A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 192nd 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 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.
Now that we have reporting from the New York Times that confirms Trump pays virtually no taxes, remember when Trump bragged about this in his debate with Clinton?
Trump said not paying taxes makes him smart.
I’m sure Trump thinks taxpayers are suckers.pic.twitter.com/CIb0dx8CPX
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) September 27, 2020
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.Looking to make a difference? Consider signing one of these sponsored petitions:
SCOTUS Fight Begins
Day 1,341: Monday, September 21
Monday’s top stories:
- The New York Times: Grassley and Gardner will back a Republican push to vote on a Supreme Court nominee, strengthening McConnell’s hand.
- The Washington Post: Republicans prepare to move quickly on Supreme Court opening as Trump weighs top contenders
- CNN: Ginsburg will become the first woman in history to lie in state in US Capitol
- CNN: Senate Democrats warn GOP of plans to retaliate if McConnell advances Trump court pick
- CNN: Fact check: Trump baselessly claims Democratic politicians wrote Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish
- NBC News: ‘Constitutional abuse’: Biden challenges Senate Republicans in blistering Supreme Court speech
- CNN: As doctors worry about ‘a very apocalyptic fall,’ the CDC retracts info on how Covid-19 spreads
- CNBC: Trump could be facing criminal tax probe, Manhattan DA suggests in new court filing
- NBC News: U.S. Covid-19 death toll surpasses 200,000
- Bloomberg: Biden’s $466 Million Bankroll Tops Trump by $141 Million
- The Nation: Federal Agencies Tapped Protesters’ Phones in Portland
- CNN: Trump wants the TikTok deal to pour $5 billion into ‘real history’ education. It’s not that simple
- The Daily Beast: NIH official stepping down after being unmasked as anti-Fauci blogger
- The Atlantic: The Inside Story of the Mueller Probe’s Mistakes
- The Independent: Fears of voter intimidation in 2020 election as Trump supporters block polling station
- NBC News: Poll: Biden holds sizable lead over Trump among Latino voters
- NPR: Beta Brings New Flood Risk To Texas Coast And La., Where Thousands Still Lack Power
- CNN: Judge dismisses Trump campaign challenge to Nevada mail-in voting law
- BuzzFeed News: Elizabeth Warren And Bernie Sanders Want Big Banking Reforms Following The FinCEN Files Investigations
- CNBC: More restrictions expected in Europe as coronavirus spreads rapidly and rattles markets
- Reuters: New Zealand ends all pandemic restrictions outside main city of Auckland
Romney Falls In Line
Day 1,342: Tuesday, September 22
Tuesday’s top stories:
- CNN: Mitt Romney backing of Supreme Court vote paves way for election-year confirmation
- NBC News: Trump’s Supreme Court front-runners ‘antithetical” to Ginsburg’s legacy, critics say
- The Week: As the U.S. hits 200,000 COVID-19 deaths, Trump tells an Ohio rally the coronavirus ‘affects virtually nobody’
- CNN: Pelosi and Mnuchin reach agreement to keep government funded until December 11
- Reuters: U.S. warns ‘foreign actors’ aim to sow doubts over mail-in voting
- The Washington Post: Pentagon used taxpayer money meant for masks and swabs to make jet engine parts and body armor
- CNN: Trump says he likes Putin. US intelligence says Russia is attacking American democracy.
- CNN: Cindy McCain endorses Joe Biden
- NBC News: Beta becomes 9th landfall storm of 2020 in a record-shattering season
- The Daily Beast: Special Counsel Office Investigating DeVos Over Fox News Interview
- The Hill: Biden leads Trump by 12 points among Catholic voters: poll
- Bloomberg: Kamala Harris Downplays Debate Skills as Buttigieg Stands In for Pence
- Axios: 13 Nobel Prize-winning economists back Biden
- Politico: Rank-and-file union members snub Biden for Trump
- Reuters: ‘Work from home’: Johnson starts shutting down Britain again as COVID-19 spreads
- Reuters: Exclusive: China sharply expands mass labor program in Tibet
- Axios: Scoop: Meadows puts agencies on notice about staff shake-up
- The Hill: Poll: 51 percent of voters want to abolish the electoral college
No Justice For Breonna Taylor
Day 1,343: Wednesday, September 23
Wednesday’s top stories:
- ABC News: Breonna Taylor case: Public outraged after 1 officer indicted for endangering neighbors
- CNN: Trump refuses to commit to a peaceful transition of power after Election Day
- The Atlantic: What If Trump Refuses to Concede?
- CBS News: Ruth Bader Ginsburg lies in repose at Supreme Court
- Politico: Trump says he might reject stricter FDA vaccine guidelines
- Axios: Trump nominates former Nunes aide to be intelligence community watchdog
- Reuters: As U.S. surpasses 200,000 COVID-19 deaths, Wisconsin sounds alarm over surges in cases
- The Daily Beast: Number of States Reporting COVID-19 Surges More Than Doubles in One Week
- The Daily Beast: At Least One Person From Trump’s Michigan Rally Now Has COVID-19
- NBC News: CIA assessed Putin likely directing Russian effort to discredit Biden
- CNBC: Johnson & Johnson enters late-stage trial testing its coronavirus vaccine
- Axios: Fauci clashes with Rand Paul at COVID hearing: “You’re not listening”
- NBC News: DHS gave millions in contracts to firm where acting chief’s wife works
- CNBC: Judge orders Eric Trump to testify before election in New York attorney general probe of President Trump’s company
- Axios: “A long way to go”: Fed chair warns economy will feel the weight of expired stimulus
- The Hill: FEC flags McConnell campaign over suspected accounting errors
- NBC News: Facebook to reject political ads that prematurely claim election victory
- The Daily Beast: Missouri’s Anti-Mask Governor and His Wife Test Positive for Coronavirus
- Bloomberg: China Threatens to Kill TikTok Deal Over ‘Dirty’ Trump Tactics
- The Guardian: Alexei Navalny out of German hospital after treatment for poisoning
- The Daily Beast: Fauci Overshadows Trump on Time Magazine’s List of 100 Most Influential People
- The Washington Post: GOP senators’ report calls Hunter Biden’s board position with Ukraine firm ‘problematic,’ but fails to show how it changed U.S. policy
- Rantt Media: There Is Only 1 Economic Recovery Candidate In This Race
- Rantt Media: Potential Lessons From Interwar Europe To Combat Fascism
Republicans Try And Distance Themselves From Trump’s Transfer Of Power Claims
Day 1,344: Thursday, September 24
Thursday’s top stories:
- The Hill: GOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power
- ABC News: Unanimous Senate commits to peaceful transfer of power after Trump refuses
- The New York Times: Trump says he wants a conservative majority on the Supreme Court in case of an Election Day dispute.
- CNN: USA TODAY: ‘Absolutely heartbreaking’ ruling in Breonna Taylor shooting sparks new wave of national protests for justice, racial equality. Two officers shot in Louisville.Calls grow for Kentucky AG to release evidence in Breonna Taylor case
- CNN: Fauci cautions that a Covid-19 vaccine won’t eliminate the need for masks and public health measures
- CNBC: CDC director says more than 90% of Americans remain susceptible to the coronavirus
- CNBC: House Democrats prepare new $2.4 trillion stimulus plan with unemployment aid, direct payments
- The Hill: Mnuchin says he and Pelosi have agreed to restart coronavirus stimulus talks
- NBC News: More than 200 retired generals, admirals endorse Biden
- The Daily Beast: GOP’s Hunter Biden Probe Digs Up Dirt on Rick Perry’s Ties to Ukrainian Gas Deals
- Axios: Democrats pivot to promoting in-person voting
- Newsweek: Mitt Romney compares U.S. to authoritarian Belarus if Trump refuses to leave office
- HuffPost: Trump Keeps Holding Packed Campaign Rallies During A Pandemic
- The Hill: Analysis: Biden victory, Democratic sweep would bring biggest boost to economy
- CNN: Youth-focused groups say they had record numbers for National Voter Registration Day
- Politico: Trump’s former Coast Guard chief endorses Biden, cites ‘insurgency’ on the Constitution
- The Guardian: China has built 380 internment camps in Xinjiang, study finds
- CNN: South Korea official shot dead by North Korean troops after crossing border: Seoul
- The Guardian: Pro-democracy leader Joshua Wong arrested in Hong Kong
Amy Coney Barrett Nominated To SCOTUS
Day 1,345-1,346: Friday-Saturday, September 25-26
Friday and Saturday’s top stories:
- CNN: Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court justice
- USA TODAY: Ruth Bader Ginsburg makes history as the first woman, Jewish person to lie in state at Capitol ceremony
- AP: Judge removes Trump public lands boss for serving unlawfully
- The Guardian: Breonna Taylor decision: arrests as protesters take to streets for second night
- CNN: Trump again casts doubt on whether he’ll accept election result in latest unfounded attack on voting process
- ABC News: Barr briefed Trump on investigation into discarded Pennsylvania ballots
- The New York Times: At Pentagon, Fears Grow That Trump Will Pull Military Into Election Unrest
- Politico: Trump’s team plots his departure — even if he won’t
- Axios: Democrats prepare for the apocalypse scenario of backdoor elector swaps
- NBC News: U.S. hits 7M Covid cases, 2 governors call response worst in world
- Reuters: Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine produces strong immune response in early trial
- Axios: Christopher Wray: FBI has not seen evidence of national voter fraud effort by mail
- CNN: Wall Street is shunning Trump. Campaign donations to Biden are five times larger
- NPR: Court Orders Census Counting To Continue Through Oct. 31; Appeal Expected
- The Daily Beast: Security Officer Assigned to Health Secretary Alex Azar Tests Positive for COVID
- The Hill: Governor and first lady of Virginia test positive for COVID-19
- NBC News: Trump signs EOs on health care, but does little to change existing legislation
- Business Insider: A voting advocacy group recorded over 40,000 new voter registrations in the 2 days after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
- HuffPost: Lindsey Graham Says He’s ‘Getting Killed’ In Campaign Cash Because Foes ‘Hate My Guts’
- The Independent: Charlie Hebdo attack: Four stabbed outside magazine’s former offices in Paris after cartoons republished
- Bloomberg: The Kremlin Is Increasingly Alarmed at the Prospect of a Biden Win
- Business Insider: Ron Paul hospitalized after suffering apparent medical incident during livestream
- NBC News: Urging followers to ‘camouflage,’ QAnon attempts to rebrand
- The Hill: Obamas are ‘most admired’ man and woman in world: poll
- Rantt Media: The Only Certainty This Election Is That There Will Be Chaos
- Rantt Media: How Reliable Are Election Polls?