A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 192nd Unpresidented Week As POTUS

This week, Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power, nominated Amy Coney Barrett to SCOTUS, and his tax return data leaked.
President Trump nominating Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court – September 26, 2020. (C-SPAN)

President Trump nominating Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court – September 26, 2020. (C-SPAN)

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 192.

This was a consequential week. From President Trump refusing to commit to a peaceful transition of power to his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, a lot happened. But before we dive into all of that, I have to discuss the breaking news that came in just as I was sitting down to write this column.

The New York Times has obtained information that the American people have been waiting over 5 years to see. In a bombshell, in-depth report from the same reporters who brought us the last deep dive into Trump family tax data, we finally have the most robust look at Donald Trump’s personal finances.

Here are some of the top-line findings. Trump reportedly paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and $750 in 2017. The New York Times reports that in the 10 of the 15 years prior to that, he paid zero dollars in federal income tax. On top of that, we learned that President Trump has been under audit for a $72.9 million tax refund he claimed while also declaring losses to the IRS.

The report asserted: “Mr. Trump harvested that refund bonanza by declaring huge business losses — a total of $1.4 billion from his core businesses for 2008 and 2009 — that tax laws had prevented him from using in prior years.” If wrongdoing is found in that audit, Trump could be on the hook for a $100 million tax bill. This is on top of the fact that Donald Trump personally has $300 million in debts, so we don’t know the extent to which he may be beholden to foreign adversaries.

Among the other revelations is that Ivanka Trump’s company received over $747,622 in “consultancy” fees while already being employed at the Trump Organization. This is exactly what Fred Trump did to Donald and his other kids to avoid estate and gift taxes. Remember, The New York Times also reported that Donald Trump siphoned at least $413 million from his father using improper tax schemes, in some cases constituting fraud according to tax experts.

This raises questions as to whether Donald Trump fabricated deductions to claim larger losses so he could pay less in taxes, which he has a history of doing. Among the deductions The New York Times revealed was $70,000 for haircuts. The bottom line of this story is this: President Trump is a con man, fraudulent, taker that pays less in taxes than the average American.

Donald Trump spent his entire life using taxpayer dollars to fund his projects. Trump’s father did it, Trump did it in business, and Trump does it as POTUS. As David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post reports, the US government has paid Trump properties at least $1 million just while he’s been President. Now, we learn from The New York Times that Trump’s long-discussed audit is about his intake of tens of millions in tax refunds while paying no taxes.

This story plays perfectly into the messaging that Democratic nominee Joe Biden has been pushing. Biden has recently been saying that Trump “isn’t one of us” and is just a privileged boy who inherited everything and looks down on the average American. Biden would be smart to tie this to the dignity of work and say Trump is a greedy fraud who thinks Americans who play by the rules are suckers. Biden may say that Trump cheated the system all the way to the White House and is now trying to cheat in this election.

We’ll surely see this play out in the first debate this week, just as we saw in 2016.

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Now, onto the Supreme Court fight. It’s truly miraculous that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) isn’t collapsing under the weight of his own hypocrisy while advocating a new Supreme Court Justice be confirmed after what he did to Judge Merrick Garland, but he’s still standing. Now, with Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) falling in line, it appears we have an October 12 start date for the Supreme Court confirmation hearings. We also have a nominee.

On Saturday, President Trump officially nominated 7th Circut Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. This would tip the court into a 6-3 conservative supermajority with an ultra-conservative new Justice. Barrett believes life begins at conception, abortion is “always immoral,” and she dissented in 2 abortion cases. Barrett criticized Chief Justice Roberts for upholding the ACA, dissented in an immigrant rights case, and dissented in a gun reform case. Countless issues are at stake.

As this nomination moves forward, it’s important to remember this goes against the will of the people. As I wrote in my article on Barrett’s record in The Independent, this might not play out the way President Trump thinks:

While Republicans believe this will help Trump recover some members of his base, this could backfire spectacularly. Confirming a fierce anti-abortion Justice will do nothing to close the suburban women gap Trump has with Democratic nominee Joe Biden. This could have a similar effect that the pre-midterm confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh had, but with presidential-level turnout.

These actions by Republicans are also bringing ideas like ending the filibuster and court-packing into the discussion, with Democrats internally grappling with the possible strategy. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has stated “nothing is off the table”.

Poll-after-poll has indicated that a majority of Americans want the winner of the next election to fill the Supreme Court vacancy and the issue of the Supreme Court is now more important to Democrats than Republicans. If you need empirical evidence to back those polls, look no further than ActBlue, which rose a record $91m for Democrats in the 28 hours after Ginsburg’s death. Early voting lines around the US are also massive.

In denying the Notorious RBG’s dying wish by rushing a new Justice into this vacancy before the election, Republicans may also be denying themselves their Senate majority and putting the nail in President Trump’s already dying re-election prospects.

In an unwitting effort to seemingly further crush his own re-election prospects, President Trump on Sunday, in the middle of a pandemic, openly endorsed the Supreme Court potentially terminating the ACA when the lawsuit his DOJ supports is heard in November. It’s important to note that Obamacare has remained more popular than President Trump throughout his entire presidency. Trump is the only president in the history of polling to never crack 50% approval, but Obamacare has been about at or above that level for the past 4 years.

In another foolish move, President Trump gave the game away. Trump said that he wants his new SCOTUS pick to be confirmed before the election so she can hear election-related cases. To be clear, Trump is launching a SCOTUS power grab so he can try and launch a subsequent power grab and overturn the election results. We also learned a bit more about his strategy this week.

The Atlantic dropped a bombshell report that indicated Trump is considering appointing loyal electors to overturn the vote. This, coupled with his fake cries of mail-in voter fraud and Trump supporters blocking polling places, it has all the hallmarks of an authoritarian effort to steal the election. Then, President Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power multiple times this week.

The Atlantic piece appeared to confirm my theory that Trump is attacking mail-in voting to get his base to vote in person so he could declare victory the night of the election and falsely claim the delayed, mostly Democratic vote tallies are fraudulent. But it may have backfired because a lot of Democrats are now voting in person. If Trump loses the in-person tally, then his whole elector rigging strategy falls apart.

The GOP has pushed back on Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. Republican leaders, including McConnell and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), spoke out. The Senate also passed a unanimous resolution reaffirming the peaceful transfer of power. That’s all well and good, but the GOP also said a Justice shouldn’t be confirmed in an election year. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) literally told us to hold his words against him. We see how that turned out. I’ll believe they’re committed to a peaceful transfer of power when I see the Senate certify the results when Trump loses.

Now, we have to talk about injustice. There were no charges relating to the killing of Breonna Taylor. The wanton endangerment counts against officer Brett Hankison were in relation to shots fired into the homes of her neighbors. These charges erased her life as if it didn’t matter. We say Black Lives Matter because it is incredibly clear that our lives are not equally valued under the law. This Breonna Taylor decision is yet another example of that.

To end this week’s column, a grim milestone. Over 200,000 people in the US have died from coronavirus. Also this week, President Trump said that coronavirus “affects virtually nobody.” These 200,000 dead Americans are not “nobody.” Trump’s complete indifference to 200,000 dead people in America, 200,000 families shaken, and millions of friends mourning is the most unmistakable example of his depravity. He sees these human lives as nothing more than a political inconvenience.

Hopefully, Americans head to the ballot box, and hand him a real political inconvenience by sending him down to Mar-a-Lago for good. Taxpayers are tired of paying for those trips.

Let’s dive into another Unpresidentd week.

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SCOTUS Fight Begins

Day 1,341: Monday, September 21

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Official Photo), the Supreme Court (AP), and President Donald Trump (AP), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons), and Senator Lindsey Graham (Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons).

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Official Photo), the Supreme Court (AP), and President Donald Trump (AP), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons), and Senator Lindsey Graham (Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons).

Monday’s top stories:

Romney Falls In Line

Day 1,342: Tuesday, September 22

Mitt Romney (Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons)

Mitt Romney (Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons)

Tuesday’s top stories:

No Justice For Breonna Taylor

Day 1,343: Wednesday, September 23

Wednesday’s top stories:

Republicans Try And Distance Themselves From Trump’s Transfer Of Power Claims

Day 1,344: Thursday, September 24

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ/Creative Commons)

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ/Creative Commons)

Thursday’s top stories:

Amy Coney Barrett Nominated To SCOTUS

Day 1,345-1,346: Friday-Saturday, September 25-26

Friday and Saturday’s top stories:

Rantt Media and ZipRecruiter

Unpresidented // Amy Coney Barrett / Donald Trump / Supreme Court / Tax Returns