A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 195th Unpresidented Week As POTUS

Down in the polls, President Trump is turning to his 2016 playbook of boosting Russian disinformation, misogyny, and calling to jail his political targets. But this isn't 2016.
President Donald Trump talks about Hurricane Florence following a briefing in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump talks about Hurricane Florence following a briefing in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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 195.

All cons come to an end. Like many of his past business failures which ended either in bankruptcies or fraud settlements, reality is now catching up to President Trump. As I’ve written dozens of times, when coronavirus hit, Trump finally met a challenge he couldn’t lie away. The delusional disinformation that has always been the foundation of the Trump brand is falling apart under the weight of Trump’s unmistakable failures. Now, as Democratic nominee Joe Biden maintains a double-digit lead, Trump is growing increasingly desperate and dangerous.

While this week’s most consequential event was the hearings of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, which we’ll touch on in a bit, it came amid a backdrop of desperate moves on the part of the Trump Campaign and right-wing media. In a blatant attempt to repeat the 2016 playbook, Trump is levying fake allegations of criminality against his political targets, some built on Russian disinformation. Let’s start with the dangerous attacks on Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

While in Michigan, 10 days after radical right terrorists were arrested for plotting to kidnap and commit an extrajudicial execution of Governor Whitmer, President Trump attacked Whitmer and then echoed a “lock her up” chant.

Not only did Trump launch relentless attacks on Whitmer, he basked in the brutalization of protestors.

While on CNN, Lara Trump defended the indefensible and said this was just Trump having “fun” at a rally. RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel also defended it. When told that Trump responded to the “lock her up” chants with “lock them all up,” McDaniel said it’s because Whitmer locked down her state. The day after leading that “lock her up” chant against Governor Whitmer—the target of a domestic terrorist plot where they were literally trying to lock her up and execute her—President Trump attended a church service. How Christlike.

Of course, this isn’t the first time President Trump targeted Whitmer. Trump infamously sent out a “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” tweet, which may have helped radicalize the terrorists. Let’s be very clear here: This is vile, disgusting, authoritarian depravity. This is absolutely inexcusable behavior by any measure. I don’t care what side of the political spectrum you’re on. This is objectively indecent lunacy. Shame on Trump for stirring up violence and shame on his supporters at that rally for cheering it on. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there.

Supporters at President Trump’s Florida rally earlier in the week yelled  “lock her up” when Trump mentioned Hillary Clinton’s name. Trump said he agrees with them. Every single Republican and Trump Administration probe into Clinton has exonerated her fully, but nevertheless, the authoritarianism persists. Hillary Clinton does not deserve to be locked up. She deserves an apology.

While at a Wisconsin rally, a lock her up chant broke out when Trump was talking about Rep. Ilhan Omar. There is no known corruption related to Omar. Trump is just targeting all of his political opponents with calls to lock them up. This week, we saw a huge ploy that triggered new “lock him up” chants about Joe Biden.

The New York Post published a story, which we won’t link to, that made allegations about Hunter Biden’s emails, that we won’t repeat. These claims are unsubstantiated, and even if true, would not indicate any corruption on the part of Joe Biden because no meeting took place. Facebook limited the reach of this story and Twitter went further by completely blocking the sharing of this article before later reversing it.

Some conservative free speech warriors cried foul, but they appeared to be ignoring the fact Russia hacked Burisma and Rudy Giuliani, one of the sources for the story, was working with a Russian agent. Also, other news organizations declined to publish the story when it was brought to them, and New York Post‘s reporters refused to put their name on the story. Given the disinformation regurgitation we endured in 2016, laundered via Wikileaks and shared by mainstream media organizations, limiting the reach of the story was a reasonable precaution, especially given what we later discovered.

First, The Washington Post reported that in December 2019, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien warned Trump that a Russian intelligence operation was targeting Giuliani with disinformation meant to interfere in the election. Trump shrugged it off and continued to aid and abet the Russian operation which was related to false allegations of Biden corruption – the same kind of allegations Trump was impeached for pursuing. We also learned that the FBI is investigating whether the info the New York Post published is based on a Russian intelligence operation.

Senate Republicans like Ron Johnson, who ran his Biden probe based on Russian disinformation, was boosting this along with Rupert Murdoch’s media arms. This is one of the most disgraceful, treacherous, dishonest closing campaign messages in history.

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When we look closely at President Trump’s rallies, they are running out of ideas. From state-to-state, rally-to-rally, Trump’s stump speech barely changes at all these days. You hear the same exact grievances, lies, calls to jail opponents, and fear-mongering every time. He rarely touches on any state-specific issues, and when he does, it’s in a superficial way. This is what a failing campaign looks like.

This message was equally scattered on the night of the dueling town halls on Thursday. When asked to condemn QAnon, President Trump said he knows nothing about QAnon except they’re against pedophiles. Trump then, again, pivoted to Antifa. When asked if there is a satanic pedophile cabal, Trump said he doesn’t know. Trump essentially gave credence to the claims.

Also at the town hall, President Trump attacked Obamacare and said he’d like to terminate it after a week of hearings where the Democrats’ central argument against Barrett was that she’s going to hear a case where the Trump admin is trying to invalidate the entirety of Obamacare. Throughout the town hall, Savannah Guthrie did some of the best real-time fact-checking of Trump I’ve seen. She was so effective that it triggered Trump’s misogyny, and he called her “cute” for pushing back.

Another disgraceful moment from President Trump this week was when he praised US Marshals for killing Michael Reinoehl. Trump said that they didn’t want to arrest him and just shot him. Trump seemingly confirmed The New York Times reporting that indicated US Marshals shot Reinoehl without identifying themselves and while he had a gun in his pocket. Witnesses say US Marshals didn’t identify themselves or make any attempt to arrest him. It’s looking more like an extrajudicial killing.

We also learned from Forbes that President Trump actually is in $1 billion in debt, not the previously reported $421 billion. Aside from corruptly trying to shut down probes into his family and prosecute his political targets, you can bet Trump’s second term would very much be focused on exploiting the US to service his debts. This is a national security threat.

But, of course, that second term is unlikely, and Senate Republicans know it. Multiple Republican senators have broken with Trump in recent days. Senator Ben Sasse and Mitt Romney spoke out against him, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to break with the Trump Administration by undercutting Trump’s COVID relief offer by over $1 trillion.  The clearest sign that Senate Republicans have abandoned Trump is their sudden return to fake fiscal conservatism instead of giving him a stimulus deal days before the election. This is post-Trump posturing. They’re prepping to cripple the incoming Biden Admin’s economy.

Yes, this does have echoes of October 2016, but I honestly think this time is different. Biden’s lead is wider, his favorables are better than Clinton’s, he’s cracking 50% which Clinton didn’t do consistently, and polling is more accurate now that it weighs education level. Also, most importantly, over 27 million Americans have already voted. No wild event like the Comey letter can change those votes already cast at these current polling margins.

Also, President Trump’s schemes are falling flat. Mainstream media isn’t buying any of the Hunter Biden nonsense. The Biden Campaign is also far from complacent and taking nothing for granted. The dynamics are also different. In 2016, Hillary Clinton was the functional incumbent, and Trump was running against decades of democrats distilled into one person. This time, Trump’s the incumbent, and his record is terrible.

Before we end this intro, let’s touch on the Amy Coney Barrett hearings. For an originalist, Barrett sure had a hard time interpreting the Constitution as it was written. Barret refused to say unconstitutional acts are unconstitutional, and illegal acts are illegal when they related to Trump’s conduct. I covered the whole hearing in-depth with The Independent, but here’s the bottom line:

Again, and again, and again, Barrett tiptoed around Trump’s conduct. It became so blatant that Senator Durbin joked about it during the hearing, saying that if he asked her if gravity exists she might say she can’t answer because it could be a case she might hear one day. Durbin said given all these non-answers, we have no choice now but to believe what President Trump said: Barrett was chosen to achieve his political goals. What other conclusion can we come to than that?

The official committee vote has now been officially scheduled for October 22nd, and Barrett is sure to pass. But the consequences are unlikely to go how Trumpist Republicans imagine. This move will only further motivate Democratic voters and increase the likelihood President Trump loses the presidency and Senator Mitch McConnell (D-KY) loses the Senate majority. Those Republicans sold their soul to President Trump in exchange for engineering a conservative judiciary. They got what they wanted. But will it have been worth it?

Let’s dive into another Unpresidented week.

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Amy Coney Barrett Hearing Day 1

Day 1,362: Monday, October 12

Monday’s top stories:

Amy Coney Barrett Hearing Day 2

Day 1,363: Tuesday, October 13

Senator Whitehouse (D-RI) outlining the dark money conservative machine that focuses on creating a conservative judiciary – October 13, 2020. (C-SPAN)

Senator Whitehouse (D-RI) outlining the dark money conservative machine that focuses on creating a conservative judiciary – October 13, 2020. (C-SPAN)

Tuesday’s top stories:

Amy Coney Barrett Hearing Day 3/NY Post Disinformation Campaign

Day 1,364: Wednesday, October 14

Wednesday’s top stories:

The Town Hall Contrast

Day 1,365: Thursday, October 15

Joe Biden (Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons) and Donald Trump (AP)

Joe Biden (Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons) and Donald Trump (AP)

Thursday’s top stories:

Another Russian Influence Operation?

Day 1,366: Friday, October 16

Rudy Giuliani speaking to supporters at an immigration policy speech hosted by Donald Trump at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona- August 13, 2016. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Rudy Giuliani speaking to supporters at an immigration policy speech hosted by Donald Trump at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona- August 13, 2016. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Friday’s top stories:

Rantt Media and ZipRecruiter

Unpresidented // 2020 / Amy Coney Barrett / Authoritarianism / Coronavirus / Donald Trump / Elections / Gretchen Whitmer / Joe Biden