The Trump presidency is at its absolute lowest point
Everywhere Donald Trump looks right now, he sees political fires that threaten to engulf his presidency.
The Supreme Court, with two hand-picked Trump approved justices, has handed the President two stunning rebukes in the last week - one on gay, lesbian and transgender rights in the workplace and the other, on Thursday morning, blocking the President from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for children brought to America illegally.
In Congress, Senate Republicans have shown increasing willingness to buck Trump. On Wednesday alone, every GOP senator wore a mask at a press conference announcing a package of police reforms. Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander insisted that there will be a second surge of the coronavirus and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley announced he would block future legislation until the White House explains its recent spate of firings of inspectors general.
Trump's repeated attempts to suggest that the United States has effectively beaten the coronavirus are belied daily by reports that almost half the states in the country are experiencing an increase in cases. His push to return to the campaign trail on Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is widely regarded as endangering public health.
Trump's absolutely tone-deaf response to the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis - most notably a photo-op of Trump holding a Bible outside of St. John's church in Washington - has been roundly criticized, including by many top former White House officials. "Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people - does not even pretend to try," said former Defense Secretary James Mattis earlier this month. "Instead he tries to divide us."
Another former Trump administration official, national security adviser John Bolton, is out with a memoir of his time in the White House that suggests, among other things, that Trump sought the help of the Chinese president in his 2020 reelection race and seemingly approved of the use of concentration camps by China.
Bolton, in an interview with ABC News, said that Trump is not "fit for office" and doesn't have "the competence to carry out the job."
This series of body blows has badly damaged Trump's chances of winning a second term. His approval rating collapsed over the last month in Gallup polling. CNN's latest national poll shows Trump trailing former Vice President Joe Biden by 14 points. Swing-state polling shows similar gaps widening between Biden and Trump.
Add it all up and you get this: In a roller-coaster presidency, this is the lowest Trump has ever been.
And that's even taking his impeachment into account!
Why? Unlike his impeachment by the House of Representatives earlier this year, Trump's actions over the past month (or so) have led to a shrinkage in his support rather than a rallying effect amongst his base.
It's too soon to declare Trump's presidency over - there are still 138 days before the November election - but there's no question that he now faces longer odds than ever before in his bid to win a second term.
As he so often does when faced with facts he doesn't like, Trump turns to favorable outlets - and to Twitter - to seek to create his own reality.
"If you look at the polls, we're way ahead of sleepy Joe in terms of enthusiasm," Trump told Fox News Sean Hannity in a phone interview on Wednesday night. "We have enthusiasm like they have never seen before, actually. And Joe has the lowest, I hear, enthusiasm on record." (Um, no.)
Of the coronavirus, Trump said: "I don't even like to talk about that, because it's fading away. It's going to fade away." This week 10 states reported their highest number of coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.
Following the Supreme Court's DACA ruling Thursday, Trump tweeted this:
"These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives. We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd. Amendment & everything else. Vote Trump 2020!"
He then added in a subsequent tweet: "Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn't like me?" (Trump has appointed two Justices -- Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts as well as Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito were also appointed by Republican presidents.)
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal released Thursday afternoon, Trump seems to take credit for drawing attention to Juneteenth, a day of remembrance commemorating the official end of slavery in the United States.
"I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous," said Trump. "It's actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it." Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia celebrate Juneteenth as a holiday.
Trump's retreat into an alternate reality, however, won't change the actual reality. No matter how many tweets he send or how many adoring fans he packs into an indoor arena in Tulsa on Saturday, the facts are these: Trump is not only faced with the worst political outlook of his presidency but is also facing signs of a revolt from within his own party and even among those who he once relied on as trusted advisers.
Trump likes to insist that he does best when all is chaos around him and when people are counting him out. Now's his chance to prove it -- because digging out of the hole he has made for himself will be a massive task.
A federal judge has ordered two leaders of the far-right Proud Boys group to be detained in jail pending trial for their involvement in the 6 January attack on the Capitol in Washington DC. Both were indicted in one of many Proud Boys conspiracy cases to stem from the investigation into the assault on the building that followed a pro-Donald Trump rally.
It’s official: The Trump campaign colluded with Russia. In an explosive development, the Biden administration confirmed that a Russian government agent with close connections to Donald Trump’s top 2016 campaign official “provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and [Trump] campaign strategy.”
A data breach at a Christian crowdfunding website has revealed that serving police officers and public officials have donated money to fundraisers for accused vigilante murderers, far-right activists, and fellow officers accused of shooting black Americans. In many of these cases, the donations were attached to their official email addresses, raising questions about the use of public resources in supporting such campaigns.
A policy platform for the group, which calls itself the America First Caucus, declares that "a certain intellectual boldness is needed" in order to "follow in President Trump’s footsteps, and potentially step on some toes and sacrifice sacred cows for the good of the American nation." The seven-page document, first obtained by Punchbowl News, is explicit in its nativist rhetoric and describes American culture as dominated by "Anglo-Saxon" and European influences.