Donald Trump has been President for 30 weeks – or 210 days if you are counting.
He’s had a handful – two-ish? – weeks that could reasonably be described by neutral observers as “good.” The rest of his weeks as President fall somewhere between not very good and disastrously bad.
But what are the absolute worst weeks Trump has endured?
Below, I’ve ranked Trump’s six worst weeks. (I am defining a week for the purposes of this discussion as Monday-Sunday.) What weeks did I miss? Send me an email at email@example.com and I’ll add to this post if need be!
6. February 27-March 5
On March 2, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the ongoing FBI probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election – a decision that not only caught Trump by surprise but made him very angry. (Months later, Trump would still be fuming at Sessions for that decision, believing, wrongly, that it led to the appointment of a special prosecutor.)
“This whole narrative is a way of saving face for Democrats losing an election that everyone thought they were supposed to win,” Trump tweeted. “The Democrats are overplaying their hand. They lost the election, and now they have lost their grip on reality.”
Two days later, Trump – on an early Saturday morning at Mar-a-Lago, tweeted this: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” He went on to tweet that President Obama was a “bad (or sick) guy.”
Thus began a months-long (and still ongoing) attempt by Trump’s senior staff to find something (anything!) that backed up this claim. So far: Nothing.
5. June 5-11
The week began with Trump undermining his own administration – and his own past assertions – on the so-called “travel ban.” Tweeted Trump: “The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.”
Trump also attacked London Mayor Sadiq Khan for his response to the terror attacks on June 3 in his city. “Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his ‘no reason to be alarmed’ statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!,” tweeted Trump. (Trump misinterpreted Khan’s comments; the mayor was trying to calm Londoners by telling them not to be alarmed by the increased police presence in the wake of the attack.)
Then came the big, bad moment of the week for Trump: Fired FBI Director James Comey’s testimony in front of Congress. Comey’s written testimony delivered a series of body blows to Trump – including that the President asked for Comey’s loyalty at a January 27 dinner at the White House and urged Comey to “let go” of the FBI investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn at a White House meeting on Feb. 14.
4. March 20-26
Comey, pre-firing, testifies on Capitol Hill and says two very bad things for Trump: 1) He confirms that the ongoing FBI investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election includes looking into whether any Trump campaign aides aided the foreign government in its efforts and 2) He says, in stark terms, that there is zero evidence for Trump’s claim that Obama ordered Trump Tower be wire-tapped in the 2016 election.
Trump’s approval rating also hits a low ebb, dipping to 37% in Gallup’s daily tracking.
Perhaps the biggest blow falls on Friday, March 24, when House Republicans pull the legislation aimed at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act in an acknowledgment that it lacks the votes to pass.
“ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!,” tweets Trump.
3. May 8-14
Trump fires Comey on Tuesday May 9, a decision that is met with stunned surprise, which quickly turns to condemnation on all sides. Talk of obstruction of justice in the Russia probe goes from a whisper to a scream. The firing leads – 9 days later – to the appointment of Bob Mueller as special counsel to take over the Russia investigation.
After his White House works to trace the Comey firing to a memo outlining his many mistakes in the 2016 election penned by deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Trump does an interview with Lester Holt in which he tells the NBC anchor: “What I did is I was going to fire Comey, my decision. I was going to fire regardless of recommendation. (Rosenstein) made a recommendation. He’s highly respected. Very good guy, very smart guy, the Democrats like him, the Republicans like him, he made a recommendation. But regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey.”
Trump then tweets this: “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” It will be several months before Trump admits there is no recording system in the White House.
Trump meets with Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office. Pictures emerge of the three men looking positively jovial. We later learn that Trump not only shared privileged intelligence regarding ISIS’ bomb-making capabilities with the two Russians but also told them that a “great weight” had been lifted by firing Comey, who he called a “nut job.”
2. July 24-30
On Monday night, Trump jets to West Virginia to address the Boy Scouts. He delivers a rambling and heavily political speech, which the Boy Scouts head later apologizes for.
Rumors of widespread staff departures circulate. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is forced to go on the record to make clear he is staying put. (One plus: That speculation gives birth to the amazing term “Rexit.”)
By Thursday, newly installed White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci has become a massive national story – thanks to an off-the-rails interview with CNN’s “New Day” and then an even more explosive interview with the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza. In the Lizza interviews, Scaramucci calls chief of staff Reince Priebus a “paranoid schizophrenic” and alleges that chief strategist Steve Bannon is way more flexible than he looks.
Early Friday morning, three Republican senators vote against health care reform, dooming the legislation and almost certainly ending Republicans’ 7-plus year campaign to repeal and replace the ACA.
Later that day, Trump travels to Long Island where he delivers a speech to law enforcement officers in which he openly condones rough(er) treatment of criminals. When he returns to Washington later that day, Trump announces Priebus has been fired and John Kelly, the secretary of Homeland Security, has been installed as his new chief of staff.
1. August 14-20
Technically, this week isn’t over yet – Trump still has 48 hours to make it even worse. But, even if he does nothing bad between now and Sunday, the damage done to not only to his presidency but also the Republican party and the country is significant.
Trump’s “on many sides” initial response to the violence involving white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia was bad enough. But Trump’s off-the-rails press conference Tuesday in which he doubled down on the idea that “both sides” deserved blame for Charlottesville was the single lowest point of his presidency. It took “bad” and made it “truly horrible.”
By Thursday, Trump was defending the “culture” being destroyed by those who push to remove Confederate statues. “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” he tweeted.
Also on Thursday, following a terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, Trump tweets a reference to a false story about General Pershing murdering 49 Filipino POWs by shooting them with bullets dipped in pig’s blood.
On Friday, Trump got rid of Bannon.