A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 172nd 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 172.
A lot happened this week, but let’s start with the blatant authoritarianism, shall we?
The Justice Department’s request to drop former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s case was an act of absolute lawlessness. Flynn lied to the FBI about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn then pleaded guilty in order to get a deal to shield him from charges over him and his son’s crimes as unregistered Turkish foreign agents. Flynn is lucky he didn’t get a charge for violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
No news organization should cover this as normal. The Justice Department just went full-on banana republic to protect a friend of the President. Timothy Shea, a stooge that Barr installed in the DC prosecutor’s office, signed off on the request to Judge Sullivan to drop the case. Attorney General William Barr’s corrosive effect on the DOJ and rule of law cannot be overstated. He is not America’s Attorney General. He is President Trump ‘s authoritarian fixer. Nearly 2,000 former Justice Department employees have already called for Barr to resign.
In an interview with CBS News, Barr was asked how history will view this move. Barr villainously said: “Well, history is written by the winners, so it largely depends on who’s writing the history.” If this authoritarian undermining of the rule of law and promise to rewrite history from Barr doesn’t make you want to defeat the Trump Administration by a landslide in November then I don’t know what will.
The day after this corrupt act, President Trump essentially said he learned a lot from President Nixon about how to get away with corruption. President Trump then launched into a tirade calling the Obama Administration “human scum” and falsely accused them of treason. It was the Trump Justice Department who prosecuted Flynn, not the Obama Administration.
President Trump and the entire conservative ecosystem have now been focused on Obama. They are teasing a very dangerous line. I’m under no delusion about how corrupt Trump is, but he’s unlikely to prosecute Obama. They’ll probably just announce a Special Counsel. They just want this hovering over the Biden Campaign while Obama is campaigning with him for corruption whataboutism. But either way, we need to be alert.
In a nutshell, Barr’s Justice Department just did what former FBI Director James Comey refused to do. The Trump request that sparked it all: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” We’ll see if Judge Sullivan refuses to let Flynn go and what the Trump Administration does next.
While we’re on the topic of the rule of law, we have to discuss John Ratcliffe’s confirmation hearing for the Director of National Intelligence. Ratcliffe presented himself as a non-partisan straight shooter at his confirmation hearing. It’s a disingenuous act. Ratcliffe had a partisan and dishonest performance at the House impeachment hearings, which included him falsely accusing Joe Biden of a crime.
Just like with William Barr, Republicans who think this charade of a confirmation hearing gives them cover to confirm John Ratcliffe are mistaken. It does appear he will be confirmed though. Republicans are about to make Ratcliffe, a sycophantic partisan tool, the Director of National Intelligence during an election year. They will own every single sycophantic, undemocratic act that will soon follow. Watch to see if he tries to create false evidence that coronavirus was engineered in a Wuhan lab.Looking to make a difference? Consider signing one of these sponsored petitions:
Back to topic that has taken the world by storm. Coronavirus deaths in the United States continued to rise beyond the 60,000 projected mark and above 80,000 at the time of this writing. 20.5 million Americans filed for unemployment in April and the unemployment rate is now at 14.7%. In spite of this, President Trump’s lack of empathy raged on. Trump pretends these are stats and not tens of thousands of real human beings with likely hundreds of thousands mourning them. When ABC News’ David Muir asked Trump what’s his message to the families of those who have died, it unraveled quickly. Trump said he loves them and he’s working hard to help them. He then muddied it, saying next year the economy will do well and no one is taking the losses harder than him.
Multiple times in remarks to reporters this week, President Trump continued to dangerously say that Democrats want people to die. Last time I checked, Republicans are the only people openly advocating for reopening states while literally saying more deaths are inevitable but necessary for the economy.
Speaking of the callous response to coronavirus, Dr. Rick Bright’s whistleblower complaint arrived and it was incredibly damning for the Trump Administration. Dr. Bright held a live teleconference and delivered a statement about the complaint that was broadcast on MSNBC. Bright said that he was pressured to let “politics and cronyism” drive decisions about the coronavirus response instead of science.
Dr. Bright blasted the Trump Administration’s early coronavirus response and stated that their hydroxychloroquine push was alarming and his opposition to that was why he was retaliated against. Bright ended the call by asking the Special Counsel to investigate his ousting. Bright testifies before the House about this matter on Thursday, May 14.
Rather than learn from his mistakes, President Trump continued on his path of divisiveness and self-defeat. President Trump attacked states again and claimed that issues like Sanctuary Cities and payroll tax cuts were on the table for those who want coronavirus aid. Make no mistake, this is President Trump publicly extorting states who want coronavirus aid. It’s also important to point out that many of the blue states that need aid (not calling it a bailout) have actually given more to the federal government than they’ve taken out. Impeachment witness Pamela Karlan warned us about the possibility of Trump extorting states by withholding federal aid. She was right.
We almost saw the coronavirus task force disbanded this week, but President Trump backpedaled after seeing the negative coverage of the news. Trump has always seen the coronavirus task force as a messaging operation. When Vice President Mike Pence first took over, the focus was on reining in health experts who were speaking out. Now that polling shows his briefing performances are hurting him, he no longer saw the task force as useful. But, he was forced to roll that back.
Lord knows the White House needs that task force now more than ever, not only with reopening the economy safely, but to maintain safety within the White House. Pence’s Press Secretary Katie Miller and Trump’s valet tested positive for coronavirus and are now in self-quarantine. Dr. Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Robert Redfield are now in isolation as well after being in close contact with those who tested positive. Meanwhile, President Trump arrived in Arizona with no mask, no gloves, and an attempted handshake. No other masks or gloves were in sight. Always refusing to lead by example.
In spite of this, President Trump continued a strange campaign against the concept of testing, saying it isn’t great. If Katie Miller wasn’t tested, for example, she wouldn’t have been able to be identified as a case and then would’ve kept walking around infecting people. So this is why the concept of tests is actually great and incredibly important. Trump has always hated the fact we’re identifying cases because the numbers increase. It seems he’d prefer we didn’t test at all and more people died, as long as the confirmed cases were artificially low.
President Trump is walking around behaving like it’s “mission accomplished” in the middle of this pandemic. This is deadly shortsightedness. He’s incapable of forethought and long-term planning. His impatience, incurious simple mind, and rampaging ego make him the worst possible POTUS to have during this.
I can’t end this week’s Unpresidented without talking about the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery. While we’re still learning more about the case, I have to say that the video is one of the most tragic things I’ve ever seen. He was 25. I’m 27. It could’ve easily happened to me or any black man jogging there. Racism is an epidemic the US has never cured and our justice system enables.
This is why it was so important to lock up George Zimmerman for his racist vigilante murder of Trayvon Martin. No one deputized these bigoted killers to be the judge, jury, and executioner of these young innocent black men. But they’ve been enabled to get away with it by the same justice system that allowed Michael Flynn to get away with his crimes. We’ll see if the same is true for Arbery’s killers.
Let’s dive into yet another Unpresidented week.
Increased Death Projections
Day 1,201: Monday, May 4
Monday’s top stories:
- The Washington Post: Live U.S. updates: Coronavirus deaths in U.S. will rise to 3,000 daily by June 1, draft government report projects
- Reuters: Trump says up to 100,000 Americans may die from coronavirus
- Vox: From “it will disappear” to 100,000 deaths: Trump’s coronavirus projections have shifted dramatically
- The Washington Post: 34 days of pandemic: Inside Trump’s desperate attempts to reopen America
- Vox: Coronavirus: Trump is ousting an inspector general after she reported hospitals need more PPE
- CNN: Pelosi slams White House for limiting coronavirus task force testimony
- CNN: Fact check: Trump peppers Fox News town hall with false claims on coronavirus and other topics
- Sky News: Coronavirus: Scientists hail ‘groundbreaking’ discovery of antibody which prevents infection
- MSNBC: Supreme Court makes history with first oral arguments over phone
- The Daily Beast: Trump Says He Is Treated ‘Worse’ Than President Lincoln, Who Was Assassinated
- The New York Times: Profits and Pride at Stake, the Race for a Vaccine Intensifies
- Axios: Trump wants to replace FBI director Wray but may restrain himself during election year
- NBC News: Warren to grill stimulus IG-nominee Miller on independence from Trump
- Axios: Biden campaign unveils “Lift Every Voice” plan for African Americans
- NBC News: J. Crew files for bankruptcy as retailer succumbs to COVID-19 fallout
- CBS News: Cuomo announces 7-state coalition for purchasing medical equipment
- CNN: Three Russian doctors fall from hospital windows, raising questions amid coronavirus pandemic
- NBC News: As lockdowns ease, some countries report new infection peaks
- National Geographic: ‘Murder hornets’ have arrived in the U.S.—here’s what you should know
- HuffPost: Don Lemon Hits Trump Where It Hurts With Seething Obama Comparisons
The Task Force Almost Disbands, And Dr. Bright Speaks Out
Day 1,202: Tuesday, May 5
Tuesday’s top stories:
- The Washington Post: Live updates: Vice President Pence says coronavirus task force could be disbanded within a month as death toll tops 70,000
- Vanity Fair: “Political Connections and Cronyism”: In Blistering Whistleblower Complaint, Rick Bright Blasts Team Trump’s Pandemic Response
- The Guardian: Trump loyalist set to become national intelligence director on second attempt
- CNN: Key coronavirus model doubles projected US deaths to 134,000 as social distancing fades
- CNBC: Trump does not wear coronavirus mask at Honeywell factory that makes masks
- CNN: Case of Georgia man who was chased and killed while jogging will go to grand jury
- CBS News: Coronavirus virtual vaccine summit sees leaders pledge billions, but US skips it
- ABC News: Trump to ABC’s David Muir: ‘Possible there will be some’ COVID-19 deaths as country reopens
- The Daily Beast: WHO: The Trump Administration Has Provided No Evidence for Its ‘Speculative’ Wuhan Lab Theory
- National Geographic: Fauci: No scientific evidence the coronavirus was made in a Chinese lab
- Los Angeles Times: A mutant coronavirus has emerged, even more contagious than the original, study says
- The Daily Beast: Texas Gov. Admits Dangers of Reopening State on Private Call With Lawmakers
- NBC News: Trump says only blue states have budget woes. He couldn’t be more wrong.
- AP: Judge restores NY Democratic presidential primary on June 23
- Newsweek: Democratic challengers lead incumbent GOP senators by significant margins in North Carolina and Montana, new polling shows
- The Washington Post: Venezuela’s Maduro says two Americans captured in failed invasion attempt
- USA TODAY: Trump heads to Arizona for most extensive trip since start of coronavirus pandemic
- CNN: New Zealand reports no new coronavirus cases for second day in a row
- CNBC: Vietnam is reopening and its early coronavirus containment efforts may help it avoid a recession
- HuffPost: Chris Christie Says People ‘Are Going To Have To’ Accept More Deaths To Reopen Economy
Trump’s Post Office Takeover, First Step In Targeting Bezos
Day 1,203: Wednesday, May 6
Wednesday’s top stories:
- The Washington Post: Top Republican fundraiser and Trump ally named postmaster general, giving president new influence over Postal Service
- The Washington Post: Live updates: Trump vows to ‘terminate’ Obamacare; coronavirus deaths pass 72,000 in U.S.
- Los Angeles Times: ‘A profound danger’: Experts warn against broad U.S. reopening amid COVID-19 pandemic
- Time: Rural America Risks Letting Down Its Guard Just as Coronavirus Is About to Hit
- The New York Times: With New Hot Spots Emerging, No Sign of a Respite
- Axios: Trump and some top aides question accuracy of coronavirus death toll
- CNN: Restless Trump escapes White House but not the pandemic
- Politico: States cut Medicaid as millions of jobless workers look to safety net
- America Military News: Trump vetoes bill to restrict his powers to act against Iran
- USA TODAY: ‘Ahmaud Arbery’s life matters’: Attorneys, rights leaders demand arrests in slaying of Georgia jogger
- CNN: In reversal, Trump says task force will continue ‘indefinitely’ — eyes vaccine czar
- NBC News: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg hospitalized for gallbladder condition
- ProPublica: The TSA Hoarded 1.3 Million N95 Masks Even Though Airports Are Empty and It Doesn’t Need Them
- ProPublica: On the Same Day Sen. Richard Burr Dumped Stock, So Did His Brother-in-Law. Then the Market Crashed.
- NBC News: Michigan governor wants to ban guns from Capitol after armed anti-lockdown protests
- CNN: Ruth Bader Ginsburg discharged from the hospital after nonsurgical procedure
- Rantt Media: Joe Biden’s Top 10 Possible VP Picks
- The Washington Post: U.S. denies involvement in alleged Venezuela invasion attempt as details remain murky
- Axios: New polling shows warning signs for GOP-held Senate seats
- The Independent: Italian scientists claim to have developed world’s first coronavirus vaccine
- CNBC: EU predicts region will contract 7.4% this year in worst economic shock since 1930s
- Business Insider: The head of Sweden’s no-lockdown coronavirus plan said its heavy death toll ‘came as a surprise’
Full-On Banana Republic
Day 1,204: Thursday, May 7
Thursday’s top stories:
- Mother Jones: Trump’s DOJ to drop charges against Michael Flynn, who pled guilty twice
- NBC News: Father and son arrested and charged with murder in death of Ahmaud Arbery
- Axios: Nadler seeks hearing with Barr after DOJ drops prosecution of Michael Flynn
- Rantt Media: Why Barr Is Hell-Bent On Emboldening An Authoritarian Presidency
- AP: Admin shelves CDC guide to reopening country
- CNBC: Trump meets with Texas Gov. Abbott after valet tests positive for coronavirus
- NBC News: White House returned CDC guidelines for reopening economy, requesting revisions
- Business Insider: New evidence suggests the coronavirus was likely spreading in the US and France as early as December
- CNN: House releases transcripts of closed-door Russia probe interviews
- NPR: From Loss Of Smell To ‘COVID Toes’: What Experts Are Learning About Symptoms
- NBC News: At least 85 kids across U.S. have developed rare, mysterious COVID-19-linked illness
- Miami Herald: Florida releases list of COVID-19 deaths. Top medical examiner calls it a sham.
- CBS News: U.S. suspends protections for migrant kids at border, expelling hundreds amid pandemic
- CNN: Why America hadn’t stored enough protective gear to face coronavirus
- Bloomberg: New York Attorney General Appeals Order to Reinstate Primary
- South China Morning Post: Sperm containing coronavirus raises possibility of sexually transmitted Covid-19, Chinese study shows
- CNBC: ‘Very unusual’: Arctic air set to hit Eastern US with record-low temperatures for May
- NBC News: Russia surpasses France and Germany in total number of coronavirus cases
- CNN: How Angela Merkel went from lame duck to global leader on coronavirus
- Quartz: A Kenyan-British team of scientists has discovered a microbe to stop malaria transmission
- Los Angeles Times: They’re not really called ‘murder hornets.’ And they’re probably not as bad as you think
The “Trump Depression”
Day 1,205: Friday, May 8
Friday’s top stories:
- CNN: Record 20.5 million American jobs lost in April. Unemployment rate soars to 14.7%
- AP: AP Exclusive: Docs show top WH officials buried CDC report
- Politico: Katie Miller, Pence spokeswoman, tests positive for coronavirus
- The New York Times: ‘Never Seen Anything Like This’: Experts Question Dropping of Flynn Prosecution
- CNN: Federal agency says removal of vaccine chief may have been retaliation
- Rantt Media: Debunking “Plandemic,” The Coronavirus Conspiracy Video
- NBC News: No masks and little social distancing at White House meeting
- USA TODAY: Across US, a ‘tale of two cities’ as some embrace reopening amid coronavirus and others remain wary
- The Atlantic: A Guide to Staying Safe as States Reopen
- The Daily Beast: Team Trump Wants Flynn Back for 2020, Sees Him as Its ‘Nelson Mandela’
- Axios: Scoop: Trump officials’ dysfunction harms delivery of coronavirus drug
- The New York Times: White House Rattled by a Military Aide’s Positive Coronavirus Test
- Politico: Trump intensifies war with Democrats over voting laws
- Los Angeles Times: California voters asked to vote by mail in November due to coronavirus fears
- TheHill: Biden opens 9-point lead over Trump in Senate battlegrounds: poll
- AP: Prominent lawyer, Trump donor representing Biden accuser
- CBS News: Kamala Harris proposes monthly income boost for Americans during COVID crisis
- CBS News: Coronavirus expected to peak in world’s poorest countries in months, UN says
- CNBC: As US-China rivalry heightens, the pandemic could tilt global power in Beijing’s favor
- CNN: Kayleigh McEnany called Trump comment ‘racist,’ ‘hateful’ and ‘not the American way’ in 2015