A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 189th Unpresidented Week As POTUS

President Trump's denigration of military service members and war dead is a reflection of his disdain for the idea of public service itself.
President Donald Trump speaks to military personnel and their families at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump speaks to military personnel and their families at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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.

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

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.

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A Stark Contrast

Day 1,320: Monday, August 31

President Donald Trump (AP) and Former Vice President Joe Biden (Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ/Creative Commons)

President Donald Trump (AP) and Former Vice President Joe Biden (Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ/Creative Commons)

Monday’s top stories:

Trump Kenosha Visit

Day 1,321: Tuesday, September 1

Tuesday’s top stories:

Trump Encourages Voter Fraud As His Campaign Polling Sinks

Day 1,322: Wednesday, September 2

Wednesday’s top stories:

“Losers” And “Suckers”

Day 1,323: Thursday, September 3

Veterans listen as President Donald Trump speaks before signing an Executive Order at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Thursday, April 27, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Veterans listen as President Donald Trump speaks before signing an Executive Order at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Thursday, April 27, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Thursday’s top stories:

Biden Strikes Back Amid Trump Backlash

Day 1,324: Friday, September 4

Friday’s top stories:

Rantt Media and ZipRecruiter

Unpresidented // Donald Trump / Government / Military / Veterans