A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 171st Unpresidented Week As POTUS

As unprepared states began reopening their economies, Trump continued to treat COVID-19 like a public relations problem rather than a public health crisis.
President Donald J. Trump listens to a reporter’s question during the coronavirus update briefing Monday, April 27, 2020, in the Rose Garden of the White House (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

President Donald J. Trump listens to a reporter’s question during the coronavirus update briefing Monday, April 27, 2020, in the Rose Garden of the White House (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)

Moments like these require unrelenting truthtelling. We take pride in being primarily reader-funded. If you like our work, support us by subscribing to our community.

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.

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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.

Ignored Warnings

Day 1,194: Monday, April 27

President Donald Trump, May 30, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump, May 30, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Monday’s top stories:

“Grim Milestone”

Day 1,195: Tuesday, April 28

Army Spc. Daniel Fields, assigned to the 9th Hospital Center, takes a patient’s blood pressure reading in the Javits New York Medical Station (JNYMS) – March 30, 2020 (US Navy/Barry Riley/Public domain)

Army Spc. Daniel Fields, assigned to the 9th Hospital Center, takes a patient’s blood pressure reading in the Javits New York Medical Station (JNYMS) – March 30, 2020 (US Navy/Barry Riley/Public domain)

Tuesday’s top stories:

Hope And Mixed Messaging

Day 1,196: Wednesday, April 29

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Taskforce, addresses his remarks at a coronavirus update briefing Monday, March 16, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Taskforce, addresses his remarks at a coronavirus update briefing Monday, March 16, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

Wednesday’s top stories:

Michigan Protests Get Increasingly Reckless

Day 1,197: Thursday, April 30

Thursday’s top stories:

Biden Breaks His Silence On Tara Reade

Day 1,198: Friday, May 1

Joe Biden speaking with attendees at the 2019 Iowa Federation of Labor Convention hosted by the AFL-CIO at the Prairie Meadows Hotel in Altoona, Iowa – August 21, 2019 (Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA)

Joe Biden speaking with attendees at the 2019 Iowa Federation of Labor Convention hosted by the AFL-CIO at the Prairie Meadows Hotel in Altoona, Iowa – August 21, 2019 (Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA)

Friday’s top stories:

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Unpresidented // Coronavirus / Donald Trump / Economy