It’s been nearly 20 years since its release, but there’s a scene early on in “Office Space” that keeps coming to mind. Peter Gibbons, feeling depressed, goes to see a therapist and explains his state of mind.
“So I was sitting in my cubicle today,” our protagonist says, “and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that’s on the worst day of my life.”
The intrigued therapist asks, “What about today? Is today the worst day of your life?”
Without hesitation, Peter responds, “Yeah,” to which the therapist replies, “Wow, that’s messed up.”
I was reminded of the scene this morning reading NBC News’ First Read, which labeled this the worst week of Donald Trump’s presidency.
For a presidency that’s contained some ups and many more downs, this has been President Trump’s worst week in office – highlighted by his controversial comments about Saturday’s violence in Charlottesville.
The analysis strikes me as entirely fair; this week has been truly abysmal. Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, for example, has been a debacle for the ages. As the backlash to his defense of racists continued, the president also feuded with his ostensible Republican allies, and saw his corporate allies flee White House councils, deeming Trump too toxic to be around.
An ABC News piece this morning added, “This week has arguably been the worst in his presidency and has left members of his party unsure how to pick up the pieces.”
Which brings us back to “Office Space” and Peter Gibbons.
To paraphrase the aforementioned script, I was sitting at my desk today and I realized, ever since Trump became president, every single week of his tenure has been worse than the week before it. So that means that every single week that we see him, that’s the worst week of his presidency.
What about this week? Is this week the worst of his presidency?
Yeah, it is, which is messed up.
National Journal published a piece today noting that various outlets started declaring Trump’s “worst week” to date in March, and the label picked up steam over the summer.
None of this could prepare you for the number of times Trump’s weeks in July and August were to be condemned…. Mother Jones on July 26 said, “It’s Been a Week From Hell for Trump’s Cabinet, and It’s Only Wednesday.” The next day, The San Diego Union-Tribune, in a now-familiar refrain, wrote of “President Trump’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.” The next day, MSNBC saw “President Trump’s worst week yet.” The Political Insider blog tweaked that a little, calling it “Donald Trump’s worst week – so far.” Business Insider wrote that Trump “may have just had his worst week yet.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution simply declared it “Trump’s worst week.” The Boston Globe put it in a question: “Was this Trump’s worst week ever?” The Atlantic was more certain: “Trump’s Worst Week Yet.”
The implication of the National Journal piece seemed to be that various media professionals use the phrase too often. I disagree. Those previous assessments about Trump’s worst weeks were entirely fair and rooted in fact. The trouble isn’t that the media has gotten lazy about the “worst week” label; the trouble is that Donald J. Trump’s presidency is an unnatural disaster that keeps getting worse.
Indeed, in early August, the Daily Beast ran a piece that said it was Trump’s “worst week since last week.” And therein lies the point: Trump’s cascading catastrophes sit upon a foundation of previous catastrophes.
It’s like reaching the top of a mountain of failure that continues to steadily grow. Just because we reached the pinnacle last week doesn’t mean this week’s peak won’t reach new heights.