A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 171st 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 171.
This week, we learned more damaging information about the early COVID-19 warnings President Trump ignored. The Washington Post reported that there were over a dozen mentions of the coronavirus threat in Trump’s presidential daily briefings throughout January and February. We already knew coronavirus was mentioned in his briefings, but we did not know exactly how many times he was warned. Although Trump denies this reporting, there were multiple other officials including Alex Azar and Peter Navarro who alerted Trump in January.
The bottom line is this: President Trump knew about the threat of coronavirus in January. President Trump lied and downplayed it for months. President Trump didn’t act until the markets crashed. It doesn’t matter what side of the political spectrum you’re on – a president who doesn’t care about solving problems and doesn’t read his briefings is unfit to lead. Trump is incurious and only cares about up-keeping the appearance of success. That was proven in new reporting and further proven by his actions this week.
President Trump continued to treat coronavirus like a public relations problem rather than a public health crisis. Trump’s focus this week was to leave DisinfectGate behind him and reset his messaging strategy. The problem is, President Trump is his own worst enemy. In the face of damaging internal and public polling indicating people do not trust Trump and his briefings are hurting him politically, Trump simply couldn’t help but put himself in front of a camera.
After canceling and rescheduling his propaganda briefing on Monday, President Trump went forward with it in the Rose Garden. Trump spoke with the confidence of a man who hadn’t just suggested people inject disinfectant into their bodies to treat COVID-19. When President Trump was asked about whether we will have testing up to 5 million a day in order to reopen, Trump went into a rant about how incredible our testing is capacity is. What Trump will never grasp is that questions about the challenges we face are not attacks on him. Trump went on to say that last month the media talked about ventilators and now it’s testing, as if we are just looking for problems to attack him on.
Trump continued to repeat his lie about the US testing failures being Obama’s fault. Tests were unreliable because Trump’s CDC created unreliable tests and refused WHO protocols. Simple as that. The only way this could’ve been the Obama administration’s fault is if they time-traveled into the future and sabotaged tests for a virus that didn’t exist yet. Trump went on to tout their “success” fighting the virus, a sentiment Jared Kushner echoed.
The “success story” rhetoric from this administration does not connect with the reality millions of people are facing right now with continuing layoffs and friends and family sick or dying. So in essence, Trump’s public appearances were filed with his usual fact-averse ramblings, but there was a new inclusion of a familiar name.Looking to make a difference? Consider signing one of these sponsored petitions:
President Trump really ramped up his defenses of his former National Security Advisor Micheal Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Trump and his campaign have been signaling a potential pardon for Flynn. I highly doubt many Americans have an appetite for Trump’s Flynn talk. This might resonate with some people in his base, but I don’t think it works the way he thinks it will. People are worried about COVID-19, over 69,000 people have died, and Trump is defending an admitted criminal.
There were multiple reports this week that revealed President Trump yelled at his campaign manager Brad Parscale when he was shown internal polling declines. Trump’s simple mind is unable to accept the fact his unhinged briefings and dishonest mishandling of COVID-19 triggered his declining popularity. Trump’s inability to take responsibility for his actions makes him unable to learn from mistakes. Americans know Trump’s COVID-19 response has been terrible and now they want the truth. But gaslighting is what they continue to be inundated with.
In their effort to shake up their messaging strategy, Kayleigh McEnany held her first press briefing as the new White House Press Secretary. McEnany pledged she will never lie to reporters, a pledge she broke minutes later. There was also a notable moment where Kayleigh McEnany confirmed that the issue of “Sanctuary Cities” is a “negotiating item” for states who want aid. In other words, this is extortion with pandemic aid. McEnany ended her briefing with attacks on the media and a false claim that Trump was totally exonerated by the Russia investigation. Same lies, different face.
There was also more dangerous messaging coming from Fox News. Tucker Carlson falsely said that that there is no evidence social distancing flattened the curve. Laura Ingraham ran a segment saying that climate change isn’t settled science and neither is wearing a mask to slow the spread of coronavirus. It’s clear that Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity need to be taken off the air immediately. They’re spreading dangerous disinformation that will get people killed. And people are clearly listening to that disinformation.
In Michigan, there were more “anti-lockdown” protests this week, this time with armed Trump supporters occupying the state capitol. While this is dangerously stupid, it’s important to remember that they are extremists who only represent a minuscule minority of Americans. The loudest people tend to get the most attention, but the vast majority of Americans are quietly being sensible and not putting people in danger.
What we’re seeing in poll after poll is that that President Trump’s disinformation hasn’t worked. The vast majority of Americans want to continue social distancing measures. When Americans are faced with a crisis that directly affects them, an overwhelming majority knows where to find accurate information. Scientists, experts, and non-conservative media have done an excellent job. Given all the evidence to the contrary over the past decade, this proves even amid unprecedented levels of propaganda, most Americans are capable of high media literacy when it really matters. And right now, it really matters.
It’s important we look to history to not repeat our mistakes. Unfortunately, we’re repeating some mos of them from the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. President Woodrow Wilson ignored the 1918 Flu. President Trump ignored COVID-19 in its early days. States that didn’t take the 1918 Flu seriously saw cases spike. We’re already starting to see similar trends now. The 2nd wave of the 1918 flu was worse… It’s not too late to prevent that one but the Trump administration is doing everything to make that possibility increase.
President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner said this week: “When history looks back on this, they’ll say, man, the federal government acted really quickly and creatively, they threw a lot at the problem and saved a lot of lives.”
What historians will actually say is this: The federal government denied the existence of the coronavirus threat for months and acted unbelievably slow because the President at the time wanted to protect stock market sentiment during a re-election year. It cost a lot of lives.”
It’s still yet to be determined what historians will say about the last half of 2020.
Let’s dive into yet another Unpresidented week.
Day 1,194: Monday, April 27
Monday’s top stories:
- The Washington Post: President’s intelligence briefing book repeatedly cited virus threat
- CBS News: Coronavirus updates: States relaxing lockdowns as U.S. nears 1 million cases
- The Washington Post: Social distancing could last months, White House coronavirus coordinator says
- Rantt Media: Bleach Peddler Lobbied Trump Before He Suggested Disinfectant
- Vox: A Republican effort to sabotage Obamacare was just rejected by the Supreme Court
- CNN: Supreme Court avoids new Second Amendment ruling, dealing blow to gun rights advocates
- TheHill: Barr tells prosecutors to watch for pandemic restrictions that violate Constitution
- The Washington Post: Analysis | 4 takeaways from President Trump’s Monday coronavirus news conference
- NBC News: Grocery stores could see meat shortages by end of week amid plant closings
- Axios: Birx, Fauci to take “back seat” as White House shifts to economic message on coronavirus
- CBS News: Trump sued for blocking stimulus checks to Americans married to immigrants
- Politico: White House weighing plan to replace Azar
- Vox: Trump claims the media misrepresented his coronavirus cure comments. Video proves otherwise.
- Vox: Governors say Trump’s disinfectant comments prompted hundreds of poison center calls
- The Guardian: Meteorologists say 2020 on course to be hottest year since records began
- The New York Times: Top E.R. Doctor Who Treated Virus Patients Dies by Suicide
- Rantt Media: Gretchen Whitmer: Record And Background
- Newsweek: Russia coronavirus cases overtake China as Vladimir Putin faces sharp rise in infections
- BBC: Coronavirus: New Zealand claims no community cases as lockdown eases
- Sky News: Coronavirus: Boris Johnson says the UK is ‘turning the tide’ but now is not the time to ease lockdown
Day 1,195: Tuesday, April 28
Tuesday’s top stories:
- NBC News: Grim milestone: Total number of U.S. coronavirus cases hits 1 million
- Los Angeles Times: COVID-19 has now killed more Americans than the Vietnam War
- CNN: Experts say states easing restrictions too early may increase the US coronavirus death toll
- CBS News: Oxford scientists say a vaccine may be widely available by September
- NBC News: Trump orders meat processing plants to stay open amid coronavirus pandemic
- NBC News: Reversing course, House won’t return to D.C. next week because of coronavirus threat
- CNBC: Vice President Mike Pence tours Mayo Clinic without coronavirus mask even though he was told to wear one
- Reuters: U.S. House committee launches probe of Trump WHO aid cutoff
- The Washington Post: The U.S. plans to lend $500 billion to large companies. It won’t require them to preserve jobs or limit executive pay.
- The Daily Beast: Kansas Man Chugged Cleaning Product After Trump’s Disinfectant Comments
- CNN: Trump said he takes no responsibility for any spike in people using disinfectants improperly
- USA TODAY: Ohio’s success, or failure, offers blueprint to nation as coronavirus looms over Tuesday election
- Chicago Tribune: Southern Illinois judge temporarily blocks Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order from applying to Republican state lawmaker who sued
- CNN: Sweden says its coronavirus approach has worked. The numbers suggest a different story
- AP: Biden wins Ohio’s mail-in primary delayed by coronavirus
- MSNBC: Hillary Clinton announces Joe Biden endorsement
- TheHill: Amash launches exploratory committee for Libertarian presidential run
- Rantt Media: The Top Five Voter Suppression Tactics
- CNET: Scientists say new disinfectant protects surfaces from coronavirus for 90 days
- CNBC: Trump betting millions to lay the groundwork for quantum internet in the US
- Axios: Harry Reid: “The American people deserve to be informed” about UFOs
- The Daily Beast: Fox News Cuts Ties With Diamond & Silk
Hope And Mixed Messaging
Day 1,196: Wednesday, April 29
Wednesday’s top stories:
- NBC News: ‘Clear-cut’ evidence coronavirus drug remdesivir works, Fauci says
- The Guardian: Trump says distancing guidelines will ‘fade out’ as US deaths pass 60,000 – as it happened
- CNN: US could be in for ‘a bad fall and a bad winter’ if it’s unprepared for a second wave of coronavirus, Fauci warns
- CNN: Kushner calls US coronavirus response a ‘success story’ as cases hit 1 million
- The New York Times: Trump Administration Signals Support for Allies’ Fight Against Virus Orders
- AP: FBI documents reveal communication between Stone, Assange
- CNN: Dozens of coronavirus cases connected to US primary election voting
- CNN: Trump erupts at campaign manager as reelection stress overflows
- NBC News: Coronavirus live updates: No state has met 14-day drop in cases for reopening
- The Washington Post: Upbeat news on a possible coronavirus treatment powers U.S. stocks, lifting Dow more than 500 points
- Rantt Media: The US Is Repeating Its Spanish Flu Mistakes
- CNN: Florida will start to reopen May 4, but for now Miami-Dade and two other counties won’t be included
- Business Insider: Trump claims ‘very good experts’ told him the coronavirus ‘would never affect’ the US, despite multiple officials publicly warning of an impending outbreak
- Business Insider: Trump threatened to withhold coronavirus aid from states unless they change their sanctuary-city policies
- Politico: Trump’s allies sound alarm over his attacks on independent watchdogs
- The Daily Beast: Chris Hayes Tears Into Tucker Carlson for Peddling ‘Coronavirus Trutherism’
- Vox: Russia’s coronavirus outbreak is getting bad. Putin says the worst is yet to come.
- TheHill: WaPo editorial board calls for Biden to address Tara Reade allegations
- The Hollywood Reporter: Irrfan Khan, Star of ‘Life of Pi’ and ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ Dies at 53
- CNN: This giant asteroid will fly by Earth Wednesday, close enough to see by telescope, but it won’t hit us, experts say
Michigan Protests Get Increasingly Reckless
Day 1,197: Thursday, April 30
Armed extremists stormed the Michigan Capitol to oppose @GovWhitmer’s stay-at-home orders. They demanded to be let intk the statehouse, ignored social distancing requirements, and openly carried military-style firearms. #MichiganProtest #MichiganTerrorists pic.twitter.com/CMvmls068B
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) April 30, 2020
Thursday’s top stories:
- NBC News: Hundreds of protesters, some carrying guns in the state Capitol, demonstrate against Michigan’s emergency measures
- The New York Times: Trump Officials Are Said to Press Spies to Link Virus and Wuhan Labs
- CNN: Trump contradicts US intel community by claiming he’s seen evidence coronavirus originated in Chinese lab
- CNN: Most US states are reopening within days but some need time ‘to remain vigilant’
- Politico: End of Trump’s social distancing policy spurs fears of virus rebound
- Los Angeles Times: All L.A. County residents, even those without symptoms, can now get tested for COVID-19
- TheHill: Governors in all 50 states get better marks than Trump for COVID response
- Vox: The new Michael Flynn documents aren’t the bombshell Trump is making them out to be
- USA TODAY: Trump’s order to open meat plants brings anxiety to one Iowa town where 90% of COVID-19 cases are tied to Tyson
- CNN: Senate Democrats demand answers as to why leader of vaccine development was reassigned
- 4. CNN: Wuhan shows the world that the end of lockdown is just the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis
- Los Angeles Times: Newsom poised to close beaches throughout the state to slow coronavirus spread
- NPR: Biden Announces Vice Presidential Search Committee
- Miami Herald: 100,000 crew members are still stranded at sea. Cruise lines don’t want to pay to get them home.
- HuffPost: Top Lindsey Graham Donor Switches Sides, Now Backs Democratic Rival
- BBC: Russian PM tests positive for coronavirus
- ABC News: Canada to make announcement on assault weapons ban after mass shooting in Nova Scotia
Biden Breaks His Silence On Tara Reade
Day 1,198: Friday, May 1
Friday’s top stories:
- CNBC: Joe Biden responds to Tara Reade sexual assault allegations: ‘They aren’t true. This never happened’
- NBC News: White House blocking Fauci from testifying before Congress about coronavirus response
- Reuters: Half of U.S. states easing coronavirus restrictions as jobless numbers grow
- Los Angeles Times: States reopen theaters, restaurants amid coronavirus outbreak as experts warn of second wave
- BBC News: Kim Jong-un appears in public, state media report
- HuffPost: Trump Called Out To His Face After Blaming Obama For ‘Broken’ Coronavirus Tests
- The Guardian: Thousands of Americans to take part in biggest rent strike in decades
- Vox: Minutes after pledging to not lie, the new White House press secretary lied a whole bunch
- Los Angeles Times: Trump administration blocks public disclosure on coronavirus supplies
- Time: For Some Trump Voters, Coronavirus Was The Last Straw
- HuffPost: Reporter Who Tweeted About Face-Mask Fiasco Says He Was Banned From Future Pence Trips
- The Washington Post: Justice Dept. scrutinizes White House-connected doctor linked to disputed coronavirus treatment
- ABC News: Michael Cohen’s early prison release over coronavirus concerns was rescinded: Sources
- Mother Jones: Trump’s Commerce Department just hired a lawyer with ties to white nationalists.
- Politico: A new era of fundraising: $5k Zoom events and meditating with your congressman
- National Geographic: New Zealand has ‘effectively eliminated’ coronavirus. Here’s what they did right.
- CNN: How did Australia flatten its coronavirus curve?
- The Independent: Black African Brits dying from coronavirus at 3.5 times rate of white people, study finds
- The Strait Times: 102-year-old who is Singapore’s oldest coronavirus survivor discharged on May 1
- BBC News: Canada announces ban on assault-style weapons
- BBC News: Elon Musk tweet wipes $14bn off Tesla’s value
- Rantt Media: COVID-19 Could Be A Harbinger Of Authoritarianism