Power Ranking Donald Trump’s Amazing Week
Was it the most batshit crazy week in American political history?
What a week. Right, guys? What a week.
It’s like President Trump knows you think he can’t possibly top some crazy shit he did last week, so he decides to show just what kind of damage he can do when he puts his mind to it.
This week was so epic that it’s hard to grasp everything that happened. Trump is a master of creating a new controversy in order to push the last one down the page. Before long, you’re forgetting the unprecedented thing he did just yesterday.
Fortunately, that’s why power rankings were invented. So let’s take a look at perhaps the most batshit crazy week in American history.
1. Trump fires FBI Director James Comey
It was a crazy week even by Trump standards, but there has never been a more obvious number one, in any ranking or list since the dawn of humanity.
The president of the United States fired the man leading an investigation into whether or not the president’s campaign colluded with a foreign power to influence the election in his favor.
I repeat: The president of the United States fired the man leading an investigation into whether or not the president’s campaign colluded with a foreign power to influence the election in his favor.
It is unthinkable for a president to do what Trump did. And yet, here we are. This is our new normal. This is what America has to live with.
2. Trump says he was thinking of the Russia investigation when he decided to fire Comey
I think my favorite part of the week, personally, is when Trump’s spokespeople scrambled to come up with a story for Comey’s firing, telling the press that Comey was axed because of the way he treated Hillary Clinton last year. And they said all of this with a straight face and expected us to believe it. They were lying, but at least they were lying together.
The truly great part came a few days later when Trump, while being interviewed by Lester Holt, was like, nah, I’d already decided to fire him regardless what Jeff Sessions or Rod Rosenstein wrote in their letters, and actually I was thinking about the Russia investigation when I decided to shitcan him.
Yep. The president admitted to firing Comey because of the Russia investigation (and also because Trump doesn’t like when other people get more attention than Trump).
And not only that, he instantly blew up any chance of the sane portion of the American public ever believing anything out of the White House again, and let me tell you, that chance was already pretty fucking small to begin with.
Maybe he just wants to make things quick and painless for Congress when the inevitable impeachment proceedings begin? If so, that’s pretty thoughtful of him.
3. Trump threatens Comey with release of secret recording of a Trump/Comey dinner
The reaction to Trump’s latest assault on American democracy drew swift condemnation from nearly everyone.
Well, everyone but Republicans (with a few exceptions) in Congress, who fell all over each other in their attempts to show who could shed their integrity the quickest.
But the airwaves and newspapers were filled with resounding criticism, and you just knew Trump was going to see all of it back at the White House because he watches TV and shouts at the news instead of being president. And you KNEW Trump wasn’t going to take it lying down and that a dark tweetstorm was brewing.
He did not disappoint, firing off late night and early morning missives targeting Democrats, repeatedly claiming the Russia thing is bullshit, squabbling with mortal enemy Rosie O’Donnell and really just playing the hits that helped him win over the hearts and minds of people everywhere.
But Friday morning’s tweetstorm produced the real gem of the week.
The president just threatened a former FBI director with secret recordings of their conversation in the White House. This is essentially blackmail.
4. Trump says he made up a financial phrase that was coined almost 100 years ago
So Trump was talking to The Economist this week and asked them if they’d heard the phrase “prime the pump.”
“Have you heard that expression used before? Because I haven’t heard it. I mean, I just … I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good. It’s what you have to do.”
Donald Trump claimed he made up the phrase “prime the pump,” which is a phrase that has been widely used since at least the 1930’s.
You just KNEW everyone’s favorite snarky-ass Twitter dictionary Merriam-Webster wasn’t gonna let that one slide without a subtweet.
5. Trump destroys his own administration’s narrative on Comey firing
After Trump fired Comey, his press office (which had no idea the firing was coming until just before it happened) scrambled to try and cover the president’s ass.
And to their credit, they kinda came up with a cohesive story and then stuck to the script as they went out on all the cable TV shows they knew the president would be watching.
It was all for nothing, of course, because two days later Trump pretty much told Lester Holt that everything Spicer and Sanders and Conway said was utter bullshit. He didn’t fire Comey because of the Clinton investigation or because of the recommendations from Sessions and Rosenstein. He fired Comey because Comey was investigating him and because Comey was getting too much attention in the press.
6. Trump demanded Comey pledge his loyalty to him
What in the actual fuck? This makes me wonder if every White House staffer had to pledge themselves to this sick old man.
7. Trump shows Time reporters his favorite invention, the Tivo
My favorite media this week came from Time Magazine and their “Donald Trump After Hours” profile. I take issue with the title because it gives me nightmares, but the story itself is gold. The one thing that sticks out to me is Trump taking reporters to his private dining room in the White House, eager to show them something.
And of course, what he wanted to show them was the new 60" television he’d had installed because he’s a 12 year old. He fires up the TV and shows them highlights from a congressional hearing, pulling quotes out of context in attempts to claim vindication on some of his ludicrous claims since assuming the office.
And this is a real weird scene, so I’m just going to let you read it.
The next clip starts to play, this time showing Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley asking Clapper and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates if they ever requested that the names of Trump, his associates or members of Congress be identified by name, or unmasked, in a legal intelligence intercept. “Watch them start to choke like dogs,” Trump says, having fun. “Watch what happens. They are desperate for breath.”
Clapper, on the screen, pauses several beats to search his memory. “Ah, he’s choking. Ah, look,” the President says. After a delay, Clapper finally answers, admitting that he had requested an unmasking, which would have been a routine occurrence in his former job. The running Trump commentary continues. “See the people in the back, people are gasping,” he says, though it’s unclear who he is referring to on the screen. He also mentions the sound of photographers’ cameras clicking on the television.
Moments later, the President watches as both Clapper and Yates testify that they had reviewed intercepts containing the unmasked identities of Trump, his associates and members of Congress. This, to Trump, is yet another victory, the lead-lined proof of his still unproven claim that Obama surveilled him before he was sworn in. “So they surveilled me,” he says. “You guys don’t write that — wiretapped in quotes. They surveilled me.”
You really have to read the whole story. It’s got some great stuff about how Trump’s dining staff makes sure he gets one more scoop of ice cream than everyone else at dinner. Oh, and there’s this:
But for now, Trump is focused on his TV. He watches the screen like a coach going over game tape, studying the opposition, plotting next week’s plays. “This is one of the great inventions of all time — TiVo,” he says as he fast-forwards through the hearing.
You can’t make this shit up.
8. Sean Spicer refuses to deny the White House secretly recorded Comey. Trump refuses to say Spicer will keep his job.
Spicer returned to the podium and the airwaves on Friday after Sarah Huckabee Sanders showed everyone that Spicer isn’t the only human in that White House who can lie to the press. And then he refused to confirm or deny that the White House secretly recorded James Comey, as Trump intimated this morning. And then he refused again. And then again.
Three times the White House spokesman opted to forego the chance to tell the world that no, his boss did not illegally record the FBI director. The reporters in the press room were making it so easy. But he refused. Part of me wants to believe he refused because he’s finally had enough of this bullshit and wasn’t about to cover for Trump’s lunacy anymore.
Oh, and Spicer apparently didn’t get the memo about Trump’s interview on Thursday, because he once again said Trump made the Comey decision based on the recommendations.
And of course Trump was interviewed by Jeanine Pirro and refused several times to confirm Spicer’s future in the role.
To top it off, cameras caught Melissa McCarthy rolling around Manhattan on Friday morning on her custom Segway outfitted with Spicer’s press room podium, ostensibly for her Saturday Night Live hosting gig tomorrow. Trump is a big fan of McCarthy’s portrayals of Spicer, as we all know.
“See you Monday,” Spicer said when he left the stage. Perhaps, Sean. But it’s not looking good.
9. Trump says we can’t always expect his spokespeople to be accurate, threatens to cancel press briefings
Trump went back to the hits on this one, trying to distract the media from his self-created Comey troubles by threatening the media with no more press briefings.
Thing is, that tactic doesn’t work like it used to. Boy who cried wolf and whatnot. And the press just kept reporting on the stuff Trump didn’t want them reporting on.
Oh, and Trump claimed his spokespeople wouldn’t always be accurate because he’s a very active president and you can’t expect them to have updated information.
Which is nonsense, of course, as former press secretary Josh Earnest noted.
10. White House claims FBI agents were thrilled at Comey’s firing, which is later shown to be bullshit
Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed FBI agents were celebrating Comey’s departure and that Comey committed “atrocities” as FBI director, which is not the right word at all but whatever.
She also said the Russia investigation was one of the smallest things on the FBI’s plate at the moment.
Well, it turns out FBI agents loved Comey and were pissed off, and it’s always good when the FBI is angry at you.
The source of this information? Andrew McCabe, the man who replaced Comey. McCabe was on his second day of the job as acting director and was already up on the hill telling the world the White House was full of shit.
“Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI, and still does today,” McCabe said. McCable also contradicted Sanders by saying the Russia investigation is one of the most significant things the FBI is tasked with at the moment.
How did Sanders explain away her fiction? By claiming she was in the dark when she answered the questions since she hadn’t spoken to her boss. If that’s true (and it probably is), it’s no wonder Trump is a big fan of her work. For all of Spicer’s faults, he at least tells you when he doesn’t have an answer to your question.
And McCabe showed he wasn’t likely going to be someone who defers to the White House, which almost certainly means he’ll be looking for a new job by this evening.