protect him, and here is their reward. The outgoing President is literally going on a pardon spree for his corrupt cronies, including those who lied to help cover up his campaign’s contacts with the Russian government, and his supporters are still cheering him on. What a corrupt, disgraceful moment in history.

This all happened as William Barr saw his final day as Attorney General. Barr’s legacy is that he came out of retirement to put his lifelong obsession with the unitary executive theory into practice enabling the most authoritarian president in history. Good riddance.

Now, on to the attempted coup. As we know, Trump has met with his pardoned former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and the craziest conspiracy theorist lawyer in the country Sidney Powell, discussing the feasibility of a military coup. Trump also met with Republicans that are eager to challenge the electoral college results on January 6. As I pointed out last week, this will all fail, but nevertheless, this is banana republic level lunacy that makes Nixon’s final days look chill.

Fortunately, it’s beginning to look like the chickens are coming home to roost for some of those spreading these election lies. Voting machine companies Dominion and Smartmatic have been issuing legal threats to Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN, sparking some “corrections” to their reporting. But the lies aren’t abating and the lawsuits look promising.

As much as I am a strong defender of the First Amendment, I am not a fan of propagandists lying with impunity. It appears libel law is a powerful tool against disinformation. Right-wing media has been lying about Democrats for decades, but politicians aren’t going to sue them. But when you defame companies like they’ve been doing to Dominion and Smartmatic… now you have a problem.

As we approach the Biden era, we must take the threat of right-wing extremism seriously. There is a movement of conspiracy theorists openly calling for the end of the republic and the beginning of American authoritarianism. It’s coming from both Republicans and QAnon loons. If organized de-radicalization strategies are not implemented, this will only get worse.

Let’s dive into yet another Unpresidented week.

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COVID Relief Passes

Day 1,432: Monday, December 21

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump (AP)

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump (AP)

Monday’s top stories:

A Pardon Flurry And COVID Relief Sabotage

Day 1,433: Tuesday, December 22

Tuesday’s top stories:

Returning The Favor

Day 1,434: Wednesday, December 23

President Trump and the mugshot of former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort (AP)

President Trump and the mugshot of former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort (AP)

Wednesday’s top stories:

The Trump Who Stole Christmas

Day 1,435-1436: Thursday-Friday, December 24 – December 25

Top stories:

Rantt Media and ZipRecruiter

Unpresidented // Coronavirus / Democratic Party / Donald Trump / Economy / Mike Pence / Republican Party