A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 182nd 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 182.
This week was another one for the history books, and not in a good way. Not only did we lose Civil Rights icon John Lewis, the conscience of the Congress, but we lost more of the safeguards that uphold American democracy. President Trump unleashed his most fascist, unconstitutional, undemocratic display yet.
Throughout the week, there was a clear trend of overtly autocratic actions on the part of the Trump Administration. First, the White House cut out the CDC and took control of coronavirus data. Then, we saw President Trump continue to muse about how the Supreme Court allegedly gave him the power to essentially legislate without Congress. But worst of all, we have what happened in Portland, Oregon.
Images from Portland began to flood social media as an unidentified federal police force dressed in military armor began essentially kidnapping protestors off the street, against the wishes of local officials. The police force refused to identify themselves as they took protestors into unmarked cars, leaving those they apprehended confused and terrified. In one instance, they shot a protestor in the head with a non-lethal round, causing severe skull injuries. It was some of the worst police brutality images we’ve seen since the Lafayette Square assault on peaceful protestors, in which we also saw unidentified military police.
This raised many alarms in Washington and among the American people. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called this secret police force “stormtroopers.” We’ve since learned who they are. Before they publicly admitted it, an internal memo obtained by The Nation revealed that these were US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents. The force was the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), which is the CBP’s version of SWAT. They were authorized to be deployed under the new special task force called the Protecting American Communities Task Force (PACT), which was created with President Trump’s executive order meant to protect federal monuments. It appears Trump’s transition of CBP into his personal police force has been completed.
This rightfully drew outrage as it violated the protestors’ rights. DHS released statements declaring that these were violent anarchists and these agents were doing their jobs. But a separate DHS memo was leaked to The New York Times and The Washington Post that indicated this police force was not trained for riot control. Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf defended this force and Acting DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli confirmed that this tactic will be implemented nationwide.
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes depicted President Trump’s secret police deployments in Portland as “performing fascism for the base” and he couldn’t be more right. What’s going on in Portland should scare every American, no matter what side of the aisle you’re on. This is not how America is supposed to be. Unfortunately, this was just one piece of the authoritarian puzzle.
After an article was published in the National Review by John Yoo, a proponent of the unitary executive theory, President Trump has made some startling claims. This week, President Trump repeatedly claimed the Supreme Court’s DACA ruling gives him the ability to unilaterally craft bills and sign them into law. This would essentially mean that Trump could circumvent Congress and rule via dictatorial decree. Trump’s legally dubious and dangerous view of the executive power was corroborated by an Axios report that indicated Trump would try to do this in the coming weeks with immigration.
President Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows further raised alarms by confirming that Trump is working with Attorney General Barr to make what happened in Portland a national tactic. Meadows also said that “it’s time for people to go to jail” and signaled imminent indictments in the Barr-Durham probe of Russian interference investigators. All this came as President Trump falsely accused Obama and Biden of treason. This is all slipping very fast.
Next, we move to the coronavirus pandemic. As America continues to see all-time highs in cases, hitting over 70k cases in a single day for the first time this week, the White House seeks more control of the data. Immediately after the White House took control of data collection from hospitals and cut out the CDC, we saw a data blackout on hospital capacity on the CDC website.
This appears to be a blatant effort on the part of the White House to distort the COVID-19 hospitalization numbers. What’s next, the death toll? This is the kind of authoritarian suppression of data we expect from China, not the United States. Meanwhile, a Trump adviser told The Washington Post that Trump isn’t working this anymore and doesn’t want to be distracted by COVID-19. Translation: Trump doesn’t want to be distracted with mass death and disease burdening the American people he is supposed to govern.
We also learned this week that President Trump spoke to Dr. Anthonly Fauci, the leading infectious disease expert, after not speaking to him for nearly 2 months in the middle of a pandemic seeing new highs. In another indication that science is not leading the federal response, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that “the science should not stand in the way” of reopening schools.
Meanwhile, President Trump continued his war on testing. The Trump administration is pushing back on Congressional efforts to put new funds for testing and contact tracing into the next coronavirus relief bill. Trump also continued to claim that we only have high cases because we’re doing the most testing. For the last time, testing does not create cases, it detects them. If we had no cancer screenings, America would have zero cancer diagnoses but people would still die of cancer.
As long as the Trump administration continues to treat coronavirus as a public relations crisis and not a public health crisis, America will never get this under control until a vaccine arrives. President Trump is willing to do literally anything other than his job to try and win re-election. The smartest thing morally, and politically is to get a handle on coronavirus. Instead, he’s pushing reopenings amid spikes, attacking Fauci, leaving WHO, and overall making things worse.
Another recurring thread in President Trump’s presidency took center stage again this week: his white supremacy. President Trump’s niece Mary Trump said that she has heard Trump say the n-word and antisemitic language. None of this was surprising, but perhaps a little surprising was President Trump’s overt embrace of the white supremacist great replacement theory.
President Trump then launched a very racist attack on affordable housing and zoning laws by claiming it makes crime go up and prices go down for other properties. President Trump essentially said Black people will flood neighborhoods and immediately followed it by saying we need to maintain our “history and culture,” which is what he says when defending the Confederacy – which he did this week too, multiple times.
In an interview with CBS News on Tuesday, President Trump said that people love the Confederate flag and that they don’t see it as representing racism. Trump said that they have freedom of speech to tout the flag just like others can tout Black Lives Matter, a wild false equivalency. In an interview with Chirs Wallace, President Trump said the Confederate flag represents the South. Southerners don’t agree with Trump here.
A new Quinnipiac poll found that 55% of Southerners now see the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism while only 36% see it as a symbol of Southern pride. President Trump’s entire 2020 “strategy” is a bet that enough white people are as racist as he is and will turn out for him. He’s wrong.
In other racist news, Sebastian Gorka, a bigot with ties to neo-Nazi extremists who was previously fired from the White House, got another job in the White House. This was just one of the unhinged moves the Trump Administration made this week.
President Trump’s held another wild “press conference.” President Trump gathered the press in the Rose Garden and listed dishonest misrepresentations of Biden’s policies, outright smears of Democrats, and egomanical lies exaggerating his own success as POTUS. Meanwhile, Americans are still dying of COVID-19.
On Fox News, anchor Bret Baier rightfully pointed out that if Obama gave this kind of speech in the Rose Garden, Republicans on Capitol Hill would’ve been up in arms. Whoever’s idea it was for Trump to have this ego briefing has a real short memory. Trump’s coronavirus briefings were what began to crater his poll numbers. Putting this man in front of cameras only reminds Americans how much of a self-centered incompetent liar Trump is, and judging by recent polls, they don’t need much reminding.
This week saw the absolute worst poll for President Trump yet. Quinnipiac had President Trump down to Joe Biden by 15 points nationally, and the issue breakdowns were no better. The poll had Biden leading Trump on coronavirus (59%-35%), healthcare (58%-35%), racial inequality (62%-30%), and, for the first time, the economy (50%-45%). This week, Joe Biden also unveiled a $2 trillion climate plan while Trump rolled back another environmental law. The contrast couldn’t be starker.
Gallup also released one of the most important polls so far this year. There’s been evidence over the last few years of a shrinking GOP (party affiliation shifts, 2018 midterms, etc) but what’s happened in recent months is some of the most profound evidence of the declining Republican Party yet. The number of people affiliating as Democrats is increasing while it’s decreasing for Republicans.
It turns out President Trump calling coronavirus fears a hoax, botching the response at every turn, prematurely pushing reopenings which sparked case surges, waging a war on basic measures like masks and testing, all while defending the Confederacy is unpopular. Who would’ve guessed…
While publicly claiming all these polls are fake, the Trump Campaign is clearly being driven by them. They demoted Campaign Manager Brad Parscale. The thing is, Parscale is not what’s wrong with Trump’s campaign. Trump is what’s wrong with Trump’s campaign. Trump could replace his entire campaign with the most brilliant people on Earth and they couldn’t spin his failure of a presidency or cure his character flaws or cure coronavirus.
All of this is driving President Trump’s desperate authoritarian moves. Trump doesn’t have much to run on other than fear, racism, and apparently, fascism.Looking to make a difference? Consider signing one of these sponsored petitions:
Reopenings Continue To Scale Back
Day 1,271: Monday, July 13
Monday’s top stories:
- CNN: California, New Mexico and Oregon put new restrictions on indoor activities
- Reuters: Fauci blames virus surge on U.S. not shutting down completely
- Politico: Mulvaney calls U.S. coronavirus testing abilities ‘inexcusable,’ breaking from Trump
- The Washington Post: Robert Mueller Op-Ed: Roger Stone remains a convicted felon, and rightly so
- NBC News: Graham says he plans to call on Mueller to testify before Senate after Roger Stone op-ed
- Reuters: Florida sets one-day record with over 15,000 new COVID cases, more than most countries
- CNN: White House takes aim at Fauci as he disagrees with Trump on virus
- ABC News: Biden campaign slams Trump for ‘disgusting’ attempt to discredit Fauci
- Vox: Breonna Taylor was killed by police in March. The officers involved have not been arrested.
- Yahoo News: Sen. Mitt Romney Calls Trump’s Decision to Commute Roger Stone’s Sentence ‘Historic Corruption’
- The Washington Post: Long delays in getting test results hobble coronavirus response
- CNN: Judges block six-week abortion bans in Georgia and Tennessee
- Rolling Stone: If You Weren’t Afraid to Send Your Kids Back to School, DeVos’ Disastrous Interview Might Change That
- CNN: US military sees 60 percent jump in coronavirus cases in first few weeks of July
- NBC News: Hill Republicans struggle to navigate Trump’s sinking approval
- Los Angeles Times: Body of actress Naya Rivera found in Lake Piru, officials say
- The New York Times: As Trump Demanded Schools Reopen, His Experts Warned of ‘Highest Risk’
- Politico: ‘Adapt immediately or find a new job’: Senate GOP confronts fundraising emergency
- Axios: White House chief of staff Mark Meadows lays traps to find suspected leakers
- CNN: NFL’s Washington Redskins will announce change of team’s name on Monday
- CNN: Kelly Preston, actress and wife of John Travolta, has died following a two-year battle with breast cancer
White House Seizes Control Over Coronavirus Data
Day 1,272: Tuesday, July 14
Tuesday’s top stories:
- The New York Times: Trump Administration Asserts Control Over Coronavirus Data
- CNN: America shuts down again — choosing reality over Trump’s false claims
- Bloomberg: Florida, Haven for NBA and Trump, Sets Covid Death Record
- Politico: Trump administration drops plan to deport international students in online-only classes
- Bloomberg: America’s Jobless Are About to Lose Their $600-a-Week Lifeline
- NBC News: Supreme Court clears way for first federal executions in 17 years
- CNN: 5 takeaways from primary elections and runoffs in Texas, Alabama and Maine
- NBC News: Biden unveils a more aggressive and progressive climate plan
- Rantt Media: Trump’s Re-Election Would Be An Existential Threat To Our Climate
- CNN: At event meant to announce China actions, Trump rambles into political attacks
- NBC News: U.S. units of Chinese companies got coronavirus bailout money
- ABC News: Trump claims more white people die at hands of law enforcement, defends flying Confederate flag
- AP: First COVID-19 vaccine tested in US poised for final testing
- AP: Justice Ginsburg treated in hospital for possible infection
- Reuters: U.S. House Republican Morgan Griffith tests positive for coronavirus
- CNN: Mary Trump free to promote her tell-all book after judge lifts temporary restraining order
- ABC News: A message for President Donald Trump from his niece: ‘Resign’
- Axios: Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans fear return to school
- Bloomberg: Biden to Call for $2 Trillion in Spending on Clean Energy
- NBC News: COVID-19 and Florida’s governor could tank Trump’s renomination festivities
- Politico: House to quickly revive legal effort to get Trump’s financial records
Day 1,273: Wednesday, July 15
Wednesday’s top stories:
- The Verge: Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Apple, and others hacked in unprecedented Twitter attack
- NBC News: COVID-19 power shift: Experts have ‘deep worries’ about hospital data sent to Washington
- NBC News: Florida hospitals face ICU bed shortage as state passes 300,000 COVID-19 cases
- Los Angeles Times: California campuses likely to remain closed amid coronavirus spike, state schools chief says
- CNN: Ruth Bader Ginsburg discharged from the hospital and doing well
- CNN: Biden opens up a 15-point lead over Trump in new national poll
- The New York Times: Trump Demotes Brad Parscale, His Campaign Manager
- CNN: HHS confirms coronavirus hospital data will now be sent to DC instead of CDC
- CNN: Trump rolls back landmark environmental law to speed up approval of federal projects
- CNN: Moderna coronavirus vaccine shows ‘promising’ results in published Phase 1 study
- NBC News: White House sent document bashing Vindman as Pentagon eyed promotion
- 1The Atlantic: Fauci: ‘Bizarre’ White House Behavior Only Hurts the President
- NBC News: Kansas congressman charged with voter fraud shortly before GOP debate
- CNBC: Biden maintains lead over Trump in 2020 swing states, new CNBC/Change Research poll says
- NBC News: Inside the Trump campaign’s struggle to land a punch on Biden
- Reuters: Two in three Americans want to see Trump’s tax returns, Reuters/Ipsos poll shows
- TheHill: Pentagon: US has withdrawn from 5 bases in Afghanistan after Taliban agreement
- BBC: China vows to retaliate after Trump’s HK move
- The Daily Beast: People Also Refused to Wear Masks in 1918—and 675,000 Died
- CNN: ‘Glee’ actress Naya Rivera ‘mustered enough energy’ to rescue her son ‘but not enough to save herself,’ authorities say
- The New York Times: ViacomCBS Fires Nick Cannon, Citing Anti-Semitic Podcast Remarks
- Rantt Media: The Similarities In Far-Right Islamophobia And Anti-Semitism
Kemp Endangers Georgians
Day 1,274: Thursday, July 16
Thursday’s top stories:
- The Washington Post: Live updates: Georgia strikes down local mask mandates as U.S. approaches 3.5 million coronavirus cases
- CNN: Georgia governor sues Atlanta mayor over city’s mask mandate
- Bloomberg: Covid-19 Infections on the Rise in Kids and Teens With School Approaching
- Rantt Media: Why We Shouldn’t Fully Reopen Schools
- CNN: Walmart, Kroger will start requiring customers in US stores to wear masks
- The Atlantic: A Second Coronavirus Death Surge Is Coming
- NBC News: Russia is trying to steal coronavirus vaccine research, U.S., U.K. and Canada claim
- CNN: Supreme Court rules federal execution of Wesley Purkey can proceed
- CNBC: Supreme Court leaves in place Florida ‘pay-to-vote’ law aimed at felons
- NBC News: The U.S. could see a ‘tsunami of evictions,’ warn housing advocates
- Los Angeles Times: Despite Supreme Court ruling, Trump administration rejects new DACA applications
- The Guardian: UK says Russia sought to interfere in 2019 election by spreading documents online
- The Daily Beast: Kayleigh McEnany: ‘Science Should Not Stand in the Way’ of Reopening Schools
- Politico: Inspector general: Medicare chief broke rules on her publicity contracts
- The Daily Beast: Dem Senate Hopefuls Dominate Second Quarter Money Race
- Politico: Biden cuts deep into Trump’s 2020 cash advantage
- ABC News: Biden campaign invests in diverse coalitions with new campaign hires
- USA TODAY: Mary Trump says she’s heard President Trump use racist and anti-Semitic slurs
- CNN: Trump and Fauci speak for the first time in weeks but Trump’s attention remains elsewhere
- Axios: Gallup: Party preference swings dramatically in favor of Democrats
- CNN: Why the Trump administration’s win over Huawei could be bad news for TikTok
- The Daily Beast: Team Trump Frantically Plots New Ways to Make Him Feel Good About Himself
- HuffPost: Chuck Woolery Changes Stance On COVID-19 ‘Lies’ After Son Tests Positive
- Reuters: Brazil President Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for coronavirus again
Fascism In Portland
Day 1,275: Friday, July 17
Friday’s top stories:
- The Washington Post: ‘It was like being preyed upon’: Portland protesters say federal officers in unmarked vans are detaining them
- Oregon Live: U.S. Attorney for Oregon requests investigation into reported arrests of Portland protesters picked up in unmarked vehicles
- AP: Mayor of Portland to Trump: Get your troops out of the city
- The Courier-Journal: Breonna Taylor was briefly alive after police shot her. But no one tried to treat her
- Reuters: U.S. shatters coronavirus record with over 77,000 cases in a day
- Bloomberg: U.S. Programs to Offset Covid Hardship Are All About to Expire
- Politico: Pentagon effectively bans Confederate flags on all military property
- The Daily Beast: ‘I Feel Powerless’: Guv’s Mask War Stokes COVID Despair in Atlanta
- NBC News: Money and speed for COVID-19 tests needed to combat ‘impending disaster’
- CNN: Task force report says 18 states in coronavirus ‘red zone’ should roll back reopening
- CNN: Ruth Bader Ginsburg announces cancer recurrence, will remain on the Supreme Court
- CNN: White House blocks CDC from testifying on reopening schools next week
- Business Insider: EXCLUSIVE: The Trump campaign is investigating campaign spending, Parscale contracts
- The Washington Post: Trump faces rising disapproval and widespread distrust on coronavirus, Post-ABC poll finds
- CNN: GOP to Trump: Change tune on mail-in voting or risk ugly November
- BuzzFeed News: Teachers Are Feeling The Pressure To Be “The Glue That Holds Society Together”
- USA TODAY: ‘Sir, he does not’: Fox’s Chris Wallace fact-checks Trump’s claim that Biden supports defunding the police
- AP: Pompeo says US should limit which human rights it defends
- CNN: Gowdy worked with Giuliani on legal matter ahead of impeachment proceedings, new documents show
- Rantt Media: Trump Falsely Scapegoats Fauci For His Own Failures
- Rantt Media: Savitri Devi And The Radical Right’s Fascination With Esoteric Nazism