This Is Not Normal, October 7, 2019 – October 13, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to make a significant foreign policy and military decision on the spur of the moment, with no apparent long-term strategy or plan, shocking and betraying allies and surprising his own closest advisers.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president, when reminded that his surprise decision would lead to the release of ISIS fighters, replied that the release would not be a problem since the fighters would be escaping to Europe.
  • It is NOT NORMAL, or at least not wise, for the president to criticize the former vice president’s son for his business ties to foreign countries when his own children have done business in Indonesia, India, China, Scotland, and other foreign countries during his presidency.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a career diplomat, dismissed from her position in Ukraine, testified that under the current administration, businesspeople seeking profits or prominence were sabotaging the work of foreign policy professional and that the president and other officials were being manipulated through “fiction and innuendo.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the White House is explicitly refusing to cooperate with any subpoenas or document requests from the House of Representatives on the grounds that an impeachment inquiry “seek[s] to overturn the results of the 2016 election.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that two Ukrainian associates of the president’s current lawyer, who were also involved in the president’s push to get Ukraine to investigate conspiracy theories about the 2016 election as well as the son of the former vice president, were arrested for campaign finance violations. Also NOT NORMAL: the president’s lawyer is under investigation for similar crimes (not to be confused with the president’s former lawyer, who is in prison for campaign finance violations of a different sort).
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the ambassador to the European Union reportedly plans to testify that although the president told him there was no quid pro quo (i.e., military and financial assistance to Ukraine in exchange for politically motivated investigations), he did not know that there was actually no quid pro quo.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president continues to fight turning over his tax returns to prosecutors despite promising in 2016 that he would (like the vast majority of presidential contenders) voluntarily release them to the public.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the attorney general spends his taxpayer-funded time pursuing politically motivated investigations into the president’s opponents.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president refuses to be properly briefed for phone calls with foreign leaders, sometimes hands the phone to his daughter during such calls, and later tries to throw away the briefings for the calls, even though doing so is illegal.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that in a campaign rally speech in Minnesota, the president said that officials had sent “large numbers of refugees to your state from Somalia without considering the impact on schools and communities and taxpayers,” which certainly sounds super-racist.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be our long national nightmare. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • repeatedly attempt to justify his capitulation to Turkey and Russia, arguing that he was motivated by his desire to end “endless wars” and achieve world peace;
    • refer to his “great and unmatched wisdom,” apparently in all seriousness;
    • claim multiple times that the United States had captured “100% of the ISIS Caliphate” (no);
    • claim that he could not send the ambassador to the European Union to testify before Congress because “he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court” (the ambassador has been subpoenaed and will testify this week);
    • refer to “Crooked Hillary Clinton” yet again (twice in one tweet, no less);
    • complain repeatedly about the mayor of Minneapolis, who made the president’s campaign pay in advance for security because the president had stiffed other cities in the past (if you’ve read anything about Trump University, you know that this was quite prudent of the mayor);
    • tweet that “Gasoline Prices in the State of California are MUCH HIGHER than anywhere else in the Nation ($2.50 vs. $4.50). I guess those very expensive and unsafe cars that they are mandating just aren’t doing the trick! Don’t worry California, relief is on the way. The State doesn’t get it!” (that is . . . not how that works? California has high gas prices and recently, refinery outages have lowered the supply of gas, driving prices up, which I’m sure you all learned about in ninth-grade economics);
    • again call the impeachment inquiry “The Greatest Witch Hunt in the history of the USA!” (it isn’t);
    • insult the whistleblower repeatedly, even though the transcript voluntarily released by his own administration backs up the whistleblower’s account;
    • call the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee “a disgrace to our Country!”;
    • claim that polls show “Only 25 percent want the President impeached” (recent polls show the actual percentage at or near 50 percent);
    • complain about the Fox News polling operation (which is actually highly regarded), saying bluntly that “Whoever their Pollster is, they suck” and concluding “Oh well, I’m President!”;
    • tweet cryptically upon the announcement that a Fox News anchor was resigning, “Is he leaving due to bad ratings, or some other less important reason?”;
    • tweet “WHERE’S HUNTER?” sans context;
    • complain about the criminal investigation into his attorney; and
    • tweet that “CHINA HAS ALREADY BEGUN AGRICULTURAL PURCHASES FROM OUR GREAT PATRIOT FARMERS & RANCHERS!”, which sounds like something that Kim Jong Un would say.
  • There was also a lot of retweeting terrible people.
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This Is Not Normal, September 30, 2019 – October 6, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that in various phone calls deliberately hidden from public and congressional view, the president (a) told the president of Russia, who interfered in the 2016 presidential election, that he was a great leader; (b) promised to help Saudi Arabia enter the Group of Seven, an alliance of democratic economies; (c) pushed the prime minister of Japan to nominate him for a Nobel Peace Prize; and (d) defending the president of Russia to the former prime minister of Great Britain when Russia was accused of attempting to murder a former Russian spy in England.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s former lawyer consulted with the president’s imprisoned former campaign chairman in his efforts to force Ukraine to investigate the 2016 election and the son of the former vice president of the United States.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president personally reached out to the new prime minister of Great Britain to see if he could undermine the conclusions of the special counsel’s report on the president’s 2016 campaign.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president reportedly suggested building an alligator-filled moat at the southern border of the United States and shooting migrants in the legs to slow them down.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president asked the leader of China — both in a private phone call and very publicly in front of television cameras — to investigate the son of the former vice president.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that border patrol officers refused to return the passport of a journalist until he agreed that he wrote “propaganda.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of state, the vice president, and the attorney general have all assisted the president’s efforts to have Ukraine assist his political campaign, a blatant violation of their positions.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that high-ranking officials in the department of the treasury have attempted to involve themselves in the required annual audit of the president’s tax returns, according to a whistleblower within the department.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that texts between senior envoys to Europe and Ukraine make clear that the administration was seeking a politically motivated investigation of the vice president’s son in exchange for congressionally approved military aid.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president threw a temper tantrum and accused the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee of treason in the middle of a joint press conference in front of a clearly uncomfortable president of Finland. (Dear President of Finland, on behalf of all Americans, I am very sorry that you had to be in the middle of that and I hope you will return when things have calmed down a bit.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that most members of the president’s party refuse to denounce or even mildly criticize the administration’s obvious violations of the public trust, outlined above.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be quite the reading experience. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • call the first whistleblower’s complaint “a fraud!” and falsely claim that he “immediately released” the transcript of the Ukraine call;
    • complain incessantly about the chairman of the House intelligence committee, repeatedly floating the idea of arresting him for treason because he read a parody of the president’s phone call in open session (that is not what treason is);
    • repeatedly refer to the same congressman as “Shifty Schiff” (I detect a whiff of anti-Semitism, but I am going to do the president the favor of assuming that is accidental);
    • tweet “#FakeWhistleblower,” “#DONOTHINGDEMS” (twice), “DRAIN THE SWAMP!”, and “ELECTION INTERFERENCE!” sans context;
    • argue that “the Media may be even more Corrupt than the Bidens, which is hard to do!” (apropos of nothing, the president’s daughter and son-in-law made $82 million in business deals while also working fulltime at the White House);
    • congratulate the leader of China on the seventieth anniversary of the Chinese Communist Revolution (that is . . . not something the president of the United States usually does);
    • repeatedly call the telephone conversation with the Ukrainian president “perfect” (or, at times, “PERFECT”);
    • complain about the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board yet again;
    • refer to impeachment as a “COUP” (impeachment is a Constitutionally created remedy for egregious behavior by governmental officials);
    • falsely claim that “Massive sections of The Wall are being built at our Southern Border” (no);
    • falsely claim that the Democrats are only pursuing impeachment to bring the stock market down;
    • refer to the impeachment effort as “BULLSHIT” and, in the same tweet, misstate the 2016 electoral vote in his favor (for the record, it was 304 – 227, not 306 – 223);
    • refer to his former presidential opponent as “Crooked Hillary” (I’m not even mad, I’m just disappointed);
    • refer to a sitting Congresswoman as a “Wack Job!”;
    • complain bitterly about a senator from his own party who was critical of his requests for political favors from other world leaders, calling the senator a “pompous ‘ass'” and claiming that he “begged” for the president’s endorsement;
    • argue for the impeachment of the aforesaid senator, which is not a thing;
    • tweet, about the aforesaid senator that “The Democrats are lucky that they don’t have any Mitt Romney types. They may be lousy politicians, with really bad policies (Open Borders, Sanctuary Cities etc.), but they stick together!” (there’s a lot to unpack here, but I’m going to focus on the fact that he hilariously claimed that the Democrats “stick together”–as a Democrat, my dream is that we all stay on the same page for, say, five minutes, but it just doesn’t happen);
    • tweet “So Crooked Hillary Clinton can delete and acid wash 33,000 emails AFTER getting a Subpoena from the United States Congress, but I can’t make one totally appropriate telephone call to the President of Ukraine? Witch Hunt!” (he was so proud of this tweet that he retweeted it a few hours later);
    • claim that the former vice president’s family was “PAID OFF, pure and simple!” and that “I would LOVE running against 1% Joe Biden” (whatever, dude); and
    • refer to Bob Woodward’s appearance on “Face the Nation,” as “cool, calm, and interesting” (God help me, I may end up watching this because I am so intrigued).
  • The president also retweeted a lot of nonsense and more clips from Fox News than I would be willing to watch in a lifetime, much less an afternoon.

This Is Not Normal, September 23, 2019 – September 29, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president, in a telephone call with the president of Ukraine, seemingly conditioned arms sales to Ukraine upon Ukraine opening an investigation into (a) a conspiracy theory about the DNC’s server and (b) the son of one of the candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that in the same phone call, the president asked the president of Ukraine to work with his own personal attorney, who has no official foreign policy role.
  • It is also NOT NORMAL that the president of Ukraine felt compelled to point out to the president that he stayed at Trump Tower when he visited the United States.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, according to a whistleblower complaint, the transcript of the Ukraine phone call was put into a special electronic system reserved for highly classified information, in an apparent attempt to cover it up, even though it did not contain any sensitive national security information. (Abusing the system of classified documents to prevent political repercussions is illegal.)
  • It is also NOT NORMAL that phone calls with other leaders, including the leaders of Russia and Saudi Arabia, have purportedly received the same treatment for similar reasons.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that in the days before the phone call, the president suspended congressionally approved foreign aid to Ukraine for unknown reasons, to the dismay of legislators from both parties.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that according to the whistleblower complaint, the leadership of Ukraine believed that if they did not accede to the president’s requests for investigations and work with his personal attorney, the president would not meet with them.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that Republicans on Capitol Hill could not find time to read the nine-page whistleblower complaint, which is part of their job.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that several years later, the State Department is still adjudicating the former Democratic candidate’s email server, even though the previous eight items on this list would lead one to believe they might have more pressing problems to deal with.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that in an interview, the president said, “I think I’ll get a Nobel prize for a lot of things.”
  • The president’s Twitter feed is, even more than usual, NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • retweet the parody account Trump But About Sharks that he apparently did not realize was mocking him;
    • mock a sixteen-year-old climate change activist;
    • claim that the transcript of his phone call with the Ukraine president was “a very friendly and totally appropriate call,” and complain that any concerns about it were “nothing more than a continuation of the Greatest and most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!” (Rebecca Nurse and Giles Corey beg to differ);
    • complain that “the Democrats purposely had to ruin and demean” his speech to the United Nations by calling for an investigation into his actions regarding Ukraine;
    • continue to try to make “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT” happen;
    • complain that “There has been no President in the history of our Country who has been treated so badly as I have” (four presidents were assassinated while in office);
    • repeatedly refer to his call with the president of Ukraine as “perfect,” including tweeting “‘IT WAS A PERFECT CONVERSATION WITH THE UKRAINE PRESIDENT!'” in quotes (I have no idea who he was quote);
    • tweet “THE GREATEST SCAM IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN POLITICS!” sans context;
    • refer to a sitting congressman as “Liddle’ Adam Schiff”;
    • tweet this gem, which must be read in its entirety: “To show you how dishonest the LameStream Media is, I used the word Liddle’, not Liddle, in discribing Corrupt Congressman Liddle’ Adam Schiff. Low ratings @CNN  purposely took the hyphen out and said I spelled the word little wrong. A small but never ending situation with CNN!”;
    • tweet “If that perfect phone call with the President of Ukraine isn’t considered appropriate, then no future President can EVER again speak to another foreign leader!”;
    • tweet “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” followed immediately by “KEEP AMERICA GREAT!” (is America great or isn’t it? pick a lane);
    • refer to two Jewish congressmen and three congresswomen of color as “Do Nothing Democrat Savages” (incidentally, there plenty of white Christian Democrats who also support impeachment); and
    • tweet “I AM DRAINING THE SWAMP!” (there have been an awful lot of cabinet-level scandals for a swamp-draining administration).

This Is Not Normal, September 16, 2019 – September 22, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • As a Michigander of 23 years, believe me when I tell you it is NOT NORMAL that the vice president brought a motorcade to Mackinac Island. (Do they not realize that Michigan is a swing state? Nate Silver should be factoring this incident into his 2020 model.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president reportedly pressured the president of Ukraine eight separate times in a single phone call to reopen an investigation into the son of a former vice president who is now vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. It is also NOT NORMAL that the president was reportedly attempting to tie the release of foreign aid dollars that Congress had already approved to such an investigation.

    (Faithful readers of the NOT NORMAL list know that I am a Hunter Biden–and, indeed, a Joe Biden–skeptic, but the Bidens’ role in the corruption of a Ukrainian energy company has been investigated and they have been cleared.)

  • It is also NOT NORMAL that the president’s personal attorney–who does not have any foreign policy role–met with aides to the Ukrainian president to discuss such an investigation.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president appointed a Los Angeles attorney with little foreign policy experience to be the national security adviser. (The president reportedly believes that the new national security adviser “looks the part.”)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a former campaign manager for the president’s 2016 campaign tried to claim executive privilege during congressional testimony about the president’s attempted interference with the special counsel investigation. It is also NOT NORMAL that two former White House aides refused to appear in the hearings because of a request from the administration.

    It is also NOT NORMAL that in the campaign manager’s limited testimony, he admitted that the president asked him (a private citizen with no role in the administration) to order the then-Attorney General give a speech declaring that the president had been treated badly and that he would put limits on the special counsel’s investigation.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Transportation Secretary is being investigated for using her position to funnel millions of dollars to a shipping company owned by her father and sisters.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be both exhausting and NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • repeat the “ZERO COLLUSION, ZERO OBSTRUCTION” lie (everyone who read the Mueller Report knows that is not what the special counsel found);
    • complain about the former president’s book deal and deal with Netflix (these were lucrative, but not illegal — to be fair, the former president does contribute large amounts of money to good causes);
    • complain about the Federal Reserve’s refusal to initiate a “Big Interest Rate Drop”;
    • urge the Supreme Court Justice who has been credibly accused of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and lying to Congress to sue his accusers, and call for “the Resignation of everybody at The New York Times involved in the Kavanaugh SMEAR story”;
    • claim that he is losing “BILLIONS OF DOLLARS” by being president (this is nonsense, and also, please feel free to resign);
    • tweet that the New York Times’s coverage of the accusations against the Supreme Court Justice and the president’s own campaign have “taken the Old Grey Lady and broken her down, destroyed her virtue and ruined her reputation. She can never recover, and will never return to Greatness, under current Management. The Times is DEAD, long live The New York Times!” (this paints quite a picture, and also doesn’t the last sentence contradict the rest of it?);
    • tweet “I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!” (that is not the job of the Secretary of the Treasury, and I feel like that is something the president should know–also, please don’t conduct foreign policy on Twitter);
    • ask the rhetorical question, “is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially ‘heavily populated’ call” (in fact, I believe with all my heart that he would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader because there is documented evidence that he has done so several times);
    • try to make “Presidential Harassment!” happen;
    • document for posterity his approval of Maria Bartiromo’s contract negotiations;
    • chortle at the news that the mayor of New York had ended his presidential campaign;
    • whine repeatedly about the “Failing New York Times,” the “Fake News Media,” and the “LameStream Media”; and
    • call his phone call with the president of Ukraine “pitch perfect!”
  • There are also numerous retweets of terrible people.

This Is Not Normal, September 9, 2019 – September 15, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president reportedly greeted a group of Egyptian and American officials with “Where’s my favorite dictator?”, an apparent reference to Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. (I can’t stop thinking about how hurt Kim Jong Un must be.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president fired his national security adviser on Twitter.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the acting Director of National Intelligence is reportedly hiding a whistleblower complaint in order to protect the president and/or senior members of his staff.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Justice Department is still attempting to prosecute the former deputy director of the FBI despite the fact that a grand jury has seemingly refused to indict him.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Justice Department is bestowing a prestigious award on the lawyers who successfully spearheaded a Supreme Court nomination battle despite the nominee being credibly accused of sexual assault, sexual harassment, lying to Congress, and (given his meltdowns during the Senate hearings) lacking the temperament required for a Supreme Court justice.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a former FEMA official was arrested on charges of taking bribes from a company that was later awarded $1.8 billion in federal contracts to repair the electrical grid in Puerto Rico that was heavily damaged by Hurricane Maria.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a prominent Senator who has been critical of the president refused to comment, much less disavow the endorsement, after the president praised him on Twitter.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, during a typically unhinged rally in North Carolina, the president said that after his second term in office, “we may have to go for an extra term.”
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • refer to the former South Carolina governor’s companion as a “Flaming Dancer friend” (he seems to have meant “flamenco dancer,” which she wasn’t);
    • claim that foreign leaders “are always asking me, ‘Why does the Media hate the U.S. sooo much?'” (this is nonsense);
    • argue that the “Trump Administration has achieved more in the first 2 1/2 years of its existence than perhaps any administration in the history of our Country” (no);
    • complain about media reports that the vice president and other officials pushed back against the president’s plans to meet with the Taliban at Camp David;
    • make multiple references to “Fake News” and the “LameStream media”;
    • falsely claim that “ABC/Washington Post Poll was the worst and most inaccurate poll of any taken prior to the 2016 election. When my lawyers protested, they took a 12 point down and brought it to almost even by Election Day. It was a Fake Poll by two very bad and dangerous media outlets” (as best I can tell, this is sheer fantasy);
    • claim that “Internal polling looks great, the best ever!” (if this were true, his advisers would have leaked the polls);
    • falsely claim that “Dan Bishop [a newly elected Congressman] was down 17 points 3 weeks ago. He then asked me for help, we changed his strategy together, and he ran a great race” (again, this appears to just be make-believe on the part of the president);
    • argue that polls showing him losing to most Democratic candidates in 2020 “phony suppression poll[s]” (look, I share his skepticism about these polls for a variety of reasons, but they aren’t made up out of whole cloth, and they are run every four years, no matter who the presidential candidates are);
    • continue to conduct foreign policy on Twitter (this time it was China, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Iran);
    • misquote a Democratic representative, claiming that he said, “We can’t beat him, so let’s impeach him!” (in May, the representative in question did say, ““I’m concerned that if we don’t impeach the president, he will get re-elected”);
    • complain about the impeachment inquiry, repeating the same tropes that we are all accustomed to (illegal “Witch Hunt,” “No Obstruction, No Collusion,” etc., etc.);
    • quote himself calling himself “A Very Stable Genius!”, and then thank . . . himself? (this one really confuses me);
    • tweet, sans context, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” followed immediately by “KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”;
    • complain about a journalist who wrote a book about him;
    • claim that the sexual assault and harassment accusations against the most recent Supreme Court justice are meant to “scare him into turning Liberal!”; and
    • argue that the most recent Supreme Court justice should sue his accusers for libel, “or the Justice Department should come to his rescue.”

This Is Not Normal, September 2, 2019 – September 8, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that a military crew flying from the U.S. to Kuwait stopped at the president’s Scotland golf resort even though the plane could have been refueled less expensively at a military base. (The resort lost $4.5 million in 2017 but its revenue went up by $3 million in 2018. Coincidentally, since October 2017, the military has spent $11 million on fuel at Prestwick Airport, which just happens to be the airport closest to the president’s resort.)
  • Similarly, it is NOT NORMAL that on a recent trip to Dublin, the vice-president stayed at a hotel owned by the president in Doonbeg, 180 miles away from Dublin.
  • It is also NOT NORMAL that the attorney general plans to spend thousands of dollars on a Christmas party at a Washington, D.C. hotel owned by the president. Again I remind you that we made Jimmy Carter give up his peanut farm.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that Republican officials in four states are considering canceling primaries in the run-up to the 2020 election, opting to simply nominate the president rather than allowing voters to choose their own candidate. (There are three other Republicans running for the nomination.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Pentagon is canceling or delaying billions of dollars in military spending in 23 states in order to divert the money to the president’s precious border wall.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president apparently invited the Taliban to Camp David. (I’m all for diplomacy, but there is also something to be said for not normalizing terrorists.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that after making a relatively minor and understandable mistake about the path of Hurricane Dorian, the president then spent the rest of the week — literally, the rest of the week, an entire six days after the original mistake was made — trying to prove that he had been right all along, to the point of altering a weather map with a Sharpie and having the head of the NOAA publicly scold Alabama weathermen for contradicting him.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • complain that the president of the AFL-CIO “likes what we are doing until the cameras go on”;
    • repeatedly refer to the Washington Post as the “Amazon Washington Post”, the New York Times as “the Failing New York Times,” and to the media as the “LameStream Media”;
    • complain that journalists “write whatever they want, seldom have sources (even though they say they do), never do ‘fact checking’ anymore, and are only looking for the ‘kill'” (this is not true);
    • tweet multiple times that he was right about the path of Hurricane Dorian and everyone else was wrong;
    • claim yet again that the Mueller report “showed No Collusion, No Obstruction!” (the Mueller report literally said that the president was not exonerated);
    • complain about the mayor of London; and
    • attack a sitcom actress who wanted to see the publicly available list of people who donated to the president, calling her a “McCarthy style Racist” (I have no idea how this could be racist, and I am beginning to think that the president doesn’t actually know the definition of racism and just deploys it as an all-purpose insult).

This Is Not Normal, August 26, 2019 – September 1, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president reportedly told aides that he would pardon him if they broke the law while implementing plans to build his precious border wall.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the current administration abruptly ended deferred action for immigrants with serious medical issues. Seriously, I try to focus on governance and not policy when I write these posts, but I’m making an exception here because this is horrifyingly inhumane and — I know I’ve said this before — I don’t understand how people who support the president and believe in a cosmic final judgment don’t think they’re going to be judged for this.
  • Similarly, it is NOT NORMAL that the administration has ended the policy of treating the children of naturalized military personnel who are born overseas as natural-born citizens. This only affects a handful of people each year, which makes it even more baffling that this was a White House priority.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president apparently took a cellphone picture of an image from a classified briefing and then tweeted it. (Insert obligatory “but her emails” reference.) I realize that the president has the legal right to declassify any image he wants to, but that doesn’t make it prudent. (Insert obligatory Dana Carvey impression of George H. W. Bush.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a notorious congressman from Iowa joked about the mistreatment of Uighurs by the Chinese government, nor is it normal that earlier this month he argued that there would not “be any population of the world left” if not for rape and incest.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Federal Election Commission is down to three members — one short of a quorum — because the president and the majority party in the Senate do not want to honor the traditional compromise of confirming one new member from each party simultaneously to ensure an evenly divided membership.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president said to the White House press that he didn’t know there was such a thing as a category 5 hurricane. There have been four category 5 hurricanes during his presidency alone.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president pretended to have had calls from the Chinese government asking to restart trade talks because he did not like the bad press his tariffs had gotten.
  • The president’s Twitter feed was even busier than usual this week. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • complain repeatedly over several days that his “very successful” G-7 conference was not covered well and undermined by a “phony story” from the media (his conference was not “very successful,” and by this time, let’s face it, everyone has already forgotten that the president wanted to nuke hurricanes and buy Greenland);
    • claim that reports of bedbugs at one of his properties were a “false and nasty rumor” (I am skeptical, and also, remember how we made Jimmy Carter give up his peanut farm?);
    • respond to a tropical storm threatening Puerto Rico with the shockingly callous “Wow! Yet another big storm heading to Puerto Rico. Will it ever end? Congress approved 92 Billion Dollars for Puerto Rico last year, an all time record of its kind for ‘anywhere'” (so far Puerto Rico has only received 14 billion dollars, and although it will likely still receive more, it is unlikely to top the record 120 billion dollars dispersed to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina);
    • later take a swipe at the mayor of San Juan when claiming that he was “tracking closely tropical storm Dorian as it heads, as usual, to Puerto Rico” (that “as usual” is quite the little aside) and later still, argue that “I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to Puerto Rico!”;
    • claim that the “Federal Reserve loves watching our manufacturers struggle with their exports to the benefit of other parts of the world” (there were multiple attacks on the Fed across the week, to the point that it is becoming difficult to ascertain whether he hates the Fed or the media more);
    • argue that the media is padding the crowd sizes of one Democratic contender while underreporting his own crowd sizes;
    • refer to the three members of his party running for the presidential nomination as the “Three Stooges”;
    • weigh in on a Twitter spat between a Never-Trumper columnist for the New York Times and a political science professor unknown to virtually everyone until said Twitter spat (how does the president have time for this? I don’t have time for this);
    • complain that Fox News “isn’t working for us anymore” because some members of the Fox News team have had the temerity to suggest that he isn’t perfect;
    • refer to the Washington Post as the “Amazon Washington Post (lobbyist)”;
    • issue this virtually incoherent tweet: “The Amazon Washington Post and
      @CNN just did a Fake Interview on Pardons for Aids on the Wall, and that I didn’t think the Wall on the Southern Border was that important to stop Illegals wanting to come into our Country. WRONG, vitally important. Will make a BIG impact. So bad!” (I remind you that the White House has said presidential tweets are official White House statements, and also that foreign leaders read these tweets and that is just so embarrassing);
    • call the former director of the FBI a “CROOKED COP!”;
    • tweet “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, which is happening, and then, KEEP AMERICA GREAT!” sans context; and
    • find time, in the aftermath of two mass shootings and while a hurricane is bearing down on the United States, to attack both the former director of the FBI and a sitcom actress.

This Is Not Normal, August 19, 2019 – August 25, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president reportedly recommended using nuclear bombs to stop hurricanes. (Please tell me I do not need to explain why this is a terrible idea.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president canceled a state visit to Denmark (that he himself requested, no less) in a fit of pique over the country’s refusal to sell him Greenland.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president referred to himself as “the Chosen One.” (Seriously, imagine if a Democratic president had said this, even in jest.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president tweeted an “order” to American companies to leave China.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president said he was “looking very, very seriously” at ending birthright citizenship. (The president does not have the authority to unilaterally amend the Constitution.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president accused Jews who voted for Democrats of “great disloyalty,” presumably to Israel. (The president is an anti-Semite.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president argued that Russia should be readmitted to the G7 and claimed that his predecessor wanted Russia out of the G7 because “Putin outsmarted him.” (In truth, Russia was kicked out of the G7 because of it shandling of the Ukraine crisis, which remains unresolved.)
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be an international embarrassment. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • claim that his latest internal polls were “the strongest we’ve had so far!” despite the “Fake News” (no one believes this, because they would be leaked if that were the case);
    • call his former communications director “a highly unstable ‘nut job'” whom he barely knew (one wonders why he was then hired for an important job in the White house);
    • complain bitterly and repeatedly about the Federal Reserve Board raising interest rates, culminating in a charge that the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board might be a “bigger enemy” than the Chinese leader Xi Jinping (that is a legitimately disturbing thing for the president to tweet);
    • claim that Google “manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes” (the author of the paper the president was attempting to reference–which was based on 95 voters, only 21 of whom were undecided in 2016–has disavowed the president’s conclusions);
    • tweet a photoshopped image of a glitzy Trump Tower in the middle of a rural area of Greenland, accompanied by the text “I promise not to do this to Greenland!” (you guys, he was so proud of this that he retweeted it twice, which should be an article of impeachment all by itself);
    • mock a congressional representative who cried during a press conference in which she was explaining why she had chosen not to visit her grandmother in Israel (it doesn’t even matter what you think about the representative in question, this is just boorish behavior beneath the dignity of the office);
    • accuse the “Fake News LameStream Media” of trying to “‘create’ a U. S. recession”;
    • call the automotive companies “politically correct” (and tell the descendants of Henry Ford that he would be “very disappointed”) for rejecting a policy that would “lower the average price of a car to consumers by more than $3000, while at the same time making the car substantially safer” (this proposal appears to be the president’s desire to roll back emissions standards, which one study found would actually cost consumers $3,300 per vehicle);
    • call NATO “very unfair to the United States”;
    • tweet that “The Dow is down 573 points perhaps on the news that Representative Seth Moulton, whoever that may be, has dropped out of the 2020 Presidential Race!” (I guess this was a joke? I guess?);
    • claim that he was joking when he called himself the “Chosen One” (I am unconvinced, and also not sure that makes it much better);
    • complain about his former favorite news outlet, Fox News;
    • claim that “The question I was asked most today by fellow World Leaders, who think the USA is doing so well and is stronger than ever before, happens to be, ‘Mr. President, why does the American media hate your Country so much? Why are they rooting for it to fail?'” (every word of this is patent nonsense);
    • claim that everyone in France is “laughing at how knowingly inaccurate the U. S. reporting of events and conversations at the G-7 is” (whatever, dude).
  • The president also retweeted a bunch of silliness.

This Is Not Normal, August 12, 2019 – August 18, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the union workers at the president’s speech at a petrochemical plant were given the option of attending the speech or losing a day’s pay.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president successfully convinced the Israeli prime minister to block two American congresswomen from entering Israel. (This is NOT NORMAL no matter what you may think about the politics of the two congresswomen.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president publicly fat-shamed someone whom he believed to be a protester at one of his rallies but who turned out to be a supporter. (To be clear, the president should not be publicly fat-shaming anyone, whether friend or foe, and I can’t believe I just had to type that sentence.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the White House is considering attempting to invoke executive privilege to prevent the House testimony of a former campaign aide who never worked in the administration. (That is not how executive privilege works.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president wants to buy Greenland. (Colonialism is generally frowned upon these days.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that an administration immigration official rewrote the poem on the Statue of Liberty to read, “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet,” and expressed his belief that subjects of the poem were “people coming from Europe.” (So, more blatant racism from the White House.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the department of homeland security has struggled to address the problems of white supremacists and domestic terrorism because the president is only interested in threats from foreign terrorists and immigrants.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • announce that “CNN is BAD for America!”;
    • complain that “Without Voter ID” election security is meaningless;
    • repeatedly berate the Federal Reserve Board for raising interest rates and accuse it of holding the economy back;
    • defend the Chinese president’s handling of protests in Hong Kong, calling him “a good man in a ‘tough business'”;
    • imply that a deputy editor for the New York Times was demoted for “biased and inaccurate reporting,” when he was actually demoted for a series of controversial, racially insensitive tweets;
    • call the two American congresswomen who were barred from Israel “the face of the Democrat party” (this is not true, and also, nota bene to Republicans heading into the 2020 campaign, saying “Democrat party” isn’t clever or sassy, it’s just ungrammatical);
    • later claim that “AOC Plus 4 is the new face of the Democrat [sic] party”;
    • call the grandmother of one of the American congresswomen barred from Israel the “real winner” because “She doesn’t have to see her now!” (the president is not a nice person);
    • claim that his poll numbers would be higher if “we had an honest Media”;
    • tweet “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” sans context;
    • complain that a Fox News journalist asked for a photo with the president and his family, but “is always nasty and wrong!”; and
    • claim that “The New York Times will be out of business soon after I leave office,” saying, “I’m fairly certain they’ll endorse me just to keep it all going” (the president’s mind certainly works in interesting ways).

This Is Not Normal, August 5, 2019 – August 11, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that a political appointee at the Department of Housing and Urban Development reacted to the death of a man awaiting trial for sexual trafficking of minors with an insinuation that a former president and presidential candidate were somehow responsible for it. It is even less normal, and more appalling, that the president gave the theory his tweet of approval.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the justice department is seeking to decertify a union of immigration judges, presumably because it is unhappy about the judges’ criticism of the administration.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a presidential candidate said that “poor kids” are just as smart as “white kids.” That is just embarrassing.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the administration forced out the woman in line to become the director of national intelligence over the protests of senators from both parties.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the administration is attempting to unilaterally freeze already approved foreign aid, cutting Congress out of the decision-making entirely. The legislative branch is the equal of the executive branch, not its subordinate.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s incendiary language about immigrants and the subsequent shooting in El Paso that specifically targeted immigrants have led Mexico to demand better protections for Mexicans visiting the United States.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • use the shootings in El Paso as a rationale for his draconian immigration policies in an effort to “have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!”;
    • complain yet more about the “Fake News” media;
    • conduct foreign policy via social media (this time it was China, North Korea, and South Korea);
    • accuse a Google executive of faking search results in an attempt to hurt his 2016 candidacy, ending with “We are watching Google very closely!” (I thought Republicans were pro-business and anti-regulation? I am so confused);
    • complain yet again, over several days, about the Federal Reserve, many of whose members he appointed, and which is supposed to operate independently;
    • refer to a candidate for the Democratic nomination as “Sleepy Joe Biden” and say that the “LameStream Media will die in the ratings and clicks with this guy” (sometimes I imagine the leaders of other countries reading these tweets and I am just mortified for our country);
    • accuse a senator and the mayor of Dayton of “misrepresenting what took place inside” the hospital where he met some of the shooting victims (the senator and mayor criticized the president’s public rhetoric but also acknowledged that his hospital visit seemed successful, so this is simply false);
    • complain about an anchor on his former favorite network, adding “Actually, whenever possible, I turn to OANN!” (OANN has publicized several demonstrably false conspiracy theories and employs a reporter who is also an employee of Russia’s state-owned media);
    • slam a sitting congressman as “the lesser brother of a failed presidential candidate”;
    • complain about a cable news pundit who “wrote a failed hit piece book about me 15 years ago. Fired like a dog from other jobs? Saw him on lyin’ Brian Williams Trump Slam Show”;
    • tease the possibility of pardoning the former governor of Illinois for trying to sell a Senate seat;
    • call the military exercises the United States conducts with South Korea “ridiculous and expensive” (they are, in fact, much less expensive than a war will be); and
    • complain about one of his former communications directors who criticized him on television.