A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 162nd Unpresidented Week As POTUS

Rather than focus on containing the coronavirus, Trump waged a partisan dishonest propaganda campaign to downplay the epidemic as the CDC and HHS stumbled.
President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence and members of the Coronavirus Task Force, speaks to members of the press Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, in the James S. brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence and members of the Coronavirus Task Force, speaks to members of the press Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, in the James S. brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

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 162.

There have been over 3,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide, over 89,000 cases worldwide, at least 88 cases within the US, and 2 deaths in Seattle, Washington. The United States has been thoroughly mishandling this epidemic as President Trump’s self-centered incompetence is on full display.

As we know, in the years and months ahead of this outbreak, President Trump made multiple moves that rendered the United States incredibly unprepared for an epidemic of this nature. In 2018, President Trump disbanded the entire global health security team on the National Security Council, which is responsible for handling pandemics. Also in 2018, the Trump Administration cut 80% of the CDC’s funding which was dedicated to preventing global disease outbreaks, depleting our efforts in 39 of the 49 countries we were aiding. One of those countries was China, where the COVID-19 outbreak began.

This was bad enough, but as COVID-19 spread this year, the Trump Administration made matters worse. A whistleblower complaint indicated that when the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was filled with infected passengers, arrived in California, HHS deployed health workers without proper training and protective gear. When the whistleblower broached these concerns with HHS officials, she was reprimanded for “not being a team player.” We’ve since learned there has been community spread in California, meaning people were infected with COVID-19 who didn’t travel to an infection-heavy area.

Another big issue is testing. Rather than use the tests the rest of the world is using to test thousands, the CDC decided to create their own test kits which are in limited supply and unreliable. This had terrible consequences in California when the first patient there was not able to get tested for days since the CDC rejected their requests due to narrow testing criteria. While the CDC has expanded the testing criteria, doctors around the country don’t have the test kits on hand and are forced to reach out to Health and Human Services for approval. It’s a possibility that when testing is fully available to all doctors at the local level, we could be suprised by how widespread the COVID-19 is.

When it comes to the highest levels of the Trump Administration, it’s all about perception and messaging. On Wednesday, President Trump held a press conference where he sought to downplay the threat in fear of triggering more stock market losses, which fell over 10% last week. President Trump also appointed Vice President Mike Pence, who enabled an HIV outbreak when he was governor of Indiana in 2015, to lead the response to COVID-19. This move drew backlash, while people argued for Dr. Anthony S. Fauci and other experts to take a more commanding role.

Throughout the week, Fox News, Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and President Trump tried to blame Democrats and the media for the worries about COVID-19, with Trump calling it a “hoax.” The Washington Post published a report confirming what we all saw happening in plain sight. President Trump was angry that health officials in his administration were saying the spread would be inevitable in the United States, and he then moved to downplay the threat. On Saturday, the day after President Trump called the worries about COVID-19 a hoax, we had our first death due to the virus.

As with all crises, President Trump is far more worried about political damage and how it will affect him personally. The self-centered nature through which Trump is handling the coronavirus epidemic highlights his stunning unfitness for office.

Let’s dive into another Unpresidented week.

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Coronavirus Crash Begins

Day 1,131: Monday, February 24

President Trump speaking with supporters at a “Keep America Great” rally at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Arizona. (Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America/Creative Commons)

President Trump speaking with supporters at a “Keep America Great” rally at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Arizona. (Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America/Creative Commons)

Monday’s top stories:

Coronavirus Spreads

Day 1,132: Tuesday, February 25

CDC disease detectives conducting testing out in the field during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Liberia. (Photo credit: John Saindon/CDC)

CDC disease detectives conducting testing out in the field during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Liberia. (Photo credit: John Saindon/CDC)

Tuesday’s top stories:

Trump Administration Begins Coronavirus Gaslighting

Day 1,133: Wednesday, February 26

Donald Trump and Governor Mike Pence of Indiana speaking to supporters at an immigration policy speech at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (Gage Skidmore)

Donald Trump and Governor Mike Pence of Indiana speaking to supporters at an immigration policy speech at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (Gage Skidmore)

Wednesday’s top stories:

HHS Officials Were Exposed To Coronavirus

Day 1,134: Thursday, February 27

Donald Trump speaks to record crowds at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield, IL on November 9th, 2015<br />(Tommy Jeffers/Dreamstime.com

Donald Trump speaks to record crowds at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield, IL on November 9th, 2015
(Tommy Jeffers/Dreamstime.com

Thursday’s top stories:

Trump Admin Calls Coronavirus Fears A “Hoax”

Day 1,135: Friday, February 28

Mick Mulvaney speaking at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Gage Skidmore)

Mick Mulvaney speaking at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Gage Skidmore)

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Unpresidented // CDC / Coronavirus / Donald Trump