A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 175th Unpresidented Week As POTUS

President Trump depicted “American Carnage” in his inauguration speech. Turns out, it was actually a promise of things to come.
A protester carries a U.S. flag upside down, a sign of distress, next to a burning building Thursday, May 28, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) and President Donald J. Trump (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

A protester carries a U.S. flag upside down, a sign of distress, next to a burning building Thursday, May 28, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) and President Donald J. Trump (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

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

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 175.

President Abraham Lincoln said: “A house divided against itself, cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.” Lincoln was right.

2020 has truly felt like living through the plot of a dozen dystopian movies. But in reality, we’re living through a pandemic like 1918, a great depression like 1929, and chaos like 1968 all at once. One could argue this chain of events was inevitable, set in motion the second the Founding Fathers declined to abolish slavery in America’s founding documents. Unfortunately, during this unprecedented historic moment, we have the most incompetent, corrupt, and depraved leadership possible in the Oval Office.

A moment of unrest like this requires calm leadership. It requires healing words and actions of unity. Instead, what we got from President Trump was a threat to unleash the military on its own citizens like some 3rd world dictatorship. As America burned, Trump tweeted out gasoline and walked away. Trump’s failures of leadership are not surprising, but they are increasingly shocking as he continues to gleefully stomp on the cracks of a country falling apart at the seams.

Watching all of this unfold, it’s so clear how fragile “order” has been. 400 years of systemic racism punctuated by Black people continuously murdered with no justice. That combined with income inequality, 3 years of a white supremacist president, a botched COVID-19 response, an economic depression with over 40 million Americans out of work, and here we are – a boiling point.

The murder of George Floyd was the modern-day lynching that broke America. The look of hubris on Derek Chauvin’s face as he kneeled on the neck of a George Floyd screaming “I can’t breathe” shook America to its core. Two other officers kneeled on his body while a 4th looked on. Chauvin thought he’d get away with it. Chauvin’s expression was the face of a racist, unchecked law enforcement system.

After George Floyd was murdered, we learned that Derek Chauvin had at least 18 previously complaints, the included shootings of unarmed Americans. If he had been held properly accountable for those complaints, George Floyd might be alive today. This was a failure of accountability.

Black America had enough and protests calling for justice erupted in Minneapolis and across the entire world. While there have been violent riots and looting, there has been largely peaceful protest. There were some outside agitators infiltrating the protests that clearly did not represent the movement. From MSNBC and CNN reporting, with their own reporters literally being targeted by police, it is clear that most protests are peaceful until, without warning, the police fire upon them with tear-gas and rubber bullets unannounced. Then the violence begins.

After President Trump’s call to shoot looters, the weekend behavior of police was different. Police were increasingly on the offensive. There was a national escalation. At the same time, there were some police forces who properly de-escalated and even protested alongside the movement. This is much more effective than ramming protestors with cars or firing tear-gas and rubber bullets. But that is what the President wants.

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President Trump took to Twitter on Friday morning, called the protestors “THUGS” and said, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” This isn’t new. Trump’s history of racist remarks speaks for itself and he’s also previously told police to rough up suspects in 2017. Trump tried to walk-back the tweet, but we knew what he meant. It was a clear echo of Miami’s police chief Walter Headley when he spoke about his crackdown on black protestors in 1967.

This tweet was labeled with a warning that said it “glorified violence.” Trump spent much of his time continuing his complaints about Twitter, which had previously put a fact-check warning on his tweet about mail-in voter fraud. Trump even signed a dubious executive order targeting social media companies.

President Trump then held a press conference on Friday. Trump didn’t mention Minneapolis, the 100k COVID-19 death toll, mass unemployment, etc. Trump just talked about terminating the US relationship with the WHO in the middle of the pandemic, bashed China, and walked off. That press conference clearly showcased Trump is tired of playing the role of reality TV president. He isn’t even pretending to lead anymore. He’s given up.

The fact Trump was preoccupied with retaliating against Twitter and scapegoating the WHO, while America was literally on fire and we grieve 100k+ Americans, tells you everything you need to know about him. The simplest reason you shouldn’t vote for Trump is that he doesn’t give a damn about anyone but himself.

Over the weekend, Trump went on to call for unleashing dogs on protestors, called for law and order, blamed Democrats, conflated the protestors with “Antifa,” and praised law enforcement for their “tough” actions. President Trump said nothing of countless examples of police brutality, including firing tear-gas and rubber bullets at peaceful protestors and journalists from multiple news organizations.

The restraint shown against armed white protestors being blatantly provocative against stay-at-home orders vs. the impulsive brutalization of unarmed people of color protesting George Floyd’s murder has been stunning. It wordlessly depicts the racial biases in policing. It’s a microcosm of racism in America. We’ve seen the NYPD ram protestors with an SUV. We’ve seen a police shooting people with paint canisters on their own porch. There has also been targeting of the press.

Over the weekend, MSNBC’s Ali Velshi got tear-gassed without warning and shot hit in his knee with a rubber bullet on live TV. The police pulled up out of nowhere and began opening fire on him. Velshi yelled that he and his crew were members of the media. The police paused, yelled “we don’t care,” and kept firing.

The Minnesota State Police arrested Omar Jimenez and his CNN news crew on live television on Friday morning. This is America. Journalists should not be arrested for simply doing their jobs. Jimenez said his mom saw him arrested on live TV and was frantically trying to find out where he was the entire time he was in custody. Her worst fear was that he might be another casualty of police brutality. Omar Jimenez and the CNN crew were arrested in the blink of an eye for no cause but it took days to arrest Officer Derek Chauvin and charge him with 3rd-degree murder. The other 3 officers are still walking free.

As Trump threatened to shoot protestors, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden offered empathetic leadership. In a live-streamed statement, Biden clearly named the problem of systemic racism and called for action with genuine empathy. Biden also discussed his phone call with Floyd’s family with decency. Floyd’s brother said their conversation with President Trump was rushed and Trump didn’t even let the family speak.

Meanwhile, there is one small bit of cultural progress I want to note. Unlike Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Michael Brown (I’d name them all if I could) there is no mainstream voice doing a post-mortem criminalization of George Floyd. There is universal agreement his murder was an injustice. The official Fox News messaging line on this to first initially acknowledge that George Floyd’s death was a tragedy before completely blasting the protests with racist language.

But what do they want? Black NFL players peacefully kneeled and they were called sons of bitches by the President. Protestors who peacefully protested in Minneapolis were sprayed with tear gas. Conservatives call Black people sons of bitches when they peacefully protest and thugs when they riot. What they really want is capitulation. But we’re not seeing that.

A bright spot in all this darkness has been the youth engagement. A similar activating event actually happened to me in 2012. When Trayvon Martin was murdered, I was 19 and he was 17. It could’ve easily been me. It hit me hard. After that, I couldn’t look away from the news. I was never the same. It set me on the path to co-founding Rantt Media. I hope we see a new generation of leaders after this because we have a lot of work ahead of us.

Protesting was once our only tool. Black people couldn’t vote. We can now. It’s time for long-game thinking. We need to mobilize the vote and plan to run for local, state, and federal office ourselves. These protests got young people heard, but real change comes from a majority of seats at the power table.

Yes, the GOP wages a vast voter suppression operation against us. But if we all mobilize, and our allies mobilize, and tens of millions of people don’t sit out the election, we could overpower voter suppression and address that problem from the inside too. Change is a long and difficult endeavor. We need to buckle up and prepare to reshape policymaking at every level. Police accountability reforms, stronger civil rights protections, etc. We can’t do any of that from the outside.

Defeating America’s epidemic of systemic racism will take major paradigm shifts. We need to flood political, business, and cultural positions of power with people of color and we need white allies. It’ll take decades, but we can infiltrate, educate, and reshape societal values. We can do it.

Let’s dive into yet another Unpresidented week.

The Murder Of George Floyd

Day 1,223: Tuesday, May 26

Tuesday’s top stories:

Over 100,000 Americans Dead From COVID-19

Day 1,224: Wednesday, May 27

Army Spc. Daniel Fields, assigned to the 9th Hospital Center, takes a patient’s blood pressure reading in the Javits New York Medical Station (JNYMS) – March 30, 2020 (US Navy/Barry Riley/Public domain)

Army Spc. Daniel Fields, assigned to the 9th Hospital Center, takes a patient’s blood pressure reading in the Javits New York Medical Station (JNYMS) – March 30, 2020 (US Navy/Barry Riley/Public domain)

Wednesday’s top stories:

Minnesota Protests

Day 1,225: Thursday, May 28

Thursday’s top stories:

A Country Falling Apart At The Seams

Day 1,226: Friday, May 29

Friday’s top stories:

Some images from the George Floyd protests over the weekend…

But there is hope:

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Unpresidented // Donald Trump / George Floyd / Minneapolis / Police Brutality / Protest / Racism