A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 195th 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 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.
The President mentions the Governor of Michigan, the crowd chants lock her up, and the President says lock them all up pic.twitter.com/9wuB7blnoP
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) October 17, 2020
Not only did Trump launch relentless attacks on Whitmer, he basked in the brutalization of protestors.
“There’s something about that, when you watched everybody getting pushed around, there’s some very beautiful about it. I don’t care what anyone says. Not politically correct.” — Trump describes the National Guard getting into physical altercations with protesters as "beautiful” pic.twitter.com/04ax2wWKra
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 17, 2020
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.
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.Looking to make a difference? Consider signing one of these sponsored petitions:
Amy Coney Barrett Hearing Day 1
Day 1,362: Monday, October 12
Monday’s top stories:
- NBC News: With eye on election, Democrats hammer health care on first day of Barrett hearing
- The Washington Post: Sen. Lee, recently infected with coronavirus, speaks without a mask at Barrett hearing
- Orlando Sentinel: ‘I feel so powerful,’ President Trump declares at Sanford airport rally
- CNN: Senate Democrats seek answers on materials missing from Amy Coney Barrett’s Senate paperwork
- The Washington Post: A slim majority of voters oppose Barrett hearings, though a consistent majority support high court upholding Roe v. Wade, Post-ABC poll finds
- Axios: White House physician says Trump has tested negative with COVID rapid test
- Bloomberg: Trump’s Bid to Spark Stimulus Talks Fails to Break Stalemate
- Axios: Mark Meadows refuses to wear mask while talking to reporters outside Barrett hearing
- CBS News: Health officials sound alarm over surge of new coronavirus cases
- The Daily Beast: Thirteen States Set New Infection Records in Week Trump Insisted COVID Is ‘Disappearing’
- NPR: Scientists Confirm Nevada Man Was Infected Twice With Coronavirus
- CNN: Fauci says Trump campaign should take down ad featuring him
- Politico: Top general did not give his consent to be used in Trump political ad
- CNN: Twitter flags Trump’s false claim about his Covid-19 immunity. Facebook, however, does nothing
- The Washington Post: California GOP installed unofficial ballot drop-off boxes. State officials say they’re illegal.
- Politico: Regeneron CEO: Trump ‘is a case of one’ and ‘weakest evidence’ for Covid-19 treatment
- NBC News: Early voting begins in Georgia with long lines, high turnout
- CNN: Democrats have cast more than three-quarters of Pennsylvania early ballots so far
- Reuters: U.S. ethics groups say Barr uses DOJ as political tool, call for his impeachment
- Yahoo News/YouGov poll: As opposition to Trump’s pandemic approach grows, most voters want Senate to pass stimulus before considering Amy Coney Barrett
- The New York Times: North Korea Unveils What Appears to Be New ICBM During Military Parade
- Reuters: EU to sanction Russians over Navalny poisoning, diplomats say
- CNN: How Team Trump used Fox News as a laundromat for unverified Russian information about top Democrats
- NBC News: Roberta McCain, John McCain’s mother, dies at 108
- Los Angeles Times: LeBron James and Lakers defeat Heat in NBA Finals to capture record-tying 17th title
Amy Coney Barrett Hearing Day 2
Day 1,363: Tuesday, October 13
Tuesday’s top stories:
- BuzzFeed News: Judge Amy Coney Barrett Won’t Say How She’d Rule On Abortion, Healthcare, Same-Sex Marriage, Or The Election
- Mother Jones: Watch Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse school Amy Coney Barrett on dark money
- Business Insider: Amy Coney Barrett won’t say if presidents should commit to a peaceful transfer of power and if they can pardon themselves
- Vox: Amy Coney Barrett refused to say if Trump can delay the election. The correct answer is he can’t.
- Politico: Supreme Court allows Trump administration to end census count
- NPR: Despite Outbreak, Congress Takes Its Chances Without Widespread COVID-19 Testing
- Buzzfeed News: Two Major COVID Clinical Trials Were Paused Over Safety Concerns — Which Is Exactly How Trials Should Work
- The Washington Post: ‘Unmasking’ probe commissioned by Barr concludes without charges or any public report
- Reuters: Record early U.S. turnout with three weeks to go: Georgians, Texans line up to vote
- NBC News: Biden tells Florida seniors Trump thinks they’re ‘expendable,’ ‘forgettable’
- USA TODAY: ‘Would you please like me?’ Trump appeals to suburban women during Pennsylvania rally
- Newsweek: Maskless Ron DeSantis high-fives Trump supporters at packed Florida rally
- Yahoo News: McConnell laughs in debate when challenger Amy McGrath slams his COVID stimulus ‘dereliction’
- USA TODAY: Appeals court allows Texas governor to close multiple ballot drop-off sites
- CBS News: Trump files emergency request with Supreme Court to stop release of his tax returns
- NBC News: Fauci: I’m not going anywhere
- CNN: California authorities send cease and desist to state GOP over unofficial ballot drop boxes
- CNN: The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip, 3 weeks from Election Day
- Bloomberg: Singapore Marks Milestone in Virus Fight with No New Local Cases
- Politico: Another pro-Trump ad uses footage from Russia
- CNN: Justice Department files complaint against Melania Trump’s ex-friend over tell-all book
- Axios: Pelosi clashes with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer over COVID-19 stimulus, calls him a GOP “apologist”
- Rantt Media: Tackling Online Radicalization At Its Offline Roots
Amy Coney Barrett Hearing Day 3/NY Post Disinformation Campaign
Day 1,364: Wednesday, October 14
Wednesday’s top stories:
- Vox: 5 key moments from day 3 of Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court hearing
- CNN: Notre Dame calendars show more events not listed on Amy Coney Barrett’s Senate paperwork
- Mother Jones: Giuliani and the New York Post are pushing Russian disinformation. It’s a big test for the media.
- Engadget: Facebook and Twitter try to limit ‘NY Post’ story on Joe Biden’s son
- CNN: Exclusive: Feds chased suspected foreign link to Trump’s 2016 campaign cash for three years
- The New York Times: As Virus Spread Early On, Reports of Trump Administration Briefings Fueled Sell-Off
- The Washington Post: Across the country, Democratic enthusiasm is propelling an enormous wave of early voting
- NPR: Americans Are Dying In The Pandemic At Rates Far Higher Than In Other Countries
- USA TODAY: Melania Trump says son Barron tested positive for COVID-19, had no symptoms
- CNN: Labor secretary’s wife, who was at Rose Garden event, tests positive for coronavirus
- USA TODAY: Trump ‘army’ of poll watchers could frighten voters, incite violence, election officials warn
- Newsweek: Most Americans want senate vote on COVID stimulus before Amy Coney Barrett’s SC nomination: poll
- NBC News: NBC News to host town hall with Trump on Thursday
- NPR: In Swing States, Laws Add Pressure, Prevent Officials From Processing Ballots Early
- The Hill: Twitter removes fake accounts posing as Black Trump supporters
- Axios: Anti-Trump Lincoln Project raised $39.4 million in third quarter
- CNBC: Bill Gates slams U.S. on Covid: Most governments listen to their scientists, not attack them
- Reuters: No time for conviviality: France imposes curfews to beat back coronavirus
- USA TODAY: Alabama coach Nick Saban and athletic director Greg Byrne test positive for COVID-19
- Bloomberg: Russia Rules Out Nuclear Deal With Trump Before U.S. Election
- Rantt Media: How To Counter Radical Right Narratives Head On
The Town Hall Contrast
Day 1,365: Thursday, October 15
Thursday’s top stories:
- CNN: Trump and Biden focus on coronavirus in opening stages of dual town halls
- CNN: Biden lays out what his coronavirus response would have been, knocking Trump’s response
- Vox: The jarring contrast between Trump and Biden, explained in 3 moments from their competing town halls
- The Washington Post: Analysis | Rather than condemn the QAnon conspiracy theory, Trump elevates its dangerous central assertion
- CNN: Fact check: Trump falsely claims that 85% of people who wear masks get coronavirus
- Vox: Savannah Guthrie delivered the Trump interview we’ve been wanting for years
- USA TODAY: Amy Coney Barrett hearings conclude: Here’s what happens next in Supreme Court confirmation
- The Washington Post: White House was warned Giuliani was target of Russian intelligence operation to feed misinformation to Trump
- Forbes: Trump Praises U.S. Marshals Who Shot And Killed Antifa Activist
- Axios: Coronavirus cases are increasing in 38 states and D.C.
- The Hill: McConnell shoots down $1.8 trillion coronavirus deal, breaking with Trump
- CNN: Biden announces record $383 million fundraising haul for September
- CNN: Biden campaign halts Kamala Harris’ travel after two people in campaign’s orbit test positive for coronavirus
- NBC News: With a Graham hug, Feinstein draws liberal critics at Barrett hearing
- ProPublica: Inside the Fall of the CDC
- Reuters: Democrats urge early voting, massive turnout as Trump stokes fears of contested election
- NBC News: Poll: Biden continues to hold double-digit national lead over Trump
- Washington Examiner: Exclusive: GOP Sen. Sasse says Trump ‘kisses dictators’ butts’ and mocks evangelicals
- CNN: Republican Massachusetts governor will not support Trump’s reelection effort
- NBC News: Chris Christie says he was in ICU for 7 days battling Covid-19, urges Americans to wear masks
- Reuters: ‘Long COVID’ may affect multiple parts of body and mind, doctors say
- Newsweek: Lindsey Graham’s Challenger Jaime Harrison Takes Narrow Lead in New Poll
- NPR: Paris Under Curfew: Europe Reacts As Countries See Highest-Ever Coronavirus Numbers
- Politico: Adelsons pour $75M into last-ditch effort to save Trump
- Rantt Media: How Republicans Corrupted The Judiciary
Another Russian Influence Operation?
Day 1,366: Friday, October 16
Friday’s top stories:
- NBC News: Feds examining whether alleged Hunter Biden emails are linked to a foreign intel operation
- Forbes: Donald Trump Has At Least $1 Billion In Debt, More Than Twice The Amount He Suggested
- USA TODAY: COVID-19 cases in US grow at a speed not seen since July, the summer peak
- CNN: More people watched Biden on ABC than Trump on NBC, MSNBC and CNBC
- Politico: Supreme Court tees up census case over whether Trump can exclude undocumented immigrants
- Wall Street Journal: More Than 1,000 Current and Former CDC Officers Criticize U.S. Covid-19 Response
- CNN: Former White House chief of staff tells friends that Trump ‘is the most flawed person’ he’s ever met
- Reuters: Pelosi says she will probably talk to Mnuchin on coronavirus relief Sunday
- NPR: Michigan Bans Open Carry Of Guns At Polling Locations On Election Day
- NBC News: GOP Sen. Sasse unleashes scathing attack on Trump, ‘TV-obsessed’ narcissist
- CNN: Mitt Romney blasts Trump’s refusal to denounce QAnon
- CBS News: Republican Governor Larry Hogan casts write-in ballot for Ronald Reagan instead of voting for Trump
- NPR: Facing Many Unknowns, States Rush To Plan Distribution Of COVID-19 Vaccines
- CNN: More Americans fall into poverty after federal stimulus programs end
- Time: Harrison Ford Speaks Out Against Politicizing Climate Change
- The Guardian: Japan to release 1m tonnes of contaminated Fukushima water into the sea – reports
- Rantt Media: Ex-Trump Voters Tell Current Ones Why They Should Oppose Him