Previous “This Week in Trump” posts

Learn From Their Mistakes

Tuesday, April 21st, 2020

At around 12 PM on Monday, April 13th, shoemaker Rothy’s sent an email to their customers which included this ill-conceived note:

An email noting that Rothy's is donating masks with every purchase of shoes.

You, a tremendously intelligent reader of this site, may already be able to guess what happened next. Just nine hours later, Rothy’s sent an apologetic follow-up:

An email apologizing, and removing the sales-related portion of their mask donations.

In 2020, it seems far too many people view apologizing and taking responsibility as a sign of weakness. President Trump is an egregious offender in this department. He sets a terrible example for the entire country, and indeed, the world. His recent pathetic statement regarding America’s failures at testing for COVID-19 was hardly the stuff of great leadership:

“I don’t take responsibility at all,” Trump said defiantly, pointing to an unspecified “set of circumstances” and “rules, regulations and specifications from a different time.”

Compare that against the words of past presidents:

“I’m the responsible officer of the government,” John F. Kennedy said of the Bay of Pigs. “This happened on my watch,” Ronald Reagan said of Iran-Contra. “I take full responsibility for the federal government’s response,” George W. Bush said of Hurricane Katrina.

Rothy’s screwed up, a fact they were undoubtedly informed of by many customers. Within hours, they set about apologizing and making things right. That’s an example many companies, and many people, could learn to emulate.

Perhaps this incident might also serve as a more general warning to other marketers. Our already overfull inboxes are now absolutely bursting with COVID-19 related nonsense. Every day, innumerable emails assure us that so-and-so company is “there for us” in these “uncertain times”. If you’re a marketer, stop and think if your company actually needs to email your customers right now. You probably don’t, and ideally, you’d just stay quiet for a bit. If you do insist on emailing, at least take some time to think about your message. Maybe that way, you won’t need to send a follow-up apology email as well.

Wear a Mask

Thursday, April 9th, 2020

Let’s start with this: Right now, you should wear some sort of basic mask when you leave the house. You shouldn’t waste high-grade N95 respirators, which can be used by medical personnel. You should also continue to remain home as much as possible, keep washing your hands frequently, and stay six feet away from others when you do go out, even with a mask on. But when you’re out in public, a mask of any sort will be beneficial to both you and society.

You’ve likely seen that advice on wearing a mask has shifted over time in the United States, but since last week, the CDC has recommended it. One individual who’s been on the wrong side of nearly everything related to this pandemic has suggested he won’t wear a mask, noting nonsensically that it’s “just a recommendation”. This same gasbag has asked “What do you have to lose?” when suggesting taking a prescription drug with many serious side effects for an unproven, off-label purpose. Such a person should clearly be ignored as much as possible.

Common sense tells us that wearing a covering over the mouth and nose will help reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you have the virus and don’t know it, a mask will reduce the chances of you spreading it.1 It also reduces the odds of someone else transferring the virus to you. If you need more convincing, Maciej Cegłowski has you covered. If not, just remember that a mask protects others, it protects you, and hey, it’s something novel to do in a world that feels a bit stale.

Also, if you suddenly get the urge to rob a bank, you’ll already be dressed for the job.

Your humble author, wearing a face mask and looking not unlike a wild west bandit
At this point, I’m more likely to rob a barber, or at least put him to work.

As pictured above, I have winter running masks which I’ve found work well for daily use. Many people are using simple handkerchiefs and scarves, sewing their own masks, or digging out manufactured masks from home improvement projects. This is all excellent. Get on board!

Of course, businesses are jumping on the trend as well, in hopes of selling you a mask. Recently, I received an email from clothing retailer Jiffy Shirts, announcing their new cloth face covers available for sale (just $189 for 120 masks!). I was rather taken aback by the picture they used:

A man wearing a face mask with his ears sticking out in fairly ridiculous fashion
If that’s just how your ears are, well, I’m sorry my dude.

To be blunt, this is not a very appealing image. There seem to be two possibilities. Either these masks really pull your ears out in a most unattractive way, or Jiffy Shirts selected a model whose ears just stick out. Whichever the truth is, I think I’ll keep my $189, and keep using my running masks.

I hope you’ll all find suitable masks to wear in public as well. If you do purchase some of these (they have a 10 pack for $20), please send me some photos.


Footnotes:

  1. If you have the virus and do know it, you absolutely shouldn’t be going out at all. ↩︎

Train Wrecking

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

In California, a train engineer has admitted to deliberately running a train off the tracks near the USNS Mercy hospital ship, in an apparent attempt to…well, it’s not entirely clear. Almost certainly, it involves some sort of conspiracy theory though.

In his first interview with Los Angeles port police, Moreno acknowledged that he “did it,” saying he was suspicious of the Mercy and believed it had an alternative purpose related to COVID-19 or a government takeover, the affidavit states.

The Mercy was brought in to help treat non-COVID-19 patients, as a way of reducing the strain on the local health care system. Unfortunately, conspiracy theorizing has found tremendous new life in Donald Trump’s America, and it’s bad for us all.

On a related note, who knew “train wrecking” was a federal crime?

Avoid Touching Your Face, but Sometimes a Facepalm Is Required 

Monday, March 23rd, 2020

Dr. Anthony Fauci seems to be one of the only adults in the room when it comes to the White House’s pandemic response, and I’m not sure how he can stand it. His chat with Science magazine was enlightening.

This Was a Scripted Speech 

Thursday, March 12th, 2020

Last night, Donald Trump briefly addressed the nation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to accidentally airing the president of the United States muttering “Aww, fuck”, the speech contained a rather shocking number of errors and falsehood, which needed to be corrected immediately afterwards.

Rather than allaying fears, the speech proved the most clear evidence yet that Donald Trump is dangerously unqualified for his present job.

Impeached President Donald Trump 

Thursday, December 19th, 2019

Yesterday evening, the US House of Representatives voted in favor of two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. The articles of impeachment charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, in relation to his withholding crucial military aid from Ukraine to pressure the country for personal favors.

Despite a mountain of evidence, not a single registered Republican in the House had the backbone to put country over party. There’s little hope we’ll see better from the Senate, where a 67 senator supermajority would need to vote to remove Trump from office, and Republicans hold control. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated outright that he’s “not an impartial juror”, despite the fact that he must soon swear an oath to be impartial. It is likely Trump will be acquitted in 2020, and this nightmare will continue for at least one more year.

Nevertheless, this impeachment is important. Regardless of the outcome in the Senate, these articles of impeachment signal that illegal and unconscionable behavior by officials is dangerous for the perpetrator, and unacceptable to the system. I hope to be pleasantly surprised by a Senate that does what it clearly ought to do, but I doubt very highly that that’s what will happen. Still, at the very least, Donald Trump can now forever be referred to as “Impeached President Donald Trump”. It’s not nothing.

I Want Any Reality But This 

Thursday, November 21st, 2019

You likely already saw the viral photograph of Donal Trump’s ridiculous notes, shot just yesterday. Here it is again:


Not to be overlooked, there’s also a printed-out tweet under there, likely part of a stack of “reading matrial” for Trump’s helicopter ride.

Wired has a brief interview with Mark Wilson, who captured the likely-to-be-iconic shot.

No Wall Lasts Forever 

Monday, November 11th, 2019

In commemoration of the fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago, a pro-democracy nonprofit in Germany has sent Donald Trump a not-so-little gift.

Not a Great Gig 

Friday, November 8th, 2019

A headline like “Rudy Hires New Lawyers To Stand By Helplessly And Watch Him Admit To Crimes On Twitter” is really just a delight to read. If you enjoy that story, don’t miss “Rudy Giuliani Prepares For One Million Legal Cases By Firing His Lawyer” either.

Don’t Make Us Say No 

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

You likely saw that Donald Trump attended game 5 of the World Series on Sunday, where he was loudly booed. A look at his loathsome face when this occurred shows that the booing may have even briefly given him a moment of realization that, yes, many, many people rightly despise him. I can’t say I have any hope that such a realization will stick, nor that it will result in any change in his awful behavior, but it’s not nothing.

Even better, however, was this tidbit from an article on the booing:

Trump did not sit with the Lerner family, the principal owners of the Nationals. A representative for the Lerner family put in a request to MLB to not be put in position to turn down a request from the White House to sit with Trump, according to WUSA.

Yes, it appears that the Lerner family had no desire to sit with Trump. They went so far as to ask Major League Baseball to help them avoid needing to turn down the president. That’s quite something.