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).
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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.

This Is Not Normal, July 22, 2019 – July 28, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president vetoed several bipartisan bills designed to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a Republican state senator referred to the “browning” of America and complained that “we’re going to look like South American countries very quickly.” This is textbook racism.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities held an American citizen in custody for twenty-six days because they thought the proof of citizenship he gave them was fake. (It wasn’t.) It is also NOT NORMAL that a nine-year-old girl was grabbed by border patrol officials and held by herself for more than a day because she gave “inconsistent” responses to their questions, as one might expect from a frightened nine-year-old.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Puerto Rico governor, in the midst of a scandal over crass text messages, refused to resign until the island erupted into one of the largest protests in its history.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Senate’s majority party blocked bills aimed at improving election security, even as the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that all fifty states had been targeted by Russia in 2016.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, as attested to by the former Special Counsel in a Congressional hearing this week, the president was generally untruthful in sworn written testimony. (A former president was impeached specifically for lying under oath.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is suing the state of New York to prevent Congress from seeing his state tax returns. (All other presidents in recent history have voluntarily released their tax returns.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president, in a speech to a conservative youth organization, described a Congresswoman as a “crazed lunatic” and falsely claimed that undocumented immigrants had swung the 2016 vote in states like California.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president continues to publicly attempt to intervene in the case of an American rapper jailed in Sweden despite being told multiple times by Swedish officials that the government in Sweden has no jurisdiction over the legal system.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • twice complain about the decisions of a “very misguided” Federal Reserve because he is unhappy with current interest rates;
    • claim that the “Amazon Washington Post’s” story about his talking points at a presser was “Fake News,” arguing that he had no talking points when in fact there are pictures of him clearly holding talking points;
    • refer to “4 Radical Left Congresswomen who have said very bad things about Israel & our Country!” (keeping reading, the president has some “very bad things” to say about our country himself before the week is over), calling them “a very Racist group of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced, and not very smart”;
    • tweet “Fake News Equals the Enemy of the People!” sans context;
    • claim that there is “large scale false reporting,” although he does not offer any examples;
    • complain bitterly several times about the special counsel’s congressional hearing;
    • twice tweet “KEEP AMERICA GREAT!” sans context;
    • tweet “TRUTH IS A FORCE OF NATURE!” after the special counsel’s congressional hearing, which is odd given that the special counsel testified that he was not “generally truthful”;
    • complain about the Swedish justice system;
    • lament that Fox News were no longer his “Proud Warriors” because they released a poll showing him losing a hypothetical election against the former vice president;
    • launch into a racist tirade about the district of an African-American congressional representative who (coincidentally, I’m sure) has subpoenaed his daughter and son-in-law’s financial information, saying that “it is considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States” (this is patent nonsense);
    • then tweet that “There is nothing racist in stating plainly what most people already know, that Elijah Cummings has done a terrible job for the people of his district” (more patent nonsense);
    • finally call Elijah Cumming himself “racist,” for no apparent reason other than he seems to think it is an all-purpose insult; and
    • claim that “Democrats don’t care about Border Security” and “want Open Borders,” neither of which is true of most Democrats.

This Is Not Normal, July 15, 2019 – July 21, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president has spent the week doubling and tripling down on the notion that four Congresswomen should either leave the country or be “sent back” (in reality, only one of the four was not born in the United States, and she migrated here as a child and has been a citizen longer than the First Lady).
  • It is NOT NORMAL that only four Republican representatives joined Democrats in a resolution condemning the president’s openly racist tweets and remarks about the four Congresswomen.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president spent several seconds at a rally basking in a crowd chanting “Send her back!” rather than calming the crowd.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Marine Corps had to request that a Republican congressman stop using their emblem on his campaign materials (this is the same Republican Congressman, incidentally, who — along with his wife — embezzled campaign funds and then allegedly violated bail conditions while filming an anti-immigration video, so if you live in the 50th district of California, you need better representation).
  • It is NOT NORMAL that recently released court documents show that the president was in close contact with his former lawyer while the lawyer was making arrangements to pay hush money (a campaign finance violation) to a woman with whom the president had a one-night stand. These documents contract statements made by the president, as well as testimony given to Congress by the president’s former communications director.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that senior officials in the department of commerce neglected to turn over documents and provided an inaccurate document trail to plaintiffs suing over the addition of a citizenship question to the census.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a former adviser to the president so struggles with keeping his mouth shut about the legal case against him that the judge was forced to ban him from all social media, saying “I am wrestling with behavior that has more to do with middle school than a court of law.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the White House has again told a senior aide to defy a Congressional subpoena.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • complain about Democrats who criticized his racist tweets, arguing that they were “condon[ing]” the controversial stances of the four Congresswomen he attacked (fun fact: you can disagree with the Congresswomen on various issues *and* still think it is bad for the president to be openly racist);
    • demand that the Congresswomen “apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said” (the president regularly lies about people on Twitter, has insulting nicknames for his leading Congressional opponents, referred to African nations and Haiti as “sh*thole countries,” and dropped the F-bomb at campaign rallies);
    • claim that the four Congresswomen “have made Israel feel abandoned by the U. S.” (since the leader of Israel just named a settlement after the president, I doubt it);
    • complain about the Fed’s “faulty thought process” yet again;
    • conduct foreign policy on Twitter (this week it was China);
    • argue that polls showing him losing to various Democratic contenders were “Fake” and “Suppression Polls” (he also referred to his former opponent as “Crooked Hillary,” on the same day he complained about the four Congresswomen saying mean things);
    • repeatedly argue that “IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE, YOU CAN LEAVE!” (the president referred to “American carnage” in his inaugural address);
    • claim that the four Congresswomen were “pro Al-Qaeda” (they are not);
    • argue that defending the four Congresswomen against racist attacks is “endorsing Socialism, hate of Israel, and the USA! Not good for the Democrats!”;
    • tweet “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” twice, sans context;
    • try to make “Presidential Harassment” a thing;
    • claim that “I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!” (beg to differ);
    • crow about the “unified” Republican representatives who declined to condemn his racism;
    • complain that his approval rating would be higher “without the 3 year Witch Hunt and Fake News Media, in partnership with the Democrats!” and later suggest that we should just “add 10% or 15% to this number”;
    • say that he would “help” a woman whose Twitter account was temporarily suspended for posting hate speech (I am genuinely curious about how much pull the president has with Twitter);
    • call a Washington Post story about his Twitter feed and his most recent campaign rally “Fake News” (much of the story consists of the president’s own publicly available words, as well as quotes from other named people);
    • complain that the four Congresswomen were not “capable of loving our Country”; and
    • praise Israel’s corrupt leader, who recently allied himself with a hard-right extremist party in order to hold onto his position, for “becoming the longest serving PM in the history of Israel.”
  • It may seem as though I was just piling on when it came to the tweets about the four Congresswomen, but in fact I actually skipped a lot of them. He also retweeted his favorites from earlier in the week on Friday, so you know, he isn’t obsessed with this issue at all.

This Is Not Normal, July 8, 2019 – July 14, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president said he would no longer talk with the British ambassador, after leaked documents revealed that the ambassador had made critical remarks about the president (albeit less critical than the tweets the president lobs at other world leaders on a regular basis).
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president spent half an hour with the press insulting the former Speaker of the House, the aforementioned British ambassador, two Congresswomen, the New York Times, and several contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president tweeted that four progressive Congresswomen “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world” and should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Three of these Congresswomen were born in the United States; one immigrated from Somalia as a child. However (what a shocking coincidence) all four happen to be women of color. In short, it is NOT NORMAL that the president is a white supremacist, nor is it normal that the Republican party continues to enable and defend him.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the vice president tweeted that “CNN is so dishonest. Today we took reporters to a detention facility on the border for families and children and all told us they were being treated well” after a visit to the border at which the accompany journalists described “384 men sleeping inside fences, on concrete w[ith] no pillows or mats. They said they hadn’t showered in weeks, wanted toothbrushes, food. Stench was overwhelming.” (If someone tells you that they haven’t showered in weeks and don’t have a toothbrush, they are not telling you that they are being treated well.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the former national security adviser, who had pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the government, is now saying he cannot testify against his co-conspirator.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be a national embarrassment. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • retweet a fake meme claiming that thirty years ago, former president Reagan said of the president, “For the life of me, and I’ll never know how to explain it, when I met that young man, I felt like I was the one shaking hands with the president” (there is no record of the former president saying any such thing);
    • complain about the British ambassador and the current prime minister, but allow that he was “most impressed with” the Queen (how relieved she must be);
    • call the British ambassador “wacky,” “very stupid,” and “a pompous fool” because the ambassador had criticized him in what were meant to be private memos (I feels like there’s an inherent contradiction here, but I can’t quite put my finger on it);
    • continue to conduct foreign policy on Twitter (this time it was India);
    • complain about Supreme Court decisions that did not go his way;
    • complain that the judge in the census case would not allow Justice Department lawyers to withdraw, asking “Could this be a first?” (it is not a first);
    • accuse Iran of being in violation of the “terrible 150 Billion Dollar deal” (again, there is no evidence of Iran being in violation of the deal before the president terminated it, and the United States did not gave Iran a lump sum payment as part of the deal);
    • tweet that “The White House will be hosting a very big and very important Social Media Summit today. Would I have become President without Social Media? Yes (probably)!” (I do not think the mess we are in is remotely funny, and yet that tweet cracked me up);
    • claim that “The Fake News is not as important, or as powerful, as Social Media” and say that journalism, as a practice, will “go out of business for lack of credibility, or approval, from the public” as soon as he leaves office;
    • tweet that “Could you imagine having Sleepy Joe Biden, or @AlfredNeuman99, or a very nervous and skinny version of Pocahontas (1000/24th) as your President, rather than what you have now, so great looking and smart, a true Stable Genius!” (by the way, @AlfredNeuman99 is a retired teacher and a Cubs fan who does not appear to be vying for the presidency);
    • refer to the former acting director of the FBI as a “major sleazebag” who “took massive amounts of money from Crooked Hillary reps, for wife’s campaign” (the Democratic governor of Virginia donated money to the state senate campaign, as he did to several Democratic campaigns);
    • call the former Speaker of the House “Weak, ineffective, & stupid”; and
    • complain about the coverage of the vice president’s visit to the border, simultaneously saying it got “Great reviews!” and that the “Failing @nytimes story was FAKE!”
  • The president also retweeted a bunch of terrible things, but this is already a long list, I have to go to work tomorrow, and I have to draw the line somewhere.

This Is Not Normal, July 1, 2019 – July 7, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the RNC was allocated VIP tickets for the Fourth of July celebration, which has traditionally been a non-partisan event that presidents did not attend. (The president’s speech was refreshingly non-partisan, although it did include a puzzling reference to airports during the Revolutionary War.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president falsely claimed that his predecessor in the White House sought audiences with the North Korea’s brutal authoritarian dictator but was rebuffed. The former president did not seek such a meeting because he, like other presidents of both parties, did not want to appear to endorse the regime.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, after signaling that it would accept the Supreme Court’s decision opposing a citizenship question on the census, the Justice Department did an abrupt about-face and said it was seeking new legal paths to institute such a question, apparently because of an angry tweet from the president.

    It is also NOT NORMAL that the president is reportedly considering issuing an executive order to add such a question, which could lead to a true constitutional conflict between the executive and judicial branches.

    And it is further NOT NORMAL that the president said that the citizenship question was particularly important because  of “Congress for districting,” which Justice Department lawyers had specifically denied as a rationale.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president claimed that homelessness is “a phenomenon that started two years ago” and that he ended it in Washington, D.C., by saying “you can’t do that.” (I . . . honestly don’t even know what to say about this one.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of housing and urban development hired a former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau official who had resigned earlier because of racist comments he made over a ten-year period.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • complain in a four-part Tweetstorm that the governor of New York “uses his Attorney General as a bludgeoning tool for his own purposes” and “never even looked at the disgusting Clinton Foundation” because the president’s charitable foundation is being investigated for various improprieties (There is no evidence that the Clinton Foundation handled its finances improperly);
    • praise the brutal authoritarian dictator of North Korea for looking “really well and very healthy”;
    • claim that “people are fleeing New York like never before” (although New York’s population was down 0.8% over the previous year, this is not a record) and that New York is treating “our great NRA” poorly;
    • argue that “according to the Polls, I won EVERY debate, including the three with Crooked Hillary Clinton” (according to the polls, the president’s opponent won every debate with the president, and also, two-and-a-half years on, it is really time for the president to let go of grievances from an election that he won);
    • complain about the “Witch Hunt” because the special counsel has been subpoenaed to testify before Congress;
    • end an angry tweet about the citizenship question on the census with “USA! USA! USA!”;
    • falsely claim yet again that the previous administration paid Iran as part of the Iran deal (the previous administration turned over to Iran money that it was ordered by the World Court to repay after it seized Iranian assets during the 1979 hostage crisis);
    • tweet “Glad I could help!” after the acquittal of a Navy SEAL, which makes one wonder what the president did to help and why that would be an appropriate use of executive power (to be fair, my guess is he did nothing to help and he is once again just talking);
    • claim that the concentration camps on the border that are being used to imprison children are “far better than where they came from”;
    • call a former Republican congressman who left the party over its support for the president “one of the dumbest & most disloyal men in Congress”;
    • refer to the former vice president as “a reclamation project” and say “Some things are just not salvageable” and refer to him as “Sleepy Joe Biden”;
    • complain that the “Fake News Media” is lying about the concentration camps at the border; and
    • turn on his favorite network, claiming that “watching Fox News weekend anchors is worse than watching low ratings Fake News CNN or Lyin’ Brian Williams.”

This Is Not Normal, June 24, 2019 – June 30, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that a White House senior adviser has refused to testify before Congress about her ethics violations, and has now received a subpoena to testify which she intends to defy.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a consultant to the president has set up a fake candidate website for one of the Democratic contenders for president in an attempt to troll him. (We have another sixteen months of this election cycle; is a little dignity too much to ask?)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president joked with the president of Russia about Russia’s interference in the 2016 American presidential election.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of education repealed a regulation cracking down on for-profit colleges and universities that offer expensive and useless degrees.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that during a press conference, the president misunderstood basic political terms such as “Western-style liberalism” (this phrase refers to the Western world,  including both the United States and parts of Europe; the president apparently thought it was a reference to Los Angeles) and “busing” (the president seemed to think this was simply about using school buses as transportation instead of desegregating schools and also confusingly said his administration was advancing a “very interesting and very surprising” busing policy).
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • conduct foreign policy on social media (this week it was China, Japan, Iran, India, and North Korea);
    • complain that the Federal Reserve “doesn’t know what it is doing” and that the stock market would be “thousands of points higher” and the GDP would be in the “4’s or even 5’s” if they had not raised interest rates and had agreed to cut them when he wanted them to (no reputation economist believes the president’s theory);
    • tweet “Presidential Harassment!” after it was announced that the special counsel would testify before Congress in July (if the president could decide whether he thinks that the special counsel’s report fully exonerated him or that the special counsel is out to get him, it would be helpful);
    • allege that “Democrats want Open Borders, which equals violent crime, drugs and human trafficking. They also want very high taxes, like 90%” (no);
    • complain that a soccer player who expressed colorfully that she did not want to visit the White House “should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag”;
    • call the hearings in the House of Representatives about his campaign’s ties to Russia “a Rigged Democrat Con Game”;
    • tweet “BORING!” during the first night of the Democratic debates;
    • tweet that “@NBCNews and @MSNBC should be ashamed of themselves for having such a horrible technical breakdown in the middle of the debate. Truly unprofessional and only worthy of a FAKE NEWS Organization, which they are!” (this is a weird thing for the president of the United States to tweet about);
    • float the idea of delaying the census because he was unhappy that the Supreme Court had ruled against his administration’s desire to put a citizenship question on it (the timing of the census is in the Constitution);
    • insist that he should get credit for “That big Stock Market increase” after his election (Fortune magazine said three weeks ago that the stock market did better during the previous administration than during the current one); and
    • trumpet “54% in Poll!” when the poll in question was not on presidential approval but whether the respondent thought the president would win re-election (it is possible to believe the president will win reelection even if you do not approve of his performance).

This Is Not Normal, June 17, 2019 – June 23, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president has been credibly accused of yet another sexual assault allegation. It is also NOT NORMAL that the president’s initial defense against this charge relied on his assertion that he had never met the woman in question, which was effectively undercut by the photo of the two of them together that appeared in the article alleging sexual assault. (I am almost as offended by the administration’s inability to be thorough as I am by the allegation itself.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that Oregon legislators are literally running away from the state to prevent a bill they don’t like.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a government attorney attempted to argue against providing toothbrushes, soap, and blankets to migrant children being held by the government.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president tried to argue in an interview with Meet the Press that he thinks that he lost the popular vote in 2016 due to “a lot of votes cast that I don’t believe” and falsely claimed that “California admitted to a million votes.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that yet another presidential aide refused to answer questions in Congress due to a ridiculously expansive theory of executive privilege.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be an international embarrassment. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • lie about how many people were in line to attend his first 2020 campaign rally (there were several dozen supporters in line, not the “thousands” he claimed);
    • claim that the only polls showing him losing to a Democratic candidate were “fake” and that “Our polls show us leading in all 17 Swing States”;
    • complain about his former opponent “acid washed” her emails (that isn’t a thing, and also at what point is the president planning to stop pouting about an election that he won?);
    • tweet that “DEMOCRAT CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS ARE #RIGGED!” (I honestly don’t even know what he means by that);
    • claim yet again that he would be “up in the Polls” if not for the “Phony Witch Hunt” and the “Fake News Media” (this confuses me, because a day earlier he said he was winning all seventeen swing states?);
    • complain that his “wonderful” former communications director was being put “through hell” even after he had been exonerated by the special counsel (the president was not exonerated by the special counsel);
    • tweet at the height of an international incident “Iran made a very big mistake!” (do not conduct foreign policy on Twitter, especially not when you’re considering a military strike, why is this a thing I have to keep repeating?);
    • complain about the “Failing and Desperate New York Times” and claim that it was “feeding false stories about me, & those associated with me, to the FBI”;
    • claim that the previous president gave Iran billions of dollars as part of a “deal” (this is not true — the United States paid back money to Iran that it seized during the Carter era hostage crisis); and
    • tweet a short video that seemed to show him running for office for the indefinite future.

This Is Not Normal, June 10, 2019 – June 16, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president said he would not have allowed the CIA to work with the brother of North Korea’s brutal authoritarian dictator “under my auspices.” (Isn’t this the president effectively siding with a brutal authoritarian dictator against the CIA? Isn’t that . . . not exactly patriotic?)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, according to the New York Times, the Pentagon did not brief the president on its cyberattacks on Russia’s power grid because they did not trust him with the information. (The president denied this in an angry tweet, because of course he did.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, after being criticized for trumpeting new concessions by Mexico that had actually been made several months ago, the president claimed to have made a secret agreement with Mexico with unknown provisions, which was denied by Mexico’s ambassador.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the attorney general and the secretary of commerce are withholding documents about the census subpoenaed by Congress, even after a House panel voted to hold them in contempt. (This is not how the system of checks and balances is supposed to work.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a senior White House adviser has been so devoted to flouting the Hatch Act (which prohibits federal employees from politicking on the job) that an independent government agency has recommended that she be fired.
  • It is NOT NORMAL, for crying out loud, that the president told an interviewer that he would take campaign assistance from the Russian government, if offered, and would not necessarily tell the FBI about it. When the interviewer told him that the FBI director, whom he appointed, said that any candidate receiving such offers should report them to the FBI, the president replied, “The FBI director is wrong.” (By the way, for skeptics among us, the video of this conversation is available.)

    The president later walked this back in a telephone interview with a different outlet, saying “of course” he would give it to the FBI.

  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be a national embarrassment. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • complain repeatedly about the “Failing New York Times” and “Sick Journalism,” calling the media “TOTAL LOSERS” and “THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE” (James Madison: “the world is indebted [to the press] for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression”);
    • twice tout a 50% approval rating as if it were some kind of overwhelming majority (incidentally, the 50% approval is from a poll by Rasmussen, an outfit that persistently leans right–the average approval rating, in which Rasmussen is included, is 42.6%) ;
    • tweet “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” sans context (again, this is not a thing, and if Congress is conducting hearings on the administration’s excesses and outright corruption, the Congress is doing its constitutional job);
    • refer to the mayor of London as “a national disgrace who is destroying the City of London” (as of last July, I can attest that London is a friendly, safe, and beautiful city with no signs of destruction);
    • accuse the media of “suppress[ing] the numbers” of polls and claim that internal polls “are the best numbers WE have ever had” (the president’s own campaign confirmed that the polls, as reported, showed the president losing several states he won in 2016 to one of the Democratic candidates for president);
    • refer to the New York Times story on cyber attacks on Russia as “a virtual act of Treason” (nota bene: just because the president doesn’t like something, that doesn’t make it treason);
    • accuse a Democratic senator and a Democratic congressman of meeting with Russia and failing to call the FBI (this is false) and claim that the interviewer was arguing he should call the FBI every time he met with a foreign head of state (this is laughable);
    • tweet that “A poll should be done on which is the more dishonest and deceitful newspaper, the Failing New York Times or the Amazon (lobbyist) Washington Post! They are both a disgrace to our Country, the Enemy of the People, but I just can’t seem to figure out which is worse? The good news is that at the end of 6 years, after America has been GREAT again and I leave the beautiful White House (do you think the people would demand that I stay longer? KEEP AMERICA GREAT), both of these horrible papers will quickly go out of business & be forever gone!” (I do not think the people will demand that he stays longer); and
    • wish a happy Father’s Day to “all, including my worst and most vicious critics,” because there is no occasion that he does not view as an opportunity for petty self-absorption.
  • Lots of fake news and enemies of the people and witch hunts, no crooked Hillaries and no angry Democrats that I noticed.
  • I strongly encourage you to read this Twitter thread about how our government is treating migrants at the border, because this is being done in your name and with your tax dollars:

    https://twitter.com/ECMcLaughlin/status/1139192167501484033

This Is Not Normal, June 3, 2019 – June 9, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the White House trumpeted what it portrayed as concessions as Mexico, claiming that Mexico had caved to its demands out of the fear of the surprise tariffs the president announced on Twitter, even though the actions Mexico agreed to were settled several weeks ago, before the tariff announcement.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Senate Majority Leader is blocking bipartisan attempts to secure elections in the United States.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is hijacking the capital’s Independence Day celebration, traditionally a nonpartisan event, making a speech to the nation from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and effectively turning it into a political rally for himself. (In the past presidents have either left D.C. during the festivities or hosted guests at the White House to watch the fireworks.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president called the Speaker of the House “a disgrace” and “a nasty, vindictive, horrible person” in an interview, also alleging (with no apparent evidence) that her home district has “drugs and needles all over the place” and that “it’s the most disgusting thing what she’s allowed to happen to her district.”
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • argue that “Democrats can’t impeach a Republican president for crimes committed by Democrats” (there  is no evidence of “crimes committed by Democrats”; even if there were, that would be a separate issue from the multiple instances of obstruction of justice detailed in the special counsel’s report);
    • assert that the mayor of London “has done a terrible job” and “reminds me very much of our dumb and incompetent Mayor of NYC” and, oddly, criticize the mayor’s height while landing at Heathrow;
    • ask AT&T to “do something” about CNN, which is “All negative and so much Fake News” and, in a subsequent tweet, suggest that people stop using AT&T in an attempt to influence them to “make big changes at CNN” (to be clear, it is very unusual for a president to suggest a boycott of an American company, particularly when overseas);
    • claim to have seen “Tremendous crowds of well wishers” but no protests in his visit to the United Kingdom (this does not appear to be accurate on either score);
    • claim that “If the Corrupt Media was actually fair, I would be up by 25 points”;
    • tweet that “Nervous Nancy Pelosi is a disgrace to herself and her family for having made such a disgusting statement [the Speaker of the House allegedly told her caucus in private that the president should go to prison for his actions in office]” (I am fascinated that it took this long for him to come up with a nickname for her);
    • tweet that “For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon – We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!” (I am willing to grant that even the president is aware that the Moon is not actually a part of Mars, but why doesn’t he want NASA to talk about the Moon if it a Moon landing is a step on the way to ultimately landing on Mars? I do not understand the purpose of this tweet);
    • tweet that “MEXICO HAS AGREED TO IMMEDIATELY BEGIN BUYING LARGE QUANTITIES OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCT FROM OUR GREAT PATRIOT FARMERS!” (I am not the first person to say this, but this sounds disturbingly like one of those transparently false P.R. releases from North Korea);
    • call his new North American trade deal (USMCA) “spectacular & very popular” and the previous North American trade deal (NAFTA) “the worst Trade Deal in the history of the U.S.A.,” despite the fact that the bills are very similar and USMCA is more of a slight upgrade than an actual policy change;
    • call a television personality who has been critical of him “a disaster” and “a total Loser” and claim that he and another news personality from the same network “used to BEG me to be on episodes of the Apprentice (both were bad)” (granted, I don’t have any way of knowing this for sure, but given the president’s track record, I am extremely skeptical); and
    • argue that “Twitter should let the banned Conservative Voices back onto their platform, without restriction. It’s called Freedom of Speech, remember.” (first, Twitter handed out temporary and permanent bans to accounts that span the political spectrum for behavior that violate’s the site’s terms of service; secondly, Twitter is a private company so any regulation they do on their own site is not a violation of freedom of speech, which THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES SHOULD REALLY UNDERSTAND).
  • The president was very worked up about the media this week so lots of Fake News and at least one Witch Hunt, but no Crooked Hillary and no Angry Democrats.