A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 185th 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 185.
On Saturday, President Trump stood in front of a podium in his Bedminster golf club. Holding this “briefing” there within itself was just as inappropriate as it was the night before. In the audience were members of the media who were hastily assembled and a crowd of club members who pay hundreds of thousands annually to attend this club. It appears access to the President of the United States came with their membership. You can’t be more disconnected from the struggle of Americans than this visual.
It was with this live backdrop of privileged corruption and emoluments clause violations that President Trump signed his executive actions on coronavirus, after which he gave the presidential pens to his aide to hand out to his golf club members. What made this worse was the unconstitutionality of the actions and the fact that they did not do what they alleged to do. Hovering over these actions was the unspoken truth that this was the White House strategy all along. Trump deliberately sabotaged coronavirus relief negotiations so he could take these unconstitutional executive actions and dare Democrats to challenge them so he could falsely claim they oppose coronavirus relief.
Before we talk about these flimsy executive actions, I keep calling them “actions” because only one was an order and the other three were memorandums with less enforcement authority, let’s talk about how we got here. In his Bedminster “briefing,” President Trump said that Democrats were unwilling to negotiate and opposed helping the American people when that is the exact opposite of reality.
In May, Democrats passed the $3 trillion Heroes Act that addressed many of the problems facing Americans right now including an extension on the $600 weekly unemployment benefits, an extension of the federal moratorium on evictions, an increase in student loan debt relief, an increase of funding for states, etc. Going into negotiations in July, Republicans only proposed a $1 trillion bill that cut unemployment benefits to $200 a week and didn’t include much of the relief Democrats were seeking.
Republicans waited until late July to even open up talks on these proposals and never even put the Heroes act up for a vote in the Senate. This week, negotiations between Democrats, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY), and the White House, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, heated up. President Trump stayed out of the negotiations but it was clear he was driving the strategy of Mnuchin and Meadows. Pelosi and Schumer dropped their ask by $1 trillion dollars and the White House outright rejected any efforts to compromise while teasing upcoming executive actions. As talks fell apart on Friday, it became clear they never wanted a deal in the first place.
On Saturday, President Trump swept in to create the false appearance he was the hero. The fact of the matter is that many of these executive actions might get hung up in the courts to begin with, and on their face they weren’t very effective. Let’s dive into these smoke and mirror actions, shall we?
Executive memo on unemployment benefits: President Trump signed an executive memorandum that cut unemployment benefits from $600 a month to $400 by pulling money from disaster aid. Congress has the power of the purse so this reallocation of funds sets Trump up for legal challenges. There’s also a catch: Trump required that states have to agree to pay 25% of the benefits in order for any of their residents to receive the funds. The problem is, states are in dire financial positions. Trump is simultaneously opposing Democratic calls to give coronavirus aid money to states while asking states to cover 25% of these costs.
Aside from the fact this executive action is widely seen as unconstitutional, Americans know Democrats fought to continue the $600 a week benefits. Trump cut that to $400. Cutting unemployed Americans’ income by $800 a month in the middle of a pandemic he mishandled doesn’t look as good as Trump thinks it does. Over 30 million Americans are still waiting to receive enhanced unemployment benefits after they expired at the end of July. This executive action does not provide all of them with that.
Executive order on evictions: This was the only executive action President Trump took that was an executive order. While Trump tried to make this appear as if it extended the federal moratorium on evictions and gave rental assistance to renters, it did neither. All it did was direct federal agencies to consider whether it was necessary to further halt evictions. Given the fact up to 40 million Americans could face eviction by October, it’s clearly necessary.
Executive memo on the payroll tax cut: President Trump signed a payroll tax cut that was really a deferment that he promised would be a permanently cut if he’s re-elected. So, in other words, President Trump vowed to permanently cut social security and medicare if he’s re-elected.
Executive memo on student loan relief: President Trump extended the pause on interest and payments for student loans until the end of the year. This does not go as far as the Democratic Heroes Act which extends student loan payment pauses for an additional year and offers $10,000 in debt forgiveness.
Throughout the briefing ahead of the signing, President Trump continued to call these actions “bills,” which further highlighted his authoritarian belief that he can legislate without Congress. These actions do not help the American people in the way a robust piece of legislation coming out of Congress would. People from both sides of the aisle spoke out, aside from Trump sycophants of course.
Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska called the actions, “unconstitutional slop.” Speaker Pelosi echoed Sasse’s remarks and went further, stating on CNN: “My constitutional advisers tell me they’re absurdly unconstitutional… What the president proposed yesterday at his country club, surrounded by his people that must spend thousands of dollars to join, is something that won’t even work.” So far, Democrats have not indicated they are taking Trump’s bait of a lawsuit.
In 2014, after President Obama signed his DACA executive order, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said: “Imposing his will unilaterally may seem tempting. It may serve him politically in the short term. But he knows it will make an already broken system even more broken.” Of course, in typical hypocritical fashion, McConnell said he supports President Trump’s executive actions on coronavirus.
Republicans are “constitutional conservatives” until a Republican President violates the Constitution. Republicans are “fiscally conservative” when it comes to the social safety net but carefree when they’re cutting taxes for the rich. The modern GOP are a bunch of hypocrites.
So those are the actions we are left with for now. Of course, negotiations are far from over because Republicans will have no choice but to come back to the table given the dire situation we’re in. Watching Trump’s White House and Republicans play politics with this crucial round of coronavirus relief after they botched the response to the pandemic that got us here in the first place is the height of depravity. It will surely continue to play out in the coming weeks, at the expense of Americans in need.
In other news this week, there was a massive development. On Monday, we learned that Manhattan DA Cy Vance’s probe is much broader than was publicly known. New court filings indicated that they are probing alleged fraud in the Trump Organization. Remember, Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen testified that Trump inflated his assets to insurance companies and lenders and Cohen also alleged Trump may have committed tax fraud. Later in the week, we learned that Vance already subpoenaed Trump’s major lender Deutsche Bank last year and they cooperated.
Aside from him losing the election, the best hope for Trump accountability comes from New York prosecutors. At one of his briefings this week, President Trump was asked about Vance’s criminal probe and Trump falsely called it a “continuation of the witch hunt” and tied to the Mueller probe. The evidence is actually quite substantial and goes beyond Cohen’s testimony.
Another huge development this week was the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s (ODNI) statement about foreign election interference. The statement claimed China and Iran want Trump to lose while Russia wants Trump to win. The wording painted a false equivalence and did not properly weigh the threats. Let’s make this clear: There is no equivalence between Russian active measures—boosting Trump and targeting Biden while actively being aided by Trump, Republican lawmakers, and right-wing media—and anything Iran or China are considering doing. Full stop.
After this statement, the New York Times published the most in-depth depiction of President Trump’s degradation of the Intelligence Comunity thus far. From former Acting DNI Maguire’s watering down of last year’s National Intelligence Estimate’s conclusion that Russia favored Trump to the installment of Trump stooge Ratcliffe to lead ODNI, the politicization of the IC around one man’s ego has been dangerous.
When asked about the ODNI’s statement about how Russia is helping him, President Trump said at one of his briefings that Russia doesn’t want him to win. The reporter pushed back saying the Intelligence Community says otherwise, and Trump said he doesn’t care what anyone says. Trump openly defended Russia again.
Speaking of this, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. One of the bigger moments was when Yates corrected Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) claim that former Special Counsel Robert Mueller found “no evidence” of a criminal conspiracy between Russia and Trump. That is false. Yates said Mueller did not find *enough* evidence to charge a conspiracy. This was partially due to obstruction. Mueller laid out 100+ pages of Trump team-Russia contacts.
Sally Yates also made the clarification to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) that the FISA warrant was placed on Carter Page as he was a former member of the Trump campaign. We’ve all known this but it’s great to hear her tell them directly. The Trump Campaign was not spied on.
Meanwhile, President Trump’s executive actions weren’t the only acts that exuded desperation. A new attack that Trump launched on devout catholic Joe Biden was that he will “hurt” god and the bible if he’s elected and that Biden is against god, guns, and energy. Trump also continued his lies about mail-in voter fraud. But he then backtracked slightly, saying mail-in voting was ok in Florida. Trump was trying to run cleanup after Republicans likely raised alarms that he’s suppressing his own vote by attacking mail-in voting, the main method of voting for Republican seniors in Florida.
In a more robust effort to target mail-in voting, the Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy continued to erode the US Postal Service (USPS) with mass layoffs. President Trump keeps saying that the USPS won’t be prepared for mail-in voting while his appointee systemically erodes the USPS’s ability to be prepared for mail-in voting. It’s very transparent what he’s doing here.
Other signs of desperation came from strange efforts to boost Kanye West’s candidacy (still a wild phrase of words to write). Fresh off of a mental breakdown, West is continuing his campaign even though he can’t get on the ballot in multiple states due to faulty signatures, this time targeting Wisconsin. We learned that GOP folks are backing Kanye behind the scenes right now and trying to get him on the ballot in several states. It’s very stupid and insulting to the Black community’s intelligence. We will not vote for that man.
This delusional rhetoric was also reflected in Trump’s now-infamous interview with Axios’ Jonathan Swan where he downplayed coronavirus deaths. President Trump is clearly an egomaniac unwilling to accept any reality that reflects negatively on him, even when it comes to the deaths of Americans. Aside from his egomania, his dishonesty, his incompetence, his bigotry, his corruption, and his authoritarianism—Trump’s indifference to the mass death of Americans is, within itself, disqualifying for holding any elected office. He genuinely does not care about anyone but himself.
No rational person can watch Trump’s interview with Jonathan Swan and not think Trump is dangerously unfit to lead in any capacity. Unfortunately, a lack of rationality is the other pandemic America is facing right now.
Let’s dive into another Unpresidented week.Looking to make a difference? Consider signing one of these sponsored petitions:
Trump Probed For Criminal Fraud
Day 1,292: Monday, August 3
Monday’s top stories:
- Axios: Filing suggests Manhattan district attorney is investigating Trump for possible fraud
- CNBC: Democrats and Trump officials leave ‘productive’ meeting, but still don’t have a coronavirus relief deal
- The Washington Post: Trump says he’s examining executive orders on evictions, payroll taxes if he can’t reach deal with Democrats
- CNN: Trump criticizes Birx for the first time after she issues coronavirus warnings
- Politico: Trump skirts Senate to install nominee under fire for Islamaphobic tweets in Pentagon post
- CNN: Coronavirus is still spreading uncontrolled and one doctor says it’s time for stricter measures
- AP: Isaias regains hurricane strength heading for Carolinas
- CNN: Trump continues to lose ground in 2020 election as nation grapples with coronavirus
- Axios: Microsoft moves ahead with talks to buy TikTok after consulting Trump
- Reuters: Trump vows to sue Nevada to block universal mail-in ballots
- Axios: House Democrats call postmaster general to testify on USPS changes under Trump
- CNN: Obama issues first 2020 endorsements: ‘Our country’s future hangs on this election’
- CNN: Another fake Pelosi video goes viral on Facebook
- Reuters: North Korea has ‘probably’ developed nuclear devices to fit ballistic missiles, U.N. report says
- The Guardian: US navy condemns demo video with dogs attacking man in Kaepernick shirt
- Axios: More athletes opt out as U.S. struggles with coronavirus
- BBC News: Data leak reveals Iran cover-up of Covid-19 deaths
The Axios Interview
Day 1,293: Tuesday, August 4
Tuesday’s top stories:
- The Daily Beast: Trump Reveals Self-Delusion Over COVID Statistics in Mind-Blowing Argument With Axios
- The Washington Post: ‘I don’t know John Lewis’: Trump bashes deceased Civil Rights leader for skipping his inauguration
- NBC News: Massive warehouse explosion rocks Beirut, causing injuries and widespread damage
- Al Jazeera: ‘I can’t believe I’m alive’: Survivors recount Beirut explosion
- CBS News: Trump describes Lebanon explosions as “attack,” though cause is not yet known
- Politico: Kobach and Clay go down: Takeaways from a big primary night
- NPR: Census Cuts All Counting Efforts Short By A Month
- CNN: Covid-19 is more widespread than ever in the US but there are some states doing things right
- MartketWatch: White House, Democrats agree to try to reach coronavirus-aid deal by week’s end
- Forbes: McConnell: ‘I’m Prepared To Support’ A Coronavirus Stimulus Bill That Includes $600 Unemployment Checks
- CNN: Isaias spawns tornadoes then heads through Northeast bringing heavy rain
- The New York Times: Live 2020 Election Updates: Kris Kobach and Rashida Tlaib Face Tough Primary Fights
- CBS News: Strongest winds since Superstorm Sandy could bring widespread power outages to Northeast
- The Washington Post: Two Black moms took their kids to the Mall. Secret Service officers confronted them with guns, they said.
- Sun Sentinel: Trump trashed mail voting for months. He now says it’s great for Florida.
- NBC News: Expert: U.S. has 2 weeks to get it together to avoid Election Day mess
- CNBC: Novavax’s coronavirus vaccine generates promising immune response in early trial, data shows
- Rantt Media: QAnon Overlooks Trump’s Ties To Epstein
- CNN: Fact check: Another Trump briefing, more Trump falsehoods on coronavirus and mail-in voting
- HuffPost: Mary Trump Has Sold More Books Than ‘Art Of The Deal’ Sold In 29 Years
- NBC News: Trump or Biden? Voters in North Carolina could pick as soon as next month
- NBC News: Republicans fear Kobach primary win in Kansas could jeopardize Senate GOP control
The Deutsche Bank Subpeona
Day 1,294: Wednesday, August 5
Wednesday’s top stories:
- The New York Times: Trump’s Bank Was Subpoenaed by N.Y. Prosecutors in Criminal Inquiry
- CNN: Sally Yates defends FBI investigation into Flynn, calls Barr move to drop charges ‘highly irregular’
- The Hill: Negotiators remain far apart on coronavirus deal as deadline looms
- USA TODAY: Defense Secretary Esper says Beirut blast probably an accident, breaking with Trump
- CNN: US defense officials contradict Trump: No indication yet of attack in Beirut
- BBC News: Rescue workers search rubble after deadly Beirut blast
- The Washington Post: Facebook, Twitter penalize Trump for posts containing coronavirus misinformation
- NPR: Attacking Vote-By-Mail Was Hurting Trump In Fla., Experts Say. So He Changed Course
- Reuters: Global coronavirus deaths exceed 700,000, one person dies every 15 seconds on average
- NBC News: Barr’s probe into Russia investigation may be nearing conclusion
- CNN: Second grader tests positive for coronavirus after attending the first day of school in Georgia
- CBS News: More than 500 inmates at Arizona prison test positive for COVID-19, according to corrections officials
- The Daily Beast: Iowa Governor Rescinds State Ban on Felon Voting Rights
- CNN: After killing 5 across the East Coast, Isaias has made its way to Canada
- CNN: Kodak is reportedly under SEC investigation after its stock price exploded more than 2,757%
- CBS News: Biden campaign announces largest ad buy ever by a presidential candidate
- Vox: Missouri approves Medicaid expansion ballot initiative, extending coverage to 200,000 people
- CNN: FBI says audit found only minor errors in FISA warrants
- The New York Times: Hiroshima 75th Anniversary: Preserving Survivors’ Message of Peace
- CNN: Republican operatives are helping Kanye West get on general election ballots
- Rantt Media: How Clickbait Created The Incel Industrial Complex And Monetized Misery
The NRA Faces Accountability
Day 1,295: Thursday, August 6
Thursday’s top stories:
- NBC News: N.Y. attorney general files lawsuit that seeks to dissolve the NRA
- The Washington Post: White House, Democrats meet on coronavirus relief plan after days of acrimony
- Reuters: As U.S. Congress wrangles over aid, millions of renters get desperate
- CNN: White House chief of staff floats executive action on unemployment and evictions if Congress can’t strike deal
- CNN: Trump advisers hesitated to give military options and warned adversaries over fears he might start a war
- CNN: The world may never eradicate coronavirus, but it can get it under control, Fauci says
- Axios: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive for coronavirus ahead of Trump visit
- CNN: Biden campaign responds to Trump’s ‘hurt God’ attack: ‘Biden’s faith is at the core of who he is’
- AP: Lebanon probes blast amid rising anger, calls for change
- CNN: How tons of potentially explosive cargo were stranded at Beirut port
- NBC News: Trump says, without evidence, vaccine could be ready by Election Day
- The Washington Post: Georgia teens shared photos of maskless students in crowded hallways. Now they’re suspended.
- Los Angeles Times: Party houses defying COVID-19 orders may have utilities shut off, mayor says
- HuffPost: Over 100 Mississippi Students Forced To Quarantine After Returning To School
- CNBC: Former clients of acting Homeland Security chief Chad Wolf received millions in department contracts
- CNN: Trump’s mail-in voting falsehoods are part of a wide campaign to discredit the election
- Politico: Rep. Rodney Davis diagnosed with Covid days after warning lawmakers about safety
- BBC News: Saudi crown prince accused of Canada murder plot
- BuzzFeed News: Facebook Employees Ask Zuckerberg What Would Happen If Trump Used Their Platform To Dispute Election Results
- Axios: Judge dismisses House GOP lawsuit against Pelosi’s proxy voting system
- Politico: DOJ moves to seize property from Ukrainian oligarch linked to Rudy Giuliani
- CBS News: 66 players opt out of NFL season due to the coronavirus pandemic
- The Boston Globe: New poll finds a close Senate race in Maine, with Susan Collins trailing her Democratic challenger
- The Daily Beast: Presidential Debate Commission Denies Trump Campaign Request for Fourth Debate
- Forbes: Exclusive: Kanye West Indicates That His Spoiler Campaign Is Indeed Designed To Hurt Biden
- People: Alyssa Milano Tests Positive for COVID-19 Antibodies After 3 Negative Results: ‘I Thought I Was Dying’
- Rantt Media: The Dark Money That Fuels Radical Right Ideology
Trump Issues Unconstitutional, Flimsy Executive Actions
Day 1,296: Friday, August 7 – Saturday, August 8
Trump signs the executive orders and then gives away pens to his paying customers pic.twitter.com/EotZWalQ01
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 8, 2020
- The Washington Post: Coronavirus relief package talks stall; Trump might use executive actions to bypass congress
- CNN: Breaking down the executive actions Trump signed on coronavirus relief
- Axios: Counterintelligence chief: Russia aiming to “denigrate” Biden ahead of election
- The Washington Post: Postal Service overhauls leadership as Democrats press for investigation of mail delays
- The New York Times: Unwanted Truths: Inside Trump’s Battles With U.S. Intelligence Agencies
- CNN: House can subpoena Don McGahn to testify, appeals court rules
- Axios: Jobless claims show unemployment shifting, not falling
- CNBC: Dr. Anthony Fauci says chance of coronavirus vaccine being highly effective is ‘not great’
- CNN: Trump issues orders banning TikTok and WeChat from operating in 45 days if they are not sold by Chinese parent companies
- NPR: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine Tests Positive, Then Negative For COVID-19
- NPR: Coronavirus Cases Are Surging. The Contact Tracing Workforce Is Not
- BBC News: Anti-government protests break out in Beirut
- The Daily Beast: Mississippi Teacher With Virus Symptoms Dies During First Week of School
- NBC News: Marquita Bradshaw scores upset win in Tennessee Democratic Senate primary
- Axios: Media warned to watch stereotypes when covering Biden’s female running mate
- NPR: With Focus On Redistricting, Democrats Place New Emphasis On Statehouses
- The Daily Beast: Judge Rules That Trump Rape Accuser E. Jean Carroll Can Go Ahead With Defamation Suit
- Politico: Top GOP lawmaker calls on Falwell to resign as Liberty University president
- BuzzFeed News: Jerry Falwell Jr. Is Stepping Back From Liberty University After A Photo Of Him With His Pants Unzipped
- CNN: India has surpassed 2 million cases of Covid-19
- Rantt Media: How Private Prisons Corrupt US Justice And Immigration Systems
- Chicago Sun-Times: Kanye West poised to be bounced from Illinois presidential ballot: Not enough valid signatures