Mr. Trump had already been on the defensive on Friday after telling CNN that he still believed the exonerated defendants known as the Central Park Five were guilty of a 1989 rape of a female jogger despite DNA evidence to the contrary that later overturned their convictions. Earlier in the day, he also asserted, again without evidence, that the Obama administration was allowing illegal immigrants to enter the country in order to vote in November.Also in the last week, The New York Times reported that Mr. Trump had declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a tax deduction so substantial it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years.
As recently as Monday -- just six days ago -- much of the political world was marveling at how awful the previous week had been for Donald Trump. As we discussed at the time, it started with a debate the candidate obviously lost and it ended with a bizarre series of middle-of-the-night tweets in which the Republican feuded with a former Miss Universe -- including his call to Americans to watch a "sex tape" that doesn't exist.An NBC News analysis described it as possibly "the worst week in presidential campaign history," and at the time, that seemed more than fair.And then last week happened.Obviously, the audio of Trump bragging about sexual assault has rocked and the presidential campaign and Republican politics, but it was just part of a week like no other.
We can keep going down the same road.This was the week Trump suggested veterans with PTSD aren't "strong" enough to "handle" combat. It was the week a state attorney general's office ordered the scandal-plagued Trump Foundation to stop fundraising. It was the week another Trump Playboy video surfaced.It was the week we learned Trump's own lawyers don't trust him to be honest with them. It was the week Trump told swing state voters he knows better than they do about how to pronounce their state's name. It was the week the GOP candidate threatened a trade war with China if the foreign rival threatened his business interests.And it was the week dozens of Republican officials officially gave up on supporting his presidential candidacy.The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza put it this way: "Donald Trump has made a lot of history during his run for the White House in this election. He can add another history-making moment to that list: He had the Worst Week ever in Washington. Congrats, or something."Keep in mind that Trump may yet make things even worse in about six hours -- when the second presidential debate gets underway.