A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 187th 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 187.
This was a week of contrasts. The 2020 Democratic National Convention was not only a successful virtual event that garnered hundreds of millions of views, it was a well-executed presentation of what the Democratic Party stands for. In night after night, Democrats highlighted their values in speeches and video segments from Democrats, Republicans, and ordinary Americans alike. But perhaps their most successful endeavor was telling the story of the character of the party and the person leading the ticket: Joe Biden.
I’ll touch on other noteworthy news events from this week in a moment, but first, let’s go day-by-day and discuss the DNC. Day one was hosted by Eva Longoria and we heard a lot of stories from ordinary Americans, with one really standing out. Kristin Urquiza, daughter of a COVID-19 victim, addressed the convention and said: “His only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump and for that, he paid with his life.”
Throughout day one, former Democratic candidates spoke to Joe Biden’s decency. Biden is a guy who had an amoral person like Lindsey Graham crying about how decent he is. Biden’s greatest strength has always been his unshakable character. He’s the perfect contrast to Trump, who has none. Former Ohio Governor John Kasich was the first of many Republicans to address the convention and endorse Biden.
Biden’s decency is also why Bernie dropped out of the race without a fight. Biden was one of the few who treated Bernie with respect and took him seriously when he first arrived in the Senate, according to reporting. It’s within this context that Bernie Sanders addressed the convention.
Bernie Sanders came through with a full-throated endorsement of Biden and laid out the stakes of the election and Trump’s authoritarianism. “Nero fiddled while Rome burned, Trump golfs,” Sanders asserted. Sanders delivered a powerful unifying message, endorsed Biden’s policy positions, and accurately depicted the threat of Trump. It was excellent.
Then came the showstopper. Michelle Obama delivered moral clarity and laid out that this election isn’t just about Trump, but about who we choose to be: “Being president doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are. Well, a presidential election can reveal who we are too.”
Obama then took it directly to Trump “Let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can: Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country… he cannot meet this moment… It is what it is.” Michelle Obama’s speech was so good, even Fox News couldn’t help but praise her. Chris Wallace said Michelle Obama “flayed” and “sliced and diced” President Trump.
Day two was hosted by Tracee Ellis Ross. Democrats pulled off an excellent virtual roll call officially nominating Joe Biden. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivered the nomination speech for Bernie Sanders’ delegates before the nomination process concluded with Biden as the nominee. There has been some criticism from progressives that she should’ve been given more time.
This day was also used as an opportunity to flex Biden’s national security expertise and endorsements. Former Secretary of State Collin Powell was a featured speaker and former Secretary of State John Kerry hit Trump hard on foreign policy, saying Trump breaks up with allies and writes love letters to dictators. This is objectively true, of course. President Trump on Kim Jong-Un: “And then we fell in love. No really. He wrote me beautiful letters.”
To close out day 2, Dr. Jill Biden delivered remarks from a classroom, highlighting her experience as an educator and speaking to parents around the country as to why Biden is the right man for the job. Her speech was widely well-received, including from Fox News.
Day 3 was incredibly stacked and also honored the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th Amendment. We had speeches from Kamala Harris, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, and Elizabeth Warren. Not to mention performances from Jennifer Hudson and Billie Eilish. It was hosted by Kerry Washington.
Hillary Clinton used her remarks to say that for four years people have told her they wish they could’ve done things differently in 2016 and voted the right way. She made the case that this is the chance to avoid another would’ve, could’ve, should’ve moment. Listening to Hillary Clinton and all I could think about was how her competent leadership would’ve had us in a significantly different reality than we’re in right now. It’s very sad so many Americans fell for the decades of propaganda against her that wasn’t remotely true.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) delivered a hard-hitting speech touting all the work the Democratic House has done and the fact McConnell and Trump have sat on those efforts. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) delivered remarks about Biden’s economic plan. She was the perfect messenger for this since she lives and breathes this issue
Then came President Obama, in a much different speech than we usually hear from him. President Obama said he hoped Trump would take the job seriously or feel the weight of the office, but he never did. Obama said Trump has treated the presidency like a reality show, and now, 170k Americans are dead from COVID-19, millions of jobs have been lost, America’s worst impulses have been unleashed, the US’s reputation has been damaged, and our institutions have been threatened.
President Obama asked Americans to believe in Biden and Harris’s ability to lead us out of this but to also believe in our own ability to make our democracy work better. That last point echoes his final speech as President. In a very poignant moment, President Obama fought back tears as he explained how Black Americans persevered in spite of being assaulted during their fight to make America live up to its ideals. Obama said he sees that same spirit of activism in recent years.
President Obama came through with a message he’s always hit but really began to hit harder in the final days of his presidency: Democracy is a practice and that there is no one leader that will solve all our problems, but that we, ourselves, have to work to bring about progress.
President Obama’s speech was so effective because we’ve always looked to him to give comfort or hope in the past. We usually leave feeling everything will be ok. This time we didn’t. You can tell he’s worried. The message was that our democracy is at stake and it’s up to us to save it: “Do not let them take away your power. Do not let them take away your democracy. Make a plan to vote.”
President Obama is a tough act to follow, but Vice Presidential Nominee Kamala Harris delivered. Not only did she make history by accepting the nomination for Vice President, but she also delivered an excellent speech. This was a big moment, and Harris rose to it.
This was one of Harris’s most memorable lines: “There is no vaccine for racism. We’ve got to do the work, for George Floyd, for Breonna Taylor, for the lives of too many… None of us are free until all of us are free.” Harris also did a great job painting the contrast between Biden and Trump: “Trump turns our challenges into political weapons. Joe will turn our challenges into purpose.”
On day four, the Veep star herself Julia Louis-Dreyfus hosted the real former Veep himself’s nomination night. The night was filled with joked but also some moving moments. John Lewis’s tribute was particularly moving and included a performance from Common and John Legend of their song “Glory.”
The most viral moment from the convention came when 13-year-old Brayden Harrington delivered remarks that highlighted how Joe Biden helped him work through his stutter. Harrington was fighting through his stutter throughout the speech, which gave viewers not only a picture of Biden’s decency for helping out this young boy and Harrington’s own bravery but a snapshot of Biden’s own disability he overcame when he was a kid. The night also highlighted the many losses Biden has endured over his life.
Then came Joe Biden, who delivered the best speech I’ve ever seen from him, and right on time to help save our democracy. Biden started his speech saying he will work as hard for those who didn’t vote for him as he will for those who did. That was in stark contrast to Trump, who just months ago was seeking to punish blue state governors who wouldn’t praise him amid COVID-19.
Biden offered words of comfort for those who are grieving. This quote perhaps epitomizes his speech: “Character is on the ballot. Compassion is on the ballot. Decency, science, democracy. They are all on the ballot,” Biden said. “Who we are as a nation. What we stand for. And, most importantly, who we want to be. That’s all on the ballot. And the choice could not be clearer.”
Biden exudes empathy, competence, and character while Trump embodies depravity, ignorance, and amorality. Biden is truly the polar opposite of Trump, and Americans saw it, even his critics. Fox News praised Biden. Bret Baier said that it is the best he’s seen him on the stump and Chris Wallace said Biden blew a hole in Trump’s narrative about Biden’s abilities. Wallace said Trump is now going to have to run against a candidate, not a caricature.
Fox News’ Dana Perino said that Biden hit a home run and gave the best speech of his life. Every single person on Fox on that panel right after his speech, including Brit Hume and Karl Rove, praised the speech. Rove said if he was a Republican strategist working with the Trump campaign, he’d be worried.
The fact Fox News couldn’t even come up with a solid critique shows you they were moved by the speech. Anyone watching that was moved. It was human, emotional, and aspirational. Like I’ve said before, empathy is Biden’s superpower and it really shined through that night.
As we gear up for the week of the Republican National Convention, we are left with this week of contrasts behind us, and another week of starker contrasts ahead.
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Now, on to other news. On Friday, Postmaster General DeJoy testified before the Senate. I covered it in-depth in The Independent. Here’s an excerpt:
DeJoy’s testimony came down to him claiming all these problems began coincidentally when his tenure started but was not caused by him. It strains credulity and contradicts what postal workers have told reporters and the concrete evidence we’ve seen. Given DeJoy performance before Congress and his reluctance to turn over documents, I’d say his promise that he will stop these changes deserves more scrutiny. DeJoy has proven himself to be just another Trump stooge and should be treated as such.
The USPS has the capacity to deliver this mail and handle mail-in ballots, not even DeJoy or his critics argue they don’t. So these delays appear to be deliberate. Republicans have long wanted to privatize the Postal Service but these changes so close to an election stink of something much more devious and undemocratic.
Another important development this leak was the nearly 1,000-page report from the Senate Intelligence Committee on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. It revealed that Manafort collaborated with Kilimnik, who is now being referred to in no uncertain terms as a Russian intelligence officer, and that evidence points to both Kilimnik and Manafort being involved in the hack (which was criminal).
We also heard more confirmation that Longtime Trump Adviser Roger Stone spoke to Trump about Wikileaks multiple times and we learned that Stone straight up ghostwrote pro-Russia tweets for Trump. In spite of this, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Marco Rubio claimed his own report found “no collusion.”
I wonder which part said no collusion? Was it the part where Paul Manafort coordinated messaging strategy and gave polling data to Russia intel officer Kilimnik? Or was it the part where Roger Stone told Trump about Wikileaks and wrote pro-Russia tweets for him?
Now, we have to discuss this. This week, President Trump literally endorsed QAnon, a conspiracy theory that believes he’s fighting a satanic cabal of pedophile cannibals who take drugs created from the fear of kids and that Trump will imprison and execute all of his opponents. It’s important to note that the FBI sees QAnon as a domestic terror threat.
In a presser, President Trump was asked what he thinks about QAnon and he said they like him very much, and he appreciates it. Trump went on to say QAnon are people that don’t like seeing what goes on in Portland and love our country. When Trump was told that QAnon believes he’s saving the world from a satanic cabal and Trump said, “Is that a bad thing?” Trump then said, “If I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do it.”
What a disgusting moment. The only response to a question like that about QAnon, which the FBI flags as a domestic terrorist threat, is that he completely disavows them. Trump never condemns those who support him, no matter how dangerous or depraved they are.
Not only did Trump say QAnon loves our country, Trump went on to essentially legitimize their theory. The damage is done. No future forced condemnations will matter. No pushback from the GOP will matter. QAnon has been existing off of fake “clues” for years and Trump just gave them so much to work with and likely pushed more members of his base into the theory.
There is only one way to frame this: The President of the United States just endorsed a far-right extremist domestic terror movement that is not only insane, it has anti-Semitic, racist, and anti-vaccine sentiments throughout its conspiratorial beliefs. This endorsement of QAnon is one of the most worrying things Trump has done. We have historically seen attacks from other far-right extremist groups after Trump fueled their delusions, and he always shows up in their manifestos.
Before we end this week, how could I forget Mr. Steve Bannon? Bannon was charged, along with 2 others, with defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors in their build the wall campaign. Bannon was formerly Breitbart Chairman, Trump Campaign CEO, and Trump’s White House Chief Strategist. So that means we have all of these people either indicted, convicted, or pleaded guilty:
- Former Campaign CEO and White House Strategist Steve Bannon
- Former Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort
- Longtime Advisor Stone
- Former Deputy Campaign Chair Rick Gates
- Former Trump Fixer Michael Cohen
- Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn
- Former Campaign Advisor George Papadopoulos
Trump once said he always hires the best people. Another positive to a potential Biden Administration is that he won’t surround himself with criminals.
Let’s dive into yet another Upresidented week.Looking to make a difference? Consider signing one of these sponsored petitions:
DNC Day 1: Michelle Obama “Sliced And Diced” Trump
Day 1,306: Monday, August 17
Monday’s top stories:
- The New York Times: Michelle Obama Calls Trump ‘Wrong President for Our Country,’ Urging Voters to Act
- Los Angeles Times: Bernie Sanders makes an urgent plea for unity at Democratic convention
- The New York Times: John Kasich, a ‘Deeply Worried’ Republican, Steps Up for Biden
- Axios: Woman says in DNC address her dad “paid with his life” for trusting Trump
- Axios: Trump attacks Biden after DNC speech: “Somebody please explain to Michelle Obama”
- HuffPost: Fox News Hosts Laud Michelle Obama’s DNC Speech: ‘Sliced And Diced’ Trump
- Politico: DeJoy agrees to testify amid Dem fury over Postal Service changes
- The New York Times: Pelosi to Recall House for Postal Service Vote as Democrats Press for DeJoy to Testify
- CNN: Covid-19 is now the No. 3 cause of death in the US. But testing to find and isolate cases has dropped off
- CNN: Voters in North Carolina have received absentee ballot request forms in the mail with Trump’s face on them
- Reuters: More than dozen U.S. states expected to sue Trump administration over postal cuts
- NBC News: Trump eyes Putin meeting before November election, say sources
- USA TODAY: UNC-Chapel Hill fall semester going online amid COVID-19 outbreaks, one week into classes
- NBC News: Arizona district cancels classes after dozens of teachers call out sick
- CNN: Former senior Trump administration official endorses Joe Biden
- CNN: Trump retweets Russian propaganda about Biden that US intel agencies say is intended to influence 2020 election
- Sky News: New Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows Biden ahead of Trump by 11 points among registered voters — his largest lead yet
- Rantt Media: Twitter & Facebook Finally Step Up To Fight QAnon
- Bloomberg: Six Key Takeaways From Pandemic Data on American Households
- Bloomberg: Southeast Asia Detects Mutated Virus Strain Sweeping the World
- The Independent: UK refuses to recognise Belarus election result amid mass protests
- Reuters: New Zealand’s Ardern postpones election as coronavirus flares up
- Bloomberg: Thailand Recession Deepens With Biggest GDP Fall Since 1998
- Rantt Media: Misogynoir: A Guide To Racist And Sexist Phrases In 2020
- Rantt Media: Biden-Harris Are Progressive Allies, Trump-Pence Are Adversaries
DNC Day 2: Biden Official Nominated And A Russia Senate Report Bombshell
Day 1,307: Tuesday, August 18
Tuesday’s top stories:
- The Washington Post: Joe Biden officially becomes the Democratic Party’s nominee on convention’s second night
- Yahoo News: Key takeaways from Day 2 of the Democratic National Convention: Jill Biden loves Joe, and so did John McCain
- Los Angeles Times: Colin Powell and other national security leaders back Biden, warn of a Trump second term
- Business Insider: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez formally nominated Bernie Sanders for president, confusing many, but it was only symbolic and Biden still got the Democrats’ nomination
- NBC News: Manafort associate is Russian spy, may have helped coordinate e-mail hack-and-leak, report says
- NBC News: Trump says he didn’t discuss hacked emails with Roger Stone. A bipartisan Senate report says he did.
- NBC News: Senate committee made criminal referral of Trump Jr., Bannon, and Kushner
- CNN: Postal Service backs down on changes as at least 20 states sue over potential mail delays
- CNN: Postmaster General to testify before Senate on Friday
- CNN: Hundreds of Covid-19 cases reported as students return to college campuses
- Reuters: Pelosi emphasizes need for COVID-19 deal ‘now’
- Reuters: Coronavirus pandemic now driven by younger adults: WHO
- The Hill: Trump submits vote-by-mail ballot in Florida
- Reuters: Mali president resigns after detention by military, deepening crisis
- CNN: Colin Powell: “I support Joe Biden for the presidency of the United States”
- Politico: Cindy McCain is the latest Republican to speak on Biden’s behalf at convention
- NBC News: Former USPS board member to brief House Democrats this week
- Politico: Trump-backed transgender athlete ban paused in Idaho
- CNN: New Zealand prime minister hits back at Trump calling the country’s coronavirus surge “terrible”
DNC Day 3: Kamala Harris Makes History, Barack Obama Passes The Baton
Day 1,308: Wednesday, August 19
Wednesday’s top stories:
- CNN: Kamala Harris officially becomes the first Black woman to be a major party’s vice presidential nominee
- CNN: Analysis: Obama issues a dire warning about American democracy in stunning rebuke of Trump
- The New York Times: Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris Speak of Women’s Vote Centennial at Democratic Convention
- Politico: Trump attacks Obama and Harris speeches in real-time, all-caps tweets
- Rantt Media: “I Almost Died.” COVID Survivors From 5 Generations Speak Out.
- NBC News: DNC 2020, Night 3: Harris’ big speech, Obama’s the closer, Clinton and Warren speak, and more to watch for
- Forbes: Reports Of Dismantled USPS Sorting Machines Continue Despite DeJoy Announcing Halt
- USA TODAY: USPS head has no plans to replace sorting machines or reverse other Postal Service changes, Pelosi says
- CNBC: Waiting for that extra $300 weekly unemployment benefit? For thousands, it may never come
- CNN: Georgia, Texas and Florida lead the country in coronavirus cases per capita
- CNN: Trump embraces QAnon conspiracy because ‘they like me’
- The Guardian: Facebook restricts more than 10,000 QAnon and US militia groups
- The Mercury News: With 367 wildfires raging, Cal Fire to all residents of California: ‘Be ready to go’
- CBS News: White House declines to say whether Trump will accept election results if he loses
- The Daily Beast: Schools Touted by DeSantis Now in a Quarantine Nightmare
- The Washington Post: As Breonna Taylor protests stretch into 12th week, calls for officers’ arrests intensify
- NPR: Michigan State And Notre Dame Suspend In-Person Learning Over COVID-19 Concerns
- Yahoo News: Florida Republicans unseat Rep. Ross Spano, nominate far-right activist Laura Loomer, in GOP primaries
- Reuters: Bipartisan majority of Americans want more money for Postal Service: Reuters/Ipsos Poll
- The Guardian: Mali soldiers promise ‘civilian political transition’ leading to general election
DNC Day 4: Joe Biden Gives The Greatest Speech Of His Life
Day 1,309: Thursday, August 20
Thursday’s top stories:
- CNN: Analysis: Joe Biden takes on Trump-era traumas in career-defining speech
- CNN: Voices from Fox News to MSNBC praise Joe Biden’s acceptance speech
- The Washington Post: ‘Pure, unvarnished, courage’: A 13-year-old ‘regular kid’ with a stutter gave a must-watch DNC speech
- AP: 4 former presidential contenders speak on DNC’s final night: Bloomberg, Booker, Buttigieg and Yang
- CNN: Steve Bannon, three others charged with fraud in border wall fundraising campaign
- NBC News: Trump must turn over tax returns to NY prosecutors, judge rules
- Politico: Trump distances himself from Bannon after arrest, calls private wall efforts ‘inappropriate’
- NBC News: Doctors ‘fighting for life’ of Russia’s opposition leader Navalny after alleged poisoning
- NBC News: Trump cabinet officials voted in 2018 meeting to separate migrant kids
- ABC News: Prosecutors looking to reinstate indictment against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for mortgage fraud
- ABC News: More than 70 Republican former national security officials come out in support of Biden
- ABC News: Trump slams Biden near Pennsylvania childhood home hours before his DNC speech
- The Hill: Trump pushes for universities to reopen even as coronavirus cases spike on campuses
- CNN: California fires turn deadly as evacuees worry about their homes, Covid-19, and excessive heat
- CNN: Trump ‘cancels’ Goodyear tires as he campaigns against ‘cancel culture’
- Wall Street Journal: Covid-19 Data Will Once Again Be Collected by CDC, in Policy Reversal
- Rantt Media: Trump & DeJoy’s Assault On The USPS, Explained
- The Hill: Jeb Bush condemns Trump’s QAnon comments: ‘Nut jobs, racists, haters have no place in either party’
- The New York Times: Local Officials in China Hid Coronavirus Dangers From Beijing, U.S. Agencies Find
The DeJoy Hearing
Day 1,310: Friday, August 21
Friday’s top stories:
- The Independent: Louis DeJoy’s testimony to Congress has made Trump’s motives over the Postal Service crystal clear
- NBC News: Mnuchin’s role in postmaster’s appointment becomes target
- CNN: USPS email tells managers not to reconnect sorting machines
- CNN: Appeals court sets September 1 hearing on deadline for Trump’s financial records subpoena
- CNN: Biden’s campaign says it raised $70 million during DNC watched live by 122 million people
- The Daily Beast: Trump Makes Empty Threat to Send ‘Sheriffs’ to Polling Places
- The Washington Post: Evidence grows that children may play a larger role in transmission than previously believed
- Los Angeles Times: California wildfires burn 1,200 square miles, an area bigger than Rhode Island
- CNN: Bannon has been telling friends he and Trump occasionally speak, source says
- Politico: ‘It was great’: In leaked audio, Trump hailed low Black turnout in 2016
- Forbes: Vermont Gov. Scott Joins Republicans Who Won’t Vote Trump—But Not Ready To Endorse Biden, Either
- Bloomberg: Pfizer Vaccine on Track for Regulatory Review in October
- BBC: Alexei Navalny: Doctors say Putin critic can’t be moved to Germany
- CNN: White House formally declares teachers are essential workers
- USA TODAY: Mitch McConnell to deliver remarks at RNC, a reversal of an hours-earlier position that he would not speak
- AP: Feds charge former Green Beret with espionage with Russia
- NBC News: Brayden Harrington says DNC appearance boosted his confidence, wants to help others who stutter
- Reuters: Beijing says residents can go mask-free as China COVID cases hit new lows
- Reuters: New Zealand court set to sentence killer in Christchurch mosque massacre
- USA TODAY: Kanye West misses deadline to appear on Wisconsin ballot in November, elections board rules