A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 170th 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 170.
A lot happened this week, but before break all that down, let’s start with the moment that broke the propaganda briefings’ back. In a single moment, President Trump so succinctly highlighted his carelessness, recklessness, and ignorance that it was universally mocked and forced the White House to rethink their entire messaging strategy.
After showcasing a study that claimed UV light and high temperature kills coronavirus on surfaces, Trump advocated shining a light inside the body and injecting disinfectant into people to treat COVID-19. The full quote is even worse:
“And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. So, that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds — it sounds interesting to me.”
This was President Trump’s simple mind at work. Trump heard the study that UV light and disinfectant kills the virus so his first thought was “apply that to the body.” One of the main reasons Trump repeatedly shoots himself in the foot is that he’s a simpleton who thinks he’s smarter than everyone around him when the opposite is true. In his mind, the doctors couldn’t have possibly thought of his idea yet, because he’s so brilliant. Trump genuinely thought he was being helpful, and that’s the saddest part of this.
Trump is a typical egomaniac that overestimates his own abilities and is incapable of recognizing his stunning knowledge gaps. This makes him a deeply ill-equipped leader, along with all of his other glaring character flaws. And that was on full display in that moment. It was so bad, that Trump ended Friday’s briefing early, didn’t hold one all weekend, and is reportedly thinking about limiting his role in future briefings.
President Trump’s disinfectant moment damaged him so greatly because it was such an easy to understand, indefensible act of foolery. It wasn’t an “erosion of norms” or some nuanced act Fox News could spin. This was something that everyone at any level of knowledge could see was pure ignorance.
A lot of pundits often wonder how Trump has been able to maintain support after one depraved act after another, but it’s pretty simple: The economy was doing well and a lot of people were largely tuned out – more than many journalists realize. But they’re not anymore.
When COVID-19 hit, folks craved accurate information. When those who haven’t been paying much attention finally tuned in, they saw a self-obsessed egomaniac masquerading as the President of the United States. The years of media critiques against Trump that once seemed esoteric were suddenly real as they saw him mishandle something that could get them killed. Before COVID-19, it was easy for a lot of people unaffected by Trump’s incompetence to laugh off his idiocy. But with this, it was no longer funny.
Anyone who has been sleepwalking through this presidency while the media and tuned in Americans yelled about Trump’s hollowing out of government, eroding norms, and discrediting institutions suddenly realize it’s all true and it’s the reason we’re in this situation.
This disinfectant moment wasn’t a fuzzy moral issue which much of Trump’s base doesn’t care about because depravity excused there. It wasn’t a lie or policy issue, which Trump’s base has largely programmed to spin. It was literally advocating something that you tell your kids not to do when they’re babies. That is why you’re seeing this disinfectant moment not just on news but on tik toks and meme pages. This hit all ages groups and demographics. The president is a moron, and everyone knows it.Looking to make a difference? Consider signing one of these sponsored petitions:
After the disinfectant moment, it finally got through to Trump that his propaganda briefings highlighted his unfitness for office and only stirred up confusion and outrage in a public that is looking for calm reassurance and facts. But it wasn’t just this moment that had the White House rethinking Trump’s daily propaganda sessions. The Wall Street Journal had previously blasted them as vessels to serve Trump’s ego. Criticism began piercing the conservative echo chamber as his poll numbers continued to take a hit.
A hypothesis I had during the impeachment trial, and whenever Trump is off-camera for a long period fo time, appears to hold true time after time. Whenever Trump lays low, he always sees a polling bump, just like we saw during the impeachment trial and at the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdowns in early March. Whenever Trump increases his visibility, he always harms himself politically because he’s an unhinged self-saboteur.
It was clear from the very first briefing this would hurt President Trump. Watching him celebrate his high ratings was hilarious because they were actually damaging him. People who were usually tuned out were reminded of how unfit he is. Now, Trump’s approval rating is in the low 40s and his trust among the American people is even lower than that, with some polls having him the 20s. And who can blame the people, with President repeatedly relaying false hope about the coronavirus and pushing false cures.
As we saw with the disinfectant moment, President Trump did not learn his lesson after pushing hydroxychloroquine, which we saw continue to fail as a COVID-19 treatment this week. In March, President Trump and Fox News promoted the effectiveness of combining hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin to treat COVID-19. This week, the National Institute of Health recommended against using the combo to treat COVID-19.
There was also yet another study that signaled hydroxychloroquine is not effective and actually increases death rates in COVID-19 patients. When Trump was asked about it at a briefing, Trump waved it off like he didn’t want to discuss it. Trump completely brushed off a second question about why he stopped promoting hydroxychloroquine and said he hasn’t seen the new studies. It appears Trump’s strategy is to deflect and pretend he never advocated it. The hydroxychloroquine cheerleader is gone, but we have a long memory.
President Trump initially lied and said hydroxychloroquine was FDA-approved to treat COVID-19. Trump repeatedly touted it, despite its side effects. Fox News propagandized the drug with misleading coverage. After studies proved it’s ineffective and increases death rates, the FDA has now issued a warning against its use. After that, Trump backed away from hydroxychloroquine faster than a kid who just lit a firework.
Speaking of hydroxychloroquine, we have another COVID-19 era whistleblower, folks. HHS official Dr. Rick Bright was removed from his position as he lobbied against the Trump Administration’s push of unproven drugs, including hydroxychloroquine. In his statement, Bright went as far as to call this administration’s handling of this pandemic “placing politics and cronyism ahead of science.” When asked about this on multiple occasions, President Trump said he doesn’t know who he is and hasn’t heard enough about the incident. Sounds familiar?
This week, we also saw more of President Trump undermining his own administration’s messaging and response to COVID-19. In a briefing this week, Trump said that coronavirus may not even come back. In that same briefing, less than 30 minutes later, Dr. Anthony Fauci said: “We will have coronavirus in the fall, I am convinced of that.”
President Trump went further to try and contradict the experts in his administration who are accurately claiming there will be a second wave of coronavirus. Trump began a briefing by forcing the CDC director to clean up his initial statements about a second wave being more difficult. But in the end, CDC Director Redfield ended up confirming his statements, saying that he was quoted accurately in The Washington Post. It’s clear that President Trump will likely make the same mistake of downplaying COVID-19 amid a second wave this fall. This will, of course, make it worse. Trump is incapable of learning from his mistakes.
When it comes to self-defeating behavior, President Trump continued to defend the dangerous anti-lockdown protests, or as they should be called “COVID-19 spreading parties.” Countless polls indicate these protests are wildly unpopular and don’t even reflect what his base believes. Can pundits stop saying Trump has good political instincts now?
Attorney General William Barr went as far as to say the Trump Administration is considering supporting lawsuits against states that they believe have too harsh of shutdowns. So, they want to sue states for enacting COVID-19 public health measures that they suggested? Makes sense.
President Trump has flip-flopped on this issue multiple times. After first supporting Georgia’s premature reopening of parts of their economy, Trump said he is unhappy with Governor Brian Kemp’s decision. This was a preemptive way to distance himself from the deaths to come. While blue states will be gearing up to reopen parts of their economy in the Summer, the red states with governors who didn’t’ take this seriously will just be entering their peaks.
Speaking of red states and blue states, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) took Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to task for stating that we should stop “blue state bailouts” and advocating states go bankrupt rather than get coronavirus relief. After pointing out that New York gives more money to the federal government than it takes and stating that Kentucky takes more than it gives, Cuomo summarized: “Mitch McConnell is a taker, not a giver.”
In other news: in the Oval Office on Friday, President Trump publicly extorted the USPS. Trump launched into a rant calling the USPS “a joke” and then said they need to raise the prices of delivery. In this attack, Trump specifically attacked Amazon. Trump then said if they don’t raise the prices, he won’t give them coronavirus aid. Make no mistake about what this is. Trump is using the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to withhold aid in an effort to pressure USPS changes that would harm his perceived enemy, Jeff Bezos, via tweaking delivery fees that would affect Amazon. Once an extorter, always an extorter.
You can’t end a week in the Trump era without an immigration move, right? President Trump took a frivolous, nationalist measure this week to temporarily ban green card immigration during this pandemic. Trump said this immigration pause will somehow prevent immigrants from taking US jobs, repeating the baseless trope that it’s immigrants who are most responsible for US job loss and not automation. A futile effort to rile up a shrinking base. We’ll see if it works.
Let’s dive into another Unpresidented week.Looking to make a difference? Consider signing one of these sponsored petitions:
Trump Continues To Push For Reopenings
Day 1,187: Monday, April 20
Monday’s top stories:
- Reuters: Don’t reopen yet, governors tell Trump as coronavirus deaths cross 40,000
- CNN: Georgia governor to reopen some businesses as early as Friday as other states signal similar plans
- The Washington Post: Governors urge more federal help on coronavirus testing; protesters draw Trump’s praise
- The Washington Post: Americans at World Health Organization transmitted real-time information about coronavirus to Trump administration
- CNN: American oil crashes below $0 a barrel — a record low
- CBS News: Democratic governors ask White House for help calling off protesters
- USA TODAY: Anti-quarantine rally in Pennsylvania draws about 2,000 people in latest protest against coronavirus restrictions
- The Washington Post: White House, GOP face heat after hotel and restaurant chains helped run small business program dry
- CNBC: Senate nears $370 billion deal for coronavirus small business loan programs
- CNN: Fact check: On Sunday, Trump takes no break from repeating false virus claims
- Vox: Why Trump’s efforts to blame Obama for the coronavirus make absolutely no sense
- MSNBC: Trump losing the battle of public opinion on coronavirus: poll
- Politico: Trump invokes DPA for testing swabs, weeks after reported shortages
- The Guardian: Trump plays misleading clips of ‘support’ from Cuomo at coronavirus briefing
- CNN: Trump says he didn’t pick Romney for White House task force because he holds a grudge against the senator
- CNN: Hong Kong reports no new coronavirus cases for first time since March 5
- NBC News: Rivals put differences aside to form unity government in Israel
- Reuters: Guatemala says 50 migrants deported from U.S. test positive for coronavirus
- TheHill: Poll: Michigan residents favor governor’s COVID-19 handling over Trump’s
Day 1,188: Tuesday, April 21
Tuesday’s top stories:
- The Washington Post: Trump says he will issue order to suspend immigration during coronavirus crisis, closing off the United States to a new extreme
- BuzzFeed News: Trump Says His 60-Day Immigration Ban Will Only Apply To People Applying For Green Cards. But The Order Is Still “Being Written.”
- NPR: NIH Panel Recommends Against Drug Combination Promoted By Trump For COVID-19
- CNN: Study finds no benefit, higher death rate in patients taking hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19
- Politico: Senate Intel report confirms Russia aimed to help Trump in 2016
- Bloomberg: Barr Threatens Legal Action Against Governors Over Lockdowns
- Politico: DeVos bars undocumented college students from emergency aid
- Vox: The Senate just passed a $480 billion “interim” stimulus bill to tide over small businesses
- CNN: US monitoring intelligence that North Korean leader is in grave danger after surgery
- Reuters: South Korea, China cast doubt on reports North Korean leader Kim gravely ill
- BuzzFeed News: These 4 States Are Reopening Businesses Over The Next Two Weeks As The Coronavirus Pandemic Continues
- The New York Times: ‘I Am Beyond Disturbed’: Internal Dissent as States Reopen Despite Virus
- The Daily Beast: DeVos Has Deep Ties to Michigan Protest Group, But Is Quiet On Tactics
- Los Angeles Times: California becomes first state to recommend coronavirus tests for some without symptoms
- USA TODAY: Nurses read names of colleagues who died of COVID-19 in protest outside White House
- Politico: Biden raised campaign-best $46.7 million in March
- Politico: Surgeon general gets pushed to sidelines, sparking questions
- NBC News: 18 confirmed dead in Canada shooting, with more victims expected
- AP: New Zealand could pull off bold goal of eliminating virus
- HuffPost: Donald Trump Jr. Erupts As Facebook Cuts Dangerous COVID-19 Protest Posts
- Wired: How Is the Coronavirus Pandemic Affecting Climate Change?
- Rantt Media: What Does the Coronavirus Task Force Do?
- Rantt Media: Obama vs. Trump: Economies Compared
HHS Official Removed After Protesting Use Of Hydroxychloroquine
Day 1,189: Wednesday, April 22
Wednesday’s top stories:
- The Daily Beast: Head of Coronavirus Vaccine Research Says He Was Demoted for Questioning Drug Favored by Trump
- Business Insider: California says a person who died February 6 had COVID-19, suggesting the first US coronavirus death happened at least 3 weeks earlier than previously thought
- TheHill: Milwaukee health officials link 7 coronavirus cases to in-person voting
- The Washington Post: States rushing to reopen are likely making a deadly error, coronavirus models and experts warn
- NBC News: Trump reverses course, says it’s ‘too soon’ for Georgia Gov. Kemp to reopen state
- CNN: McConnell thinks bankruptcy, not more federal money, might be best for state and local governments
- MSNBC: Dr. Fauci says ‘there will be coronavirus in the fall’ after Trump says ‘may not come back at all’
- New York Magazine: Las Vegas Mayor Offers Up Her City to See How Many Die Without Social Distancing
- CNN: The many times Trump has praised China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic
- Vox: Trump and Fox News want to send their hydroxychloroquine hype down the memory hole
- NBC News: Trump aides explore ways to get a ‘frustrated’ president out of Washington
- Politico: Southern governors create a Covid-19 coalition and experts fear a ‘perfect storm’
- The Daily Beast: Trump Favorite Gets $7M to Build Just 800 Feet of Border Wall
- CNN: Polls show Trump trailing Biden in battlegrounds of Michigan and Pennsylvania
- HuffPost: Republican Group Endorses Biden With Anti-Trump Ad In Battleground States
- Newsweek: Coronavirus deaths greater among Fox News viewers that prefer Hannity over Tucker Carlson, study says
- CNN: Missouri is suing China over coronavirus impacts saying the country did ‘little to stop the spread of the disease’
- CNN: Coronavirus pandemic will cause global famines of ‘biblical proportions,’ UN warns
- The Daily Beast: If Kim Jong Un Dies, His Younger Sister Is Primed to Take Over
- Futurism: Scientists: The coronavirus has already mutated into 30+ strains
Day 1,190: Thursday, April 23
Trump’s coronavirus disinfectant comments are ‘dangerous’, doctors say, after the U.S. president said during a White House briefing that scientists should try to apply their findings to patients by inserting ultraviolet light or disinfectant https://t.co/NW9RfDjfw4 pic.twitter.com/EaUplvHTnY
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 24, 2020
Thursday’s top stories:
- NBC News: Trump suggests ‘injection’ of disinfectant to beat coronavirus and ‘clean’ the lungs
(Editor’s Note: …..Um, do not do that, folks. Trump is the opposite of a doctor.)
- USA TODAY: Trump touts study on sunlight to kill coronavirus, but official warns against Americans changing behavior
- Los Angeles Times: Congress passes expanded small-business loan funding to address coronavirus shutdowns
- CNN: Another 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week
- The Washington Post: Out of work — and cash — millions of Americans are still waiting for their first unemployment check
- NBC News: Trump’s chloroquine push came after talk with supporter, source says
- Yahoo News: Touted by Trump, hydroxychloroquine and remdesivir fail as coronavirus therapy in preliminary studies
- Business Insider: Cuomo lays into ‘self-proclaimed grim reaper’ McConnell over states going bankrupt: ‘This is one of the really dumb ideas of all time’
- Reuters: With reopenings in U.S. South, some merchants lay out welcome mat, others fearful
- Los Angeles Times: Trump signs immigration order sharply different from what he said he planned
- CBS News Poll: Americans prioritize staying home, worry restrictions will lift too fast
- Los Angeles Times: A healthy woman suddenly died. She was the first known coronavirus fatality in the U.S.
- NBC News: In sickest COVID-19 patients, underlying conditions are common, large study finds
- CNN: 6 killed after severe storms sweep through Oklahoma,Texas and Louisiana
- Reuters: Former Labradoodle breeder tapped to lead U.S. pandemic task force
- CNN: New HHS spokesman made racist comments about Chinese people in now-deleted tweets
- Politico: Study: Elderly Trump voters dying of coronavirus could cost him in November
- NBC News: Las Vegas workers push back after mayor’s call to reopen casinos and hotels
- Reuters: ‘Still at the beginning’: Merkel asks Germans for resilience in coronavirus battle
- Bloomberg: Australia to Keep Borders Shut For At Least Three Months
The Trump-China Debt
Day 1,191: Friday, April 24
Friday’s top stories:
- Politico: Trump owes tens of millions to the Bank of China — and the loan is due soon
- The Washington Post: Trump says he will block coronavirus aid for U.S. Postal Service if it doesn’t hike prices immediately
- CNBC: FDA issues warnings on chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine after deaths and poisonings reported
- The New York Times: Hidden Outbreaks Spread Through U.S. Cities Far Earlier Than Americans Knew, Estimates Say
- AP: Trump approved of Georgia’s plan to reopen before bashing it
- CNN: Fact check: Trump lies that he was being ‘sarcastic’ when he talked about injecting disinfectant
- Axios: Trump plans to cut daily coronavirus briefings
- ProPublica: Millions of People Face Stimulus Check Delays for a Strange Reason: They Are Poor
- The Guardian: US stays away as world leaders agree action on Covid-19 vaccine
- HuffPost: Dr. Gupta On Trump Claim Injecting Disinfectant Needs Study: ‘Actually, It Doesn’t’
- The Daily Beast: Lysol Maker: Please Ignore Trump, Don’t Drink Our Products
- NBC News: Judge blocks California law requiring background checks to buy ammo
- The New York Times: Home Alone at the White House: A Sour President, With TV His Constant Companion
- The Washington Post: Young and middle-aged people, barely sick with covid-19, are dying from strokes
- CBS News: Top Navy official recommends reinstatement of fired USS Roosevelt commander
- Reuters: Exclusive: China sent team including medical experts to advise on North Korea’s Kim, sources say
- Vox: How common is Covid-19? What 2 controversial antibody studies can and can’t tell us.
- South China Morning Post: China prosecutes first overseas national for Hong Kong interference
- CNN: Fauci thanks NFL for following social distancing guidelines with virtual draft
- NPR: Muslims Around The World Face A Different Kind Of Ramadan
- The Ringer: The 2020 NFL Draft First-Round Grades
- Rantt Media: “Anti-Lockdown” Protests Appropriate Real Movements
- Rantt Media: Stacey Abrams: Record And Background
- Rantt Media: Fox News’ Corrosive Influence On Trump’s Coronavirus Response