A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 189th 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 189.
“I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” – President Trump reportedly asked John Kelly as they visited the grave of Kelly’s son who died in Afghanistan.
Aside from calling war dead “losers” and “suckers,” that was one of the most telling quotes attributed to President Trump in The Atlantic’s bombshell reporting. The reason that particular quote stood out to me is because it highlights the singular trend which runs throughout Donald Trump’s entire life: selfish transactional amorality.
The crux of The Atlantic story has been corroborated by the AP, The Washington Post, Fox News, and frankly, Trump’s own past actions. Former DHS Chief of Staff Miles Taylor publicly corroborated the part about Trump not wanting to commemorate John McCain’s funeral. The Fox News corroboration throws a major wrench in Trump’s “Fake News” denials, but that didn’t stop the network from continuing to undermine their own reporting.
The backlash to this story reminds me of the “shithole countries” comments. Not in substance, but in the fact it was so consistent with his past comments that the report was immediately seen as believable by the public. Another similarity between “shithole countries” and this denigration of veterans is that each highlighted broader character flaws of Trump. “Shithole countries” brought more attention to his racism, and this new report spotlights his selfishness and disdain for public service.
I say “public” service instead of military service because his disrespect isn’t exclusive—it’s representative of how he feels about service generally. Trump falsely believes career officials who dedicate their lives to public service are of lesser intelligence because their primary motivation isn’t personal profit. Trump is incapable of grasping the idea that any human being would be willing to fight for a cause greater than themselves, and when someone does, he thinks they are stupid, or in his reported words, “suckers.”
It’s this thinking that led Trump to assume Robert Mueller couldn’t possibly have been acting in service of his country when he was leading the Russia investigation. It’s why Trump so viscerally attacked people like Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. Trump projects his amorality onto others and assumes that everyone else must be acting in self-interest and not for something greater. And when he comes across those who truly fight for something greater, he thinks of them as lesser. It’s why he has a unique hatred for people like John McCain or Barack Obama, true public servants.
During a press conference this week, President Trump was asked whether he regrets saying John McCain wasn’t a war hero in 2016, a moment in which Trump also called McCain a loser. Trump responded by saying he was never a fan of McCain and disagreed with him on a lot of things, but time has proven him right. So, Trump does not regret it.
What made all this worse is that Trump’s enablers had nothing to say about this. While Trump officials denied the story, Republican lawmakers were either completely silent or in the case or Rep. Jim Jordan, calling it “fake news.” People often incorrectly say that those who support Trump are abandoning their principles. The truth is that they clearly never had any principles to begin with.
Senator Lindsey Graham is the personification of this. Graham virtue-signaled and embraced everything McCain stood for while he was alive and the star of the GOP. As he, once again, doesn’t come to the defense of his fallen best friend, it’s now clear that Graham was only pretending to have character because it was trendy at the time. Graham has said it himself that he supports Trump to stay relevant.
When Trump won, he gave apparent permission to people to abandon their false decency and embrace what they really were. The Republicans who stood against him proved they weren’t pretending to have integrity. Those who back Trump proved they were always just power-hungry frauds.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden delivered a powerful response to Trump’s reported denigrating comments about veterans and war dead. After his speech, Biden asked the journalists in the audience a rhetorical question of how they would feel hearing this if they had lost someone who served. Biden then called the remarks deplorable, stating: “The words of a President matter, even a lousy President.”
NBC’s Chuck Todd accurately said that Biden “eviscerated” Trump with a “brutal” takedown in that press conference. The unscripted Q&A portions of press conferences highlight the character of Trump and Biden. Unlike Trump, when the Q&A triggers him to go off the rails into unhinged depravity, Biden’s answers veer in the opposite direction. Empathy, candidness. Real human moments. Speaking of that, let’s talk about what happened at the first press conference of the week.
On Monday, President Trump defended Kyle Rittenhouse, who killed two protestors in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Trump weighed in, as the investigation is still ongoing, and framed it as an act of self-defense. Not really sure how else to frame this: the President of the United States essentially endorsed a vigilante killing.
If Kyle Rittenhouse was a Democrat killing two Trump supporters, the entire right-wing ecosystem would’ve come down hard on Biden to force a condemnation even though he always condemns violence. Trump, who incites violence, doesn’t get that treatment. The double standard is astonishing.
The idea that Biden has to somehow answer for violence that he consistently condemns and Trump doesn’t have to answer for violence that he incites is asinine. Fortunately, all the polling this week indicated that the American people aren’t buying Trump’s rhetoric and see Biden as better on issues ranging from crime to racial justice. Biden’s remarks on Monday really reflected that: “These are not images of some imagined Joe Biden America in the future. These are images of Donald Trump’s America, today.”
Biden went further and said that “Trump can’t stop the violence because for years he’s fomented it… Does anyone believe there will be less violence in America if Trump is re-elected?” In that speech, Biden simultaneously condemned the violence while sympathizing with peaceful protestors and calling for racial justice. He also delivered a concise, direct response to Trump’s false claims of this being “Biden’s America.”
President Trump’s law and order message is faltering under the weight of a pandemic, recession, and the issue of systemic racism. The fact he based the entire RNC around this message was a giant miscalculation.
When it comes to coronavirus, this week, President Trump continued to promise that a vaccine may even come before November 3rd. This raised a lot of alarms that perhaps he is pushing the FDA to approve a vaccine prematurely for political purposes. Unfortunately, this wasn’t even the most improper thing he did in relation to coronavirus this week.
President Trump retweeted a tweet that alleged only 6% of COVID-19 deaths are due to COVID-19. Essentially, the argument is that anyone who had another underlying condition when they died of COVID-19 doesn’t count as a COVID-19 death. It’s delusional. They would’ve been alive if they didn’t get COVID-19. That was the cause of their death…
Another self-inflicted scandal from President Trump came in the form of him telling North Carolina voters to vote twice. You read that right. The President who lies about a massive voter fraud conspiracy is openly telling his voters to commit voter fraud. You can’t make this up. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany tried to spin this as Trump telling voters to check if their vote was counted, but it was pointed out in the briefing room that many states won’t count mail-in votes before election day so that point is void.
During a press conference on Friday, President Trump falsely accused Biden of appeasing domestic terrorists after Trump himself said there were “very fine people” on both sides at the neo-Nazi rally in 2017 and said QAnon (who the FBI sees as a domestic terror threat) “loves our country” just two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Politico reported on draft DHS docs that indicated white supremacists pose the greatest domestic terror threat to the US, greater than foreign terror groups. None of the drafts Politico reviewed referred to a threat from Antifa, and yet, all Trump talks about is Antifa. In that same briefing, there was another notable moment regarding threats to America.
When asked about Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s poisoning, Trump falsely said there is no proof that it was Russia and then said that reporters should talk more about China because they’re the bigger threat. Putin’s Spokesman Dmitry Peskov couldn’t have done a better job running defense for Putin.
On top of this, this week we learned that in July, DHS withheld an intelligence bulletin warning of a Russian plot to spread misinformation about Biden’s mental health. We then learned that Russia has been pushing false voter fraud claims. Trump is always on message with Russia. Always.
I want to close this week’s Unpresidented by highlighting the stakes. I’ve seen some peers talk about how they plan to vote third party. If you fit into that mold, please remember Jill Stein’s vote count was larger than Trump’s margin of victory in the states that won him the election.
Stein votes—Trump margin:
- Michigan: 51,463—10,704
- Pennsylvania: 49,678—46,765
- Wisconsin: 31,006—22,177
Think before voting.Looking to make a difference? Consider signing one of these sponsored petitions:
A Stark Contrast
Day 1,320: Monday, August 31
Monday’s top stories:
- The Daily Beast: Trump Defends Teen Vigilante Kyle Rittenhouse Charged With Murdering Kenosha Protesters
- CNN: Biden condemns violence and asks if Americans ‘really feel safe under Donald Trump’
- NBC News: ‘Fanning the flames of hate’: Biden slams Trump for ‘encouraging violence’ in Portland
- CNN: Portland protest shooting death: Here’s what we know
- The New York Times: Justice Dept. Never Fully Examined Trump’s Ties to Russia, Ex-Officials Say
- The Washington Post: New Trump pandemic adviser pushes controversial ‘herd immunity’ strategy, worrying public health officials
- CNBC: White House suppressed coronavirus reports and downplayed virus, House panel says
- Axios: Trump offered FBI director job to John Kelly, asked for loyalty
- NPR: Officials Identify Slain Portland Trump Supporter, President Threatens Intervention
- CNN: ‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman dies at 43
- CNN: Appeals court denies Michael Flynn and Justice Department’s effort to end his case
- ABC News: Barr’s removal of career national security official, weeks before election, raises concerns
- Vox: Trump’s intelligence chief suspends in-person election security briefings
- CNN: Portland mayor excoriates Trump: ‘It’s you who have created the hate’
- The Daily Beast: Team Trump Knowingly Taking Donations From Known Neo-Nazi
- Axios: Poll: Trump trails Biden among active-duty troops
- Vox: Poll: Biden’s approval rating got a convention bounce. Trump’s didn’t.
- Axios: Leaked McGahn memo reveals alarms about Kushner’s top-secret security clearance
- CNN: Twitter removes QAnon supporter’s false claim about coronavirus death statistics that Trump had retweeted
- Rantt Media: The RNC Was An Avalanche Of Corrupt Hatch Act Violations
- Rantt Media: If You Watched The RNC, You Saw An Alternate Reality Built On Lies
Trump Kenosha Visit
Day 1,321: Tuesday, September 1
Trump did a photo-op in front of a Kenosha business with its owner. “A day earlier would have saved his store,” said Trump.
But it wasn’t the real owner, who had refused to join the photo-op. So Trump just pretended a prior owner was still in charge. https://t.co/JLXfDmhLSz pic.twitter.com/wddktkxXJl
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) September 2, 2020
Tuesday’s top stories:
- The New York Times: As Trump Visits Kenosha, Hundreds Gather Where Jacob Blake Was Shot
- CNN: Biden campaign is expected to announce it raised more than $310 million in August
- CNN: Pence was on standby to ‘take over’ during Trump’s unannounced Walter Reed visit, new book reports
- The Guardian: Trump denies ‘series of mini-strokes’ after book reports mystery hospital visit
- NPR: Postal Service Watchdog Outlines ‘Concerns’ Surrounding Election Readiness
- Los Angeles Times: Fatal shooting of Black man by L.A. sheriff’s deputies sparks protests, questions
- The Hill: Trump administration issues sweeping eviction ban
- Bloomberg: Trump Relaxes Limits on Toxic Waste from Coal Power Plants
- The Washington Post: U.S. says it won’t join WHO-linked effort to develop, distribute coronavirus vaccine
- Business Insider: Trump compared police who shoot people to golf players who mess up their shots, the night before visiting the aftermath of the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha
- ABC News: Mnuchin testifies as Senate GOP poised to offer slimmer COVID-19 relief bill
- NBC News: Congressional investigation finds over $1 billion in PPP fraud
- Politico: Trump alleges Biden controlled by people in ‘dark shadows’
- NBC News: Court temporarily blocks New York prosecutor from obtaining Trump tax returns
- FiveThirtyEight: Today’s Elections In Massachusetts Are Another Big Test For The Progressive Movement
- Axios: Twitter labels Trump campaign tweet “manipulated media” for misleading edit of Biden speech
- Reuters: Marches and boycotts mark start of school year in Belarus
- The Daily Beast: The New Uighurs? Mongolians Protest as China Moves to Erase Local Cultur
Trump Encourages Voter Fraud As His Campaign Polling Sinks
Day 1,322: Wednesday, September 2
Trump suggests his supporters should commit electoral fraud by trying to vote twice pic.twitter.com/vRq0QuZJ57
— The Independent (@Independent) September 3, 2020
Wednesday’s top stories:
- NBC News: Trump encourages North Carolina residents to vote twice to test mail-in system
- Los Angeles Times: Trump’s Kenosha visit exposes U.S. divides over race and policing ahead of November vote
- NBC News: Weeks after Sturgis motorcycle rally, first COVID-19 death reported
- The Washington Post: The latest polling evidence suggests Trump’s convention flopped
- NBC News: Barr denies systemic racism in police shootings of Black men
- HuffPost: Attorney General William Barr Spreads Mail-In Voting Conspiracies
- The Washington Post: Justice Department zeroing in on longtime GOP fundraiser Elliott Broidy
- ABC News: DHS withheld July intelligence bulletin calling out Russian attack on Biden’s mental health
- Vox: Ed Markey wins his Senate primary — fending off a challenge from Joe Kennedy
- NBC News: Convalescent plasma not recommended to treat COVID-19, government panel says
- McClatchy DC: ‘Urgent’ request sent to states in push for coronavirus vaccine delivery by Nov. 1
- CNN: ‘I support Joe Biden’s pro-science agenda’: 81 Nobel laureates endorse Biden for president
- NPR: U.S. To Owe More Than The Size Of Its Economy For The 1st Time In 75 Years
- NPR: FEMA Says It Will Stop Paying For Cloth Face Masks For Schools
- NBC News: University of California must stop considering ACT, SAT in admissions, judge rules
- Vanity Fair: Surprise: Trump’s Top Trade Adviser Is Under Investigation for Verbally Abusing Employees and Striking Sketchy Coronavirus Deals
- CNN: Novichok nerve agent used in Alexey Navalny poisoning, says German government
- NPR: Majority Of Hurricane Laura Deaths Linked To Improper Use Of Portable Generators
- The Washington Post: Melania Trump used private email accounts while in the White House, says former colleague and friend
- Reuters: No bounce in support for Trump as Americans see pandemic, not crime, as top issue: Reuters/Ipsos poll
- People: Dwayne Johnson, His Wife and Daughters, 4 and 2, Test Positive for COVID-19: ‘A Real Kick in the Gut’
- Rantt Media: Meet Malcolm Kenyatta: Rising Star In The Democratic Party
- Rantt Media: The Stock Market Is Not The Economy
“Losers” And “Suckers”
Day 1,323: Thursday, September 3
Thursday’s top stories:
- The Atlantic: Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’
- NBC News: Biden says he spoke with Jacob Blake, praises family’s ‘resilience and optimism’ during Kenosha visit
- CNN: Intelligence bulletin warns Russia amplifying false claims mail-in voting will lead to widespread fraud
- Business Insider: The Justice Department is reportedly preparing to file antitrust charges against Google
- Bloomberg: Biden Holds Lead Over Trump as Conventions Fail to Reshape Polls
- USA TODAY: A Black man pinned to the ground by NY police died two months before George Floyd
- NBC News: 7 officers in Rochester, New York, suspended in case of death of Daniel Prude
- Vox: These 4 Midwestern states are seeing worrying Covid-19 spikes
- CNN: CDC official affirms coronavirus deaths really are coronavirus deaths
- The Washington Post: ‘He better have an army’: Andrew Cuomo knocks Trump after threat to defund ‘lawless’ cities like New York
- Axios: America’s progress against the coronavirus has stalled
- ABC News: Colleges ask students to leave campus amid COVID-19 outbreaks, but experts advise the opposite
- NBC News: Twitter, Facebook slap warning labels on Trump’s posts on voting twice
- Reuters: Trump campaign sues Democratic Montana governor to limit mail-in voting
- NBC News: Iowa Sen. Ernst suggest COVID-19 deaths inflated, later issues clarification
- Detroit Free Press: Former Michigan governor Rick Snyder: I am a Republican vote for Biden
- CNBC: Facebook to ban political ads in week before presidential election
- CNN: Judge keeps Kanye West off Virginia ballot, saying oaths ‘obtained by improper, fraudulent and/or misleading means’
- CNBC: Judge orders Trump Organization to court for fight over NY attorney general subpoenas eyeing asset values
- Politico: Pelosi and Mnuchin agree on plan to avoid government shutdown
Biden Strikes Back Amid Trump Backlash
Day 1,324: Friday, September 4
Joe Biden delivers an emotional response to Trump’s denigrating comments about McCain and veterans reported in The Atlantic.
This clip is one of the clearest displays of the contrasts in character and empathy between Trump and Biden. pic.twitter.com/u28KniKs0m
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) September 4, 2020
Friday’s top stories:
- Politico: ‘Absolutely damnable’: Biden rips Trump over reports he called fallen troops ‘losers’
- NPR: Trump Faces Fallout From Report He Calls Military ‘Losers’ And ‘Suckers’
- Rantt Media: Trump’s Military Scorn Spotlight’s GOP’s Fake Patriotism
- CNN: Trump angrily denies report that he denigrated US service members
- Business Insider: Trump falsely claimed he never called John McCain a ‘loser.’ Just check his Twitter account.
- CNN: Trump declines to condemn Russia over Navalny poisoning
- Politico: DHS draft document: White supremacists are greatest terror threat
- CNN: Suspect in fatal Portland shooting of right-wing activist killed during attempted arrest, US Marshals say
- CNN: Trump puts pressure on FDA for coronavirus silver bullet ahead of Election Day
- The Hill: Biden leads Trump on law and order, coronavirus: poll
- NPR: Another Holiday Weekend, Another Coronavirus Surge? Keep An Eye On Tourist Hot Spots
- NBC News: Trump doubles down on encouraging supporters to vote twice, which is illegal
- Politico: The U.S. vs. the world: How major nations are recovering from coronavirus
- CNN: Trump’s false claims on mail-in voting do more to harm elections than threat of fraud, experts say
- CNN: About 93% of racial justice protests in the US have been peaceful, a new report finds
- USA TODAY: Mississippi AG drops case against Curtis Flowers, a Black man who was tried 6 times for same crime
- NBC News: Congresswoman blocked from touring mail facility by Postal Service police
- Politico: Kanye spends nearly $6 million on presidential campaign
- AP: Judge bars Kanye West from appearing on Arizona’s ballot
- Axios: Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook will move to deter “civil unrest” after election
- National Geographic: Astronomers spot the biggest, strangest black hole collision ever found