An increasingly desperate Trump is looking for anything to throw at his challenger for the White House, Joe Biden. Which is why he accused a practising and devout Catholic of being “against God” in a garbled speech on Thursday.
Speaking in Ohio, Trump said of Biden:
[He’s got] no religion, no anything. Hurt the Bible, hurt God. He’s against God, he’s against guns.
He’s against energy, our kind of energy.
The latter line is somewhat new-age hippy but it was Trump’s comments about Biden and God that really ruffled some feathers.
In response, Biden said Trump’s attack was “shameful”. The former vice president has spoken extensively about how his faith helped him deal with the deaths of his first wife and daughter in 1972, and the later death of son Beau in 2015.
On balance, not the best attack line for Trump to pick.
2. When he continued trying to ban TikTok
Trump v. TikTok Teens....my bets on the teens #TikTok https://t.co/58PhH32kDG
Never has a grown man been so rattled by teenagers. Following disruption to the Trump re-election campaign, apparently carried out by teens who organised via social media platform TikTok, the president has increasingly viewed the app as a massive ‘threat’ to America.
The fact it has Chinese owners doesn’t help. Trump has a hostile relationship with China and recently has been accused of ramping up anti-China sentiment via racist remarks about coronavirus. He’s also cut off trade with the country.
Thanks to these factors, during the past month, he’s started threatening to ban TikTok. And on Friday he made his first attempt towards effectively doing that, signing an executive order banning all dealings and transactions between US companies and TikTok owners, ByteDance.
Its interpretation is up for debate (and almost certainly will head to courts) but Trump’s administration clearly wants companies like Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores, as vice president Mike Pence called for this week.
The executive order comes into force in 45 days which means there’s 45 days left for the teens to explode into full-blown revolution. And it will be live streamed.
3. When he called Thailand “Thighland”
Trump mispronounces Thailand as "Thighland" https://t.co/PgTRnHpAA8
Trump made the blunder while giving a speech about companies apparently outsourcing jobs there, saying:
Four or five years ago this place was a disaster.
In 2017 Whirlpool won relief from the ITC (US International Trade Commission) once again. Once more, your foreign competitors moved their factories to prevent a level playing field, and to avoid liability.
Shifting production to Thighland, and to Vietnam.
Great mirth ensued because we have to glean our laughs where we can.
Perhaps even funnier than Trump’s initial error was the attempt of Trump supporter Dinesh D’Souza at defending it by claiming it was how Thai people pronounced the word.
I’m highly amused to see supposedly sophisticated media types snickering at @realdonaldtrump for saying “Thighland.… https://t.co/jm4otQMzGJ
4. When he claimed the Beirut explosion had been an ‘attack’
The last thing needed after the horrific explosion in Beirut on Tuesday was Donald Trump speculating.
But despite it now seeming almost certain that the blast was accidental and caused by storing dangerous amounts of the explosive ammonium nitrate in warehouses by the port, Trump is insisting on referring to it as an “attack”.
He first insisted it was a “bomb” on Tuesday, saying:
I’ve met with some of our great generals and they just seem to feel that this was not some kind of a manufacturing explosion type of event.
It was a bomb of some kind.
The Pentagon later walked back his comments, with defence secretary Mark Esper calling it an “accident”.
Trump popped by his old pals at Fox and Friends on Wednesday to try and repair some of the damage done by Monday’s chat with HBO (which we’ll get onto).
What transpired in the next 53 minutes was, for the most part, incomprehensible but still managed to produce almost too many shocking claims to choose from.
However, Trump outdid himself when he claimed that children were “almost immune” from Covid-19 while talking about schools reopening.
“Schools should be open,” the president said.
“If you look at children – I would almost say definitely – they are almost immune from this disease.
“Hard to believe, I don’t know how you feel about it but they have much stronger immune systems”.
It was very hard to believe – because it wasn’t true.
In fact, it was so not true that both Twitter and Facebook removed videos of Trump making the claim on grounds that it was misinformation, a first for the latter.
6. When he mispronounced Yosemite National Park
At a signing of the Great American Outdoors Act, President Trump stumbled over the word “Yosemite” in his prepared… https://t.co/3MUPaBFQsR
— The New York Times (@The New York Times)
While announcing the passing of the Great Outdoors Act, which should provide more funding for the conservation of the American landscape, Trump showed just how much he treasured the natural wonders of the USA by mangling the name of one of its most famous national parks.
Yosemite (pronounced Yoh-sem-itee) National Park is a byword for the bountiful and beautiful natural paradise on offer in America. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions and is known for its valleys and waterfalls.
Trump, however, does not seem to be familiar with it, referring to it as “Yo-semites”.
"We want every American child to have access to have access to pristine outdoor spaces," he said in a pre-written speech.
"When young Americans experience the breathtaking beauty of the Grand Canyon. when their eyes widen in amazement as Old Faithful bursts into the sky, when they gaze upon Yo-semites – Yo-seminites – towering sequoias, their love of country grows stronger, and they know that every American has a duty to preserve this wondrous inheritance”.
Perhaps it’s time to turn that White House TV set to National Geographic's channel.
7. When he couldn’t understand how coronavirus death rates worked
Every single person in America needs to watch Jonathan Swan’s Axios interview with Trump. If you can still vote fo… https://t.co/Xpv2gGnsBQ
Trump’s interview with HBO’s Jonathan Swan went viral this week, after the reporter pleasantly ran rings around him, particularly when discussing the United States’ exceedingly high coronavirus death rates.
“That’s where the US is really bad,” Swan told Trump, regarding the death rates.
“Much worse than South Korea, Germany, etc.”
Trump was having none of it, saying: “You can’t do that [...] You have to go by the cases.”
Swan replied, baffled: “Why not as a proportion of the population?”
In reply, the president bizarrely said:
What it says is that when you have someone where there's a case, the people that live from those cases.
A back and forth ensued that was so surreal people thought it was a scene from some kind of mockumentary.
Sadly it wasn’t and it seems that Trump really does not understand what death rates adjusted to be proportionate of populations mean.
Or why it’s bad the US was registering 1,000 deaths a day.
But hey, at least we got this hilarious video of Trump interviewing himself out of it.
Ok. Who made this? It's genius. https://t.co/EkwG2RlDel
— The Lincoln Project (@The Lincoln Project)