A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 168th Unpresidented Week As POTUS

As more evidence of President Trump’s massive COVID-19 response failures mounts, he is now seeking to cast blame on everyone but himself.
President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks and answers questions from members of the press Tuesday, April 7, 2020, in the James S. Brady White House Press Briefing Room. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks and answers questions from members of the press Tuesday, April 7, 2020, in the James S. Brady White House Press Briefing Room. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

Moments like these require unrelenting truthtelling. We take pride in being primarily reader-funded. If you like our work, support us by subscribing to our community.

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 168.

President Trump wants all the glory when things are going well, and none of the blame when things are going poorly. Leadership doesn’t work that way, especially when your failures are so blatantly obvious to observers of objective reality.

It has long been indisputable that President Trump’s response to COVID-19 has been a deadly failure, but it’s been made even more evident this week. Numerous reports further highlighted just how negligent the Trump Administration was in the early days of this health crisis. Trump brushed aside early warnings in January, failed to take aggressive action and ramp up testing in February, and downplayed the threat throughout. As his poll numbers are beginning to take a hit, Trump is realizing his efforts to spin this are also failing. Now, he’s turning to cast blame.

President Trump’s base thrives on whataboutism, so this week, he sought to give them another red meat grievance to deflect blame for Trump’s failed response to COVID-19. While there is merit to the arguments that China was not honest about how dangerous COVID-19 was in early January, once the threat was known, there was no excuse for Trump’s failures. After previously blaming the Obama Administration for his own testing failures and states for not stockpiling medical equipment, this week, Trump turned his fire on the World Health Organization (WHO), threatening to cut funding.

President Trump has repeatedly stated that the WHO got it wrong because they were repeating info they were given from China. Trump’s diversion of blame to the WHO is a classic Trump deflection away from his repeated and negligent failures to respond to COVID-19 early. They’re the perfect foil for his nationalist base – an organization they can pan as “globalist.” Trump said that WHO minimized the threat after months of himself downplaying the threat, saying it would disappear, and even went as far as to call fears of COVID-19 a Democratic “hoax”. As calls among Trump’s allies to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci grow, watch out for him to become the next scapegoat.

President Trump and his allies turn everyone that speaks truth into an enemy. In effect, Trump has made truth itself the opposition. His base is gaslit to disbelieve any negative news about him. They outright ignore objective reality. Wonder if that withstands this deadly pandemic.

Let’s quickly look at the bombshell findings from The New York Times report this weekend. The topline new reporting is that in January, the National Security Council (NSC) began to grasp the scale of the threat COVID-19 would pose. We learned that Trump was indeed told about White House Economic Adviser Peter Navarro’s January 29 memo warning of mass casualties and economic losses due to COVID-19. Trump now falsely denies he knew about it.

We also learned on January 30, HHS Secretary Alex Azar directly warned President Trump about COVID-19 and Trump told him he was being alarmist. This was after Azar had already attempted to warn him in mid-January. By mid-February, the NSC prepared COVID-19 response plans that included shutting down certain cities and social distancing measures that looked similar to what we’re doing now. Trump didn’t act on any of them.

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We’ve now hit over 500,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 20,000 deaths in the United States. While the curve is beginning to flatten in some key cities, this is far from over. That hasn’t stopped Trump and his allies from increasing the drumbeat to reopen the economy too soon. The current federal social distancing guidelines end on April 30, and members of the right-wing media and Trump’s circle have been calling for the economy to reopen in May. Every single expert analysis concludes that reopening the economy now, or even next month, would lead to a devastating surge in the death toll. This is dangerous, callous idiocy.

Speaking of callous idiocy, President Trump’s coronavirus briefings continued this week. In a previous edition of Unpresidented, I called these “ego briefings”. It appears the Wall Street Journal agrees. They published a piece from their Editorial Board condemning Trump’s briefings, stating they’re all about himself. Trump had one of his shortest appearances that day, on Thursday. Trump may have been shook by the critique, but he was back on his nonsense by Friday. Trump bragged about the stock market gains this week while more than 17 million Americans have applied for unemployment in the past four weeks, hundreds of thousands are sick, and the death toll continued to increase. It wasn’t the right tone, to say the least.

In other news, we have to talk about Wisconsin. What happened there is one of the most soulless things I have ever seen in modern election history. Conservatives blocked efforts to expand mail-in voting. They blocked the election postponement. They forced voters to the polls. They didn’t care if people die as long as a conservative justice would win so that they could implement more voter suppression efforts ahead of November. If Republicans believe Wisconsin voters will forget that their party made them risk their lives to vote, they’re fools.

President Trump piled on the bashing of mail-in voting this week. After bashing vote by mail as creating fraudulent ballots (no evidence of that), Trump got called out by a reporter at his briefing for voting by mail himself. In his response, he continued to baselessly attack mail-in voting. For the record, every claim of voter fraud Trump has made are lies.

Attorney General William Barr resurfaced this week, making an appearance on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show. Barr made some authoritarian claims. Barr said Trump has been “statesmanlike” throughout his coronavirus response and accused the media of launching a “Jihad” against hydroxychloroquine. Barr failed to mention Trump’s attacks on governors or the fact people have died taking hydroxychloroquine.

Barr also said that the Russia probe was started without basis. First off, the DOJ’s own Inspector General found the Russia probe was justified. Russia interfered in US democracy. The Mueller report has 100+ pages depicting the Trump team’s receptivity to Russia’s help. AG William Barr is a full-on “deep state” conspiracy theorist. We all saw what happened.

Barrs performance further highlights the stakes of this election. We have an authoritarian POTUS who stands against every single progressive policy, denies climate change, is suing to end the ACA, and appoints conservative judges/justices. This turns us to the other major development of this week – Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) dropped out.

Although he’s dropped out, Bernie Sanders said he will remain on the ballot to collect delegates and build leverage for his ideas at the Democratic convention. Sanders said former Vice President Joe Biden will be the nominee, called Biden a “very decent man,” and said he will work with Biden to defeat President Trump. Bernie Sanders deserves a lot of credit for what he’s accomplished. He’s built a grassroots movement and shifted the Democratic platform, making it more progressive in several key areas. He’s made the right move after seeing no path forward. Now, it’s time to focus on uniting ahead of November.

There is a lot at stake and nothing is set in stone but President Trump is currently doing a lot of damage to his re-election prospects. The one thing that has been constant his entire life, aside from his proneness to fraud and criminality, is the fact Donald Trump’s ego will always lead him to self-sabotage. That’s what he’s been doing in his briefings and throughout his COVID-19 response.

Change is hard. Change does not happen at the snap of a finger. Change has historically happened incrementally as a result of decades of advocacy and political mobilization. As Sanders drops out, let’s hope that the Democratic base is able to unite and focus on making the next incremental change towards progress: defeating Donald Trump.

Let’s dive into another Unpresidented week.

The Hydroxychloroquine Disinformation Machine

Day 1,173: Monday, April 6

Fox & Friends hosts and Dr. Anthony Fauci

Fox & Friends hosts and Dr. Anthony Fauci

Monday’s top stories:

Wisconsin’s Dangerous, Undemocratic Election

Day 1,174: Tuesday, April 7

Line at a Wisconsin polling place – April 7, 2020 (Photo credit: <a href="https://twitter.com/Pmcknightnews">Patricia McKnight</a>)

Line at a Wisconsin polling place – April 7, 2020 (Photo credit: Patricia McKnight)

Tuesday’s top stories:

Bernie Sanders Drops Out

Day 1,175: Wednesday, April 8

Bernie Sanders rally in Traverse City, Michigan March 4, 2016 (Todd Church/Creative Commons)

Bernie Sanders rally in Traverse City, Michigan March 4, 2016 (Todd Church/Creative Commons)

Wednesday’s top stories:

6.6 Million More Unemployment Claims

Day 1,176: Thursday, April 9

The Frances Perkins Building of the U.S. Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Ed Brown/Public domain)

The Frances Perkins Building of the U.S. Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Ed Brown/Public domain)

Thursday’s top stories:

Another Deadly Milestone

Day 1,177: Friday, April 10

Civil protection volunteers engaged in health checks at the “Milano Malpensa” airport. – Milan, Italy, 5 February 5, 2020 (Dipartimento Protezione Civile/Creative Commons)

Civil protection volunteers engaged in health checks at the “Milano Malpensa” airport. – Milan, Italy, 5 February 5, 2020 (Dipartimento Protezione Civile/Creative Commons)

Friday’s top stories:

BONUS FROM THE WEEKEND

The New York Times: He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump’s Failure on the Virus

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Unpresidented // Coronavirus / Donald Trump