This Is Not Normal, May 13, 2019 – May 20, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is considering pardoning members of the military accused of war crimes, including some who murdered unarmed civilians.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the attorney general has tapped a federal prosecutor to review the FBI investigation of the president’s campaign, which the attorney general insists on referring to as “spying on Americans,” a framing that the FBI director, who was appointed by the president, rejects. A federal investigation is not spying.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of the treasury refuses to comply with a House Ways and Means Committee subpoena of the president’s tax returns.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president has proposed that immigrants must pass a civics exam to get a green card, which is (a) an onerous and unprecedented requirement for a green card and (b) not something I believe the president himself would pass.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a review of the travel expenses of the former head of the Environment Protection Agency revealed $124,000 in inappropriate expenditures.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the White House refuses to comply with yet more document requests from the House of Representatives. It is also NOT NORMAL that in court this week, the president’s legal team argued that any investigation of the president by the House of Representatives was not permitted by the Constitution. Under this theory, neither the investigation into Watergate nor the one into Whitewater would have been allowed, and legislative requirements to preserve presidential records and release presidential financial disclosures would be invalidated.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president pardoned someone who wrote a flattering book about him.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Senate was forced to subpoena the president’s son because he kept canceling scheduled hearings.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • attempt to conduct trade negotiations and diplomacy via social media (if I live to be a thousand, I will never understand why we can’t get bipartisan agreement on this one simple point);
    • call the Democratic Party “a sad JOKE!” because members of the party referred to his continual obstruction of House attempts to investigate his administration as a Constitutional crisis;
    • continue to call the special counsel investigation of his campaign a “hoax” and a “witch hunt” even as he erroneously claimed that he and his campaign were exonerated (reminder that the special counsel’s report literally said the president was not exonerated);
    • refer to a potential 2020 opponent as “Sleepy Joe Biden”;
    • use a bad-faith out-of-context interpretation of something a newly elected congresswoman said about Palestine to claim that the congresswoman was anti-Semitic (the president’s repeated conflation of Jewish Americans with Israeli Jews is more anti-Semitic than anything this congresswoman has said);
    • refer to migrants at the border as “bad ‘hombres'” (they are largely mothers and children, and I will leave you to judge the president’s repeated use of ‘hombres’ when talking about Latinos);
    • claim that the people who “spied” (i.e., legally investigated) his campaign deserved “long jail sentences” for “TREASON”;
    • bring up the freaking emails yet again;
    • complain that no one told him that his former national security adviser was under investigation, when in fact it has been well-established that he was told several times; and
    • complain about a Republican congressman who said the special counsel report revealed impeachable conduct, calling him “a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents [sic] hands!”
  • “Witch hunt,” “fake news,” and (to my great regret) “Crooked Hillary” all made appearances this week. “Crooked Hillary” actually happened twice, in case you thought the president might have moved past an election that he actually won.
  • We are now up to five migrant children who have died in the custody of the United States Border Patrol, and the administration said this week there might be an additional 1700 who were separated from their parents.
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This Is Not Normal, May 6, 2019 – May 12, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is resisting an emergency relief bill for farmers and communities hit by natural disasters because it offers aid to Puerto Rico, which incidentally is part of the United States, not a foreign country.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the House Ways and Means Committee has been forced to subpoena the president’s tax returns because he refuses to release them after promising to do so for several years. It is also NOT NORMAL that the secretary of the treasury and the IRS commissioner continue to resist House requests for the tax returns even though there is a law explicitly allowing the Ways and Means committee to request returns for any reason.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the acting defense secretary (who coincidentally was finally nominated to be the official defense secretary late this week) has notified Congress that he is shifting $1.5 billion to build the president’s wall.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s allies are attacking a fellow Republican because he has subpoenaed the president’s son to discuss his meeting with a Russian lawyer during the campaign.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that Georgia and Alabama have enacted draconian and unconstitutional abortion laws, including provisions that lead to women suffering miscarriages to be treated as criminals and charging women with falsely reporting a crime if their rapists are not convicted. (FYI, the conviction rate for rape is quite low, and is not necessarily indicative of a false accusation.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a contractor for the president’s inaugural committee who was fired because of financial irregularities is publicly accusing the White House of throwing her under the bus and calling on the inaugural committee to release her from her non-disclosure agreement so she can testify freely.
  • I am quite sure that the president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL, but I am skipping it this week on the grounds that no one should have to read such a thing on Mother’s Day.

This Is Not Normal, April 29, 2019 – May 5, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president discussed with special counsel’s report with the president of Russia, but did not discuss the possibility  of future Russian interference in American elections.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the attorney general defied a congressional subpoena to provide the unredacted special counsel’s report to Congress.
  • It is also NOT NORMAL that the attorney general made numerous false and misleading statements to the Senate in his testimony on the special counsel’s report.
  • It is also NOT NORMAL that the attorney general’s letter summarizing the special counsel’s principal conclusions drew criticism from the famously reticent special counsel for mischaracterizing his findings.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the former vice president’s younger son stood to benefit from the former vice president’s diplomacy in Ukraine. It is also NOT NORMAL that the president and members of his staff are pushing for investigations into the vice president’s younger son’s involvement in Ukraine for political reasons.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the speaker of the House is openly  concerned that the president may refuse to recognize the 2020 election results if he does not win.
  • 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 NRA is “under siege” by the governor of New York;
    • refer to the former vice president, who is now running for president as “Sleepy Joe” and complain that the media is “pushing [him] hard”;
    • claim that Democrats no longer like the special counsel because he found “NO COLLUSION & NO OBSTRUCTION” (this is not accurate) early in the week, only to decide by the end of the week that the special counsel should not testify before Congress because his report was written by “18 Trump Hating Angry Democras [sic]”;
    • complain that the New York Times has not apologized to him, which is, refreshingly, true and an about-face from his usual claim that the New York Times was forced to apologize to him;
    • make numerous terrible, irresponsible, and false posts about immigration;
    • conduct foreign policy on Twitter, this time chastising European countries for not helping enough with ISIS prisoners;
    • refer to the leaders of a firefighters union as “dues sucking” (with various capitalizations) several times, apparently because one union has endorsed the former vice president;
    • retweet (by my count) no fewer than sixty Twitter users supporting his criticism of the firefighters union (shouldn’t the president have better things to do?);
    • claim that the special counsel’s report shows that Russians were “rebuffed at every turn in attempts to gain access” to his campaign staff (this is not at all accurate, and I urge you to read the special counsel’s report);
    • continue to refer to the idea of Russia interference in the 2016 election as the “Russian Hoax” when even his own attorney general says he has accepted the special counsel’s conclusion that the Russians did in fact interfere in the 2016 election;
    • retweet and offer his personal support to a well-known far-right Islamophobic conspiracy theorist who was banned from Facebook for hate speech;
    • praise the brutal authoritarian dictator of North Korea;
    • complain about the treatment of an actor who was banned from Twitter until he agreed to remove a post calling for opponents of the president to be hanged;
    • complain that the Kentucky Derby’s disqualification of the ostensibly winning horse was “not a good one” and caused by political correctness (first, this is a weird thing for a president to weigh in on, and second, even if the disqualification was incorrect–I have no idea–I highly doubt it was motivated by political correctness);
    • retweet a well-known evangelical leader who said “Trump should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back [sic] for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup” (dear evangelicals, get it together, this is embarrassing); and
    • complain that “Despite the tremendous success that I have had as President, including perhaps the greatest ECONOMY and most successful first two years of any President in history, they have stollen [sic] two years of my (our) Presidency (Collusion Delusion) that we will never be able to get back. The Witch Hunt is over but we will never forget. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
  • “Witch Hunt,” “Fake News” and all those angry Democrats showed up in the social media posts this week, but I saw no mention of Hillary Clinton.

You guys, I am so tired of all the winning.

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

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the White House has tried to block multiple congressional subpoenas of staff members and requests for papers and other information. Congressional oversight of the executive branch is a key feature of the separation of powers established in the Constitution, as you probably remember from fifth-grade social studies.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, in the ongoing saga of the president’s nominees to the Federal Reserve Board, one of the wildly unqualified picks has been found to make a series of sexist statements in the National Review, including suggestions that women should only be allowed to cover men’s basketball if they were attractive and wore halter tops and complaints that women were “sooo malleable” because his then-wife had voted for a Democrat. (It will not shock you to learn that he and his wife have since divorced.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the members of the president’s party in the Senate called the special counsel’s findings that the president had both obstructed justice and attempted to obstruct justice on several occasions merely “unflattering” and “inappropriate.” It is worth noting that many of these Senators voted to remove a former president from office for less blatant obstruction.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the governor of Kentucky blamed striking teachers for the shooting of a seven-year-old who was at home due to school closures.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the former homeland security secretary was instructed not to mention efforts to prevent Russian interference in the 2020 election to the president.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be ridiculous. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • claim that he couldn’t be impeached because he had not been accused of any crimes, which is a misreading of both the special counsel’s report and the Constitution;
    • retweet several tweets from pundits and politicians criticizing the special counsel, going back as far as a year (my working theory is that his lawyers told him not to criticize the special counsel personally, and he seized on retweeting as a loophole);
    • call a writer for the New York Times “obsessed with hatred, just as others are obsessed with how stupid he is,” apparently because he was critical of the president’s economic policy;
    • falsely claim that the New York Times had been forced to apologize for its coverage of him in 2016, saying “On this one they will have to get down on their knees & beg for forgiveness-they are truly the Enemy of the People!”;
    • lament that “In the ‘old days’ if you were President and you had a good economy, you were basically immune from criticism” (no president has ever been immune from criticism; this is kind of the point of the First Amendment);
    • offer reviews of several morning political shows (Fox & Friends is “by far the best”; “Morning Psycho (Joe)” is “Angry Dumb and Sick”; CNN is “beyond disaster”);
    • threaten that Congress will “get involved” with Twitter, apparently because many of his bot followers were removed;
    • argue that he should not be impeached because the stock market was at its peak (that is not really how that works);
    • start up the caravan talk again, for which I have no patience whatsoever;
    • claim that the special counsel’s report “didn’t lay a glove on me” (that is not true) and that “If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the Supreme Court” (again, that is not how that works);
    • falsely claim that “there has NEVER been a President who has been more transparent” (scroll up to see the first item on this week’s list, and bear in mind that this president has yet to release his tax returns);
    • falsely claim that he never told the White House counsel to fire the special counsel (the special counsel’s report provides evidence that he did);
    • tweet “DRAIN THE SWAMP!”, which is big talk from someone presiding over arguably the most corrupt Cabinet in American history;
    • refer to a former vice president of the United States, who has entered the race for the Democratic nomination as “Sleepy Joe” and claim that his intelligence is “long in doubt” (so on top of everything else this president has done, he has now forced me to defend JOE BIDEN);
    • refer to a Democratic donor and funder of impeachment ads as “Weirdo Tom Steyer”;
    • praise the number two pick in the NFL draft but not the number one pick, finishing up his congratulatory tweet with “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” (this *might* be racist but it is unquestionably weird); and
    • refer to another Democratic candidate for the presidential nomination as “Crazy Bernie Sanders” and suggest that he is going to “get screwed” by the Democratic National Committee.
  • Lots of “fake news” and “angry Democrats” (also he seems to have settled on 18 as the exact number of angry Democrats). No references to Crooked Hillary or, unless I just missed one, to a witch hunt, although he did declare the special counsel’s investigation illegal several times. Baby steps.

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

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that disaster relief for several states is stalled in Congress because the president doesn’t want to offer money to Puerto Rico and the Republicans in Congress don’t want to challenge him.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the attorney general accused the Justice Department of “spying” on the president’s campaign. (It is difficult to think of another context in which a conservative law enforcement official would refer to a legal investigation as “spying.”)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of the treasury is refusing to turn over the president’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee despite a clear statutory requirement to do so when requested.
  • It is NOT NORMAL, and it should alarm you, that the president purged several homeland security officials, including the director of the Secret Service.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the administration is floating ideas such as military-run migrant detention camps, closing the southern border of the United States, and shipping immigrants to sanctuary cities as an act of political retribution, to deal with a pretend security crisis. (It IS a humanitarian crisis. It is NOT a national security crisis. You are in much more danger from homegrown white supremacists than you are from migrants.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president reportedly offered pardons to Homeland Security officials if they broke federal law in implementing his immigration policies.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for various representatives of a political party to engage in bad-faith attacks  on a congresswoman, leading to death threats against her. It is not anti-Semitic to call a blatantly white-nationalist White House advisor a white nationalist, even if he is Jewish. It is not dismissive of the 9/11 terrorist attack to point out that mainstream Muslims were disproportionately stigmatized in the aftermath.
  • 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 judicial rulings against his various anti-immigration policies;
    • tweet that “The Mainstream Media has never been more inaccurate or corrupt than it is today. It only seems to get worse. So much Fake News!”;
    • approvingly quote a conservative pundit, twice, who accused the congresswoman above of “targeting” and “assaulting” Jewish people;
    • claim that “Everybody is now acknowledging that, right from the time I announced my run for President, I was 100% correct on the Border” (as part of “Everybody,” I object to this statement);
    • argue that his innocence in the Russia scandal was conclusively proven by the special counsel investigation, while maintaining that the special counsel’s report should not be released;
    • call Democrats “TREASONOUS” for opposing his draconian, authoritarian, and counterproductive immigration policies (as a country, we really need to stop throwing around the word “treasonous”);
    • approvingly crow about the indictment of a former Obama lawyer on “very serious charge” which stem from the lawyer’s post-White House work with the president’s campaign manager, whom the president maintains is an innocent victim of a witch hunt (my head hurts);
    • brag about his close personal relationship to the brutal authoritarian dictator who runs North Korea;
    • claim that the New York Times had to apologize for its false coverage of  him (this never happened);
    • complain that the New York Times story on his idea to ship illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities was “knowingly wrong on almost every fact” and then, three tweets later, suggested that he might ship illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities; and
    • claim that “If the Fed had done its job properly, which it has not, the Stock Market would have been up 5000 to 10,000 additional points, and GDP would have been well over 4% instead of 3%  . . . with almost no inflation” (the president chose four of the five Fed members, and you would be hard-pressed to find an economist who would sign on to his prediction about the stock market and the GDP).
  • This week saw references to Crooked Hillary, Fake News, the Witch Hunt, and various numbers of Angry Democrats. On a positive note, the president is very, very happy about the Tiger Woods Masters win.

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

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that at a meeting of Jewish Republicans,  a former senator led a recitation of Dayenu, a traditional part of the Passover seder, which was adapted to refer to the president instead of God. This is both sacrilegious and incredibly gross. (I usually don’t include former elected officials in this list but this is so offensive I am making an exception.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, at the same event, the president referred to the prime minister of Israel as “your prime minister.” For those of you keeping score, this is exactly the same kind of statement that caused so many people–including the president and at least a few people attending this meeting–to scream for the head of a newly elected congresswoman. A little intellectual consistency is all I’m asking for.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is refusing to turn over his tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee, despite a very clearly worded law that states the House Ways and Means Committee has the right to request the review of any tax returns.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, for the second time in two weeks, the president’s nominee to the Federal Reserve board is both unqualified and is dogged by accusations of sexual misconducted.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the department of education is delaying federal loan relief for students who were deceived by fraudulent universities, failing to approve any applications in the second half of 2018 despite receiving nearly two thousand applications per week.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s nominee to lead the department of the interior continued to lobby on behalf of at least one client after taking a position as deputy interior secretary and several months after he filed papers asserting he had stopped lobbying.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the chairman of the majority party in North Carolina has been indicted for bribery on behalf of a major donor, who was also indicted.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a Chinese national carrying four mobile phones and a thumb drive with malware gained access to the president’s Florida resort.
  • 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 migrants entering the United States as a “major National Emergency” (it isn’t);
    • insist that it is “all important” to ask a question about citizenship on the census (citizenship has not been included on the census in previous years and including it will most likely depress participation, which is most like the reason why the president is eager to include it–this is not a “Radical Left” position);
    • obliquely argue against the release of the special counsel’s report on his campaign by asserting that “No matter what information is given to the crazed Democrats from the No Collusion Mueller Report, it will never be good enough”;
    • claim that he is working with Republicans to develop a new health care plan with “far lower premiums (cost) & deductibles than ObamaCare” which will be voted on after the 2020 election (this is laughably transparent, comparable to his assertions that he would be announcing a plan to reduce taxes on the middle class right after the 2018 elections);
    • complain repeatedly (and inaccurately) about providing aid to Puerto Rico, calling the mayor of San Juan “crazed and incompetent” and arguing that the territory’s leaders “spend the money foolishly or corruptly, & only take from the USA,” finally concluding that “The best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico is President Donald J. Trump” (Puerto Ricans are American citizens, and the president is racist);
    • argue that the “Dems don’t even acknowledge [the] name” of the special counsel and “would like to go through the whole process again” (what the Dems actually want is to see the report that the special counsel — to whom they seem to bear no animus — filed);
    • threaten to close the southern border of the United States, finally offering Mexico a “one-year warning”;
    • tweet, apropos of nothing, “THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS THE PARTY OF THE AMERICAN DREAM!” (nope);
    • call Democratic requests for the special counsel’s report “the highest level of Presidential Harassment in the history of our Country!” (nope again, and also, presidential harassment is still not a thing);
    • claim that the New York Times simply made up their story that many of the investigators on the special counsel’s team believed that the attorney general’s summary of the special counsel’s report was misleading and left out the most damaging findings (the New York Times has not been “forced to apologize” for its reporting on the president);
    • tweet a parody video of a Democratic presidential contender who has been accused of being too handsy, but who, unlike the president, has not been accused of sexual assault;
    • claim that “I’ve employed thousands of Electrical Workers. They will be voting for me!”;
    • claim that “The press is doing everything within their power to fight the magnificence of the phrase MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” and refer to the press as the “ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”;
    • pretend that previously scheduled fencing on the border is actually part of his border wall;
  • No Crooked Hillary this week but lots of Fake News and Witch Hunts.

This Is Not Normal, March 25, 2019 – March 31, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s nominee to the Federal Reserve Board is widely regarded by economists as not having the expertise for the job and also was held in contempt of court for failing to pay his ex-wife court-ordered spousal and child support.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of education eliminated funding for the Special Olympics in her budget proposal, defending the elimination of funding in a congressional hearing, and then, when undercut by the president’s announcement that he had ordered his “people” to restore funding, issued a press release claiming that she’d been arguing for Special Olympics to be funded the whole time and she was happy  that the president had taken her recommendation.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president and many of his allies proclaimed the Attorney General’s four-page summary of the special counsel’s three-hundred-plus-page report to be a “total exoneration” when the summary literally included the phrase “does not exonerate him.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the administration announced that it would no longer defend any part of the Affordable Care Act, against the express recommendation of several Cabinet members, including the Attorney General.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president, speaking at a rally in Grand Rapids, referred to the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee as “Little pencil-neck Adam Schiff.” (As a rule, I do not comment on anyone’s personal appearance because it isn’t relevant to their political behavior, but I will say that the president is no position to mock the physical appearance of others.)
  • It was also NOT NORMAL that at the rally in Michigan, the president–among many other lowlights–continued to talk about his not-at-all special Electoral College margin, lied about the number of people who have attended his rallies, claimed that the former president had spied on his campaign, claimed that wind energy does not work because “if it doesn’t blow you can forget about television for that night” (this is nonsense), and referred to a Senator as “Pocahontas.”
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be a sight to behold. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • attack the media as “corrupt and FAKE” and “the Enemy of the People and the Real Opposition Party!”;
    • threaten to close the southern border of the United States;
    • announce that he was going to have the FBI investigate an actor who falsely reported a hate crime;
    • demand that the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee resign from Congress;
    • argue that the 3% GDP would be higher “Had the Fed not mistakenly raised interest rates” (most economists dispute this);
    • claim that the media’s coverage of the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia was “100% NEGATIVE and FAKE!” (this is not true); and
    • tweet that “Everybody is asking how the phony and fraudulent investigation of the No Collusion No Obstruction Trump Campaign began. We need to know for future generations to understand. This Hoax should never be allowed to happen to another President or Administration again!” (honestly, if I were the president or one of his allies, I would hold off on the gloating until people other than the Attorney General have seen the actual report).
  • “Witch Hunt” and “Fake News” both appeared in the Twitter feed. I did not see “Crooked Hillary” on Twitter but he did use this phrase in the Grand Rapids rally.

This Is Not Normal, March 11, 2019 – March 17, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that 23 Republicans voted against a resolution opposing hate, mostly on the grounds that they wanted to specifically single out one Democratic congresswoman for anti-Semitic remarks. (The congresswoman did — inadvertently or not — echo anti-Semitic tropes, as do multiple Republican members of Congress on a routine basis.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the State department has called out South Sudan and Nicaragua for government atrocities against its own citizens, while at the same time the Department of Homeland Security has increasingly denied requests for asylum from refugees from South Sudan and Nicaragua.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the former attorney general is reportedly now not denying that he discussed the investigation into the president’s former personal attorney with the president, which he denied last month in public testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a lawyer in communication with one of the president’s attorneys sent an email to the president’s former personal attorney telling him that he could “sleep well tonight” due to his “friends in high places” shortly after his office was raided by federal law enforcement officials.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of education has made the decision not to enforce a federal law that prevents religious organizations from using federal funds for educational services in parochial schools.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president had a plaque mounted in one of his golf clubs in honor of his imaginary victory in a golf tournament last year in which he did not play. (Yes, this is minor in the grand scheme of things, but also it is just a really weird lie to tell.)
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • become incredibly defensive over the fact that he accidentally called the CEO of Apple “Tim Apple” and pretend that he said to to “save time & words”;
    • argue that it should be a “very easy vote” for the Republicans to endorse his declaration of a national emergency when there is not actually an emergency;
    • tweet that “Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. . . . the complexity creates danger. . . . I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot” (this is a legitimately weird point of view);
    • call the state of New York and its governor “proud members of the group of PRESIDENTIAL HARASSERS,” presumably because his organization is being investigated;
    • claim that many people are “leaving New York,” with no apparently evidence to back up the claim;
    • argue that he is “considered by many to be the President with the most successful first two years in history” (he is not);
    • claim that the media “photoshopped pictures of Melania, then propelled conspiracy theories that it’s actually not her by my side” (the conspiracy theories are genuinely nutty, but they are not the work of the media);
    • call the Democrats “Border Deniers” (that is not a thing);
    • complain that the hosts of late-night shows are “weak and untalented”;
    • argue that the Special Counsel should not be allowed to issue a report, finishing with “THIS SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN TO A PRESIDENT AGAIN!”;
    • attack General Motors several times for closing a plant in Lordstown, Ohio;
    • attack a late Senator twice because he shared a dossier about the president with the FBI;
    • complain that “Google is helping China and their military but not the U. S. Terrible!”;
    • threaten to have “not funny/no talent” Saturday Night Live investigated by the “Federal Election Commission and/or FCC” because he watched a rerun in which he was lampooned; and
    • issue a three-part tweet in which he called for Fox News to un-suspend a host who strongly implied that Muslims could not be loyal American citizens, finishing with “Your competitors are jealous – they wall want what you’ve got – NUMBER ONE. Don’t hand it to them on a silver platter. They can’t beat you, you can only beat yourselves!” (I remind you that the president’s tweets are considered official White House statements).
  • He also retweeted what I believed to be a record amount of nonsense.
  • “Fake News,” “Witch Hunt,” and “Crooked Hillary” are all still features of the president’s social media.

This Is Not Normal, March 4, 2019 – March 10, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that members of the Department of Justice swore under penalty of perjury that the former Attorney General did not formally order an investigation of uranium sales to a Russian company, only for a letter ordering said investigation to emerge after the acting Attorney General left his post.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a Florida massage parlor proprietor sold access to the president to Chinese businessmen.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president and his former personal attorney are squabbling via Twitter over whether the attorney asked for a presidential pardon and the president’s history of sexual misdeeds. Also NOT NORMAL: the former personal attorney is suing the president’s business for legal fees he incurred after he cooperated with federal prosecutors to provide information about the administration. (I’ll grant you that if this were happening in a movie I would be wildly entertained.)
  • It is also NOT NORMAL that the former attorney, who was apparently quite busy this week, provided drafts of a false statement he made to Congress in 2017 with edits that were reportedly made by administration lawyers.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Secretary of Education, according to a federal judge, illegally failed to implement a rule from the previous administration requiring racial disparities in special education to be tracked.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the current administration made a list of journalists and activists who should undergo special scrutiny at border entry points.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • accuse the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee of “illegally leaking to Fake News CNN” for no apparent reason;
    • tweet that “FEMA has been told directly by me to give the A Plus treatment to the Great State of Alabama and the wonderful people who have been so devastated by the Tornadoes” (shouldn’t every state and territory — like, say, California and Puerto Rico — get the “A Plus treatment” when they suffer a natural disaster?);
    • complain that the military exercises in South Korea cost “far too much money” (that is not the best reason to make international security decisions);
    • call the media the “true Enemy of the People” yet again;
    • complain that “the Dem heads of the Committees have gone stone cold CRAZY” because they are subpoenaing his business associates and staff for investigations into corruption and connections with Russia;
    • call investigations into his administration the “greatest overreach in the history of our Country”;
    • try twice more to make “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT” a thing;
    • complain that the Democrats in the House “won’t take a stronger stand against Anti-Semitism,” saying “it’s inconceivable they will not act to condemn it!” (HE CALL NAZIS “VERY FINE PEOPLE”);
    • claim once again that “The Wall is being built and is well under construction” (this is not true);
    • claim that the judge who gave his former campaign chairman a surprisingly light sentence “stated loudly and for the world to hear that there was NO COLLUSION with Russia” (he said no such thing; he said that he was not sentencing the campaign chairman for collusion but for financial crimes); and
    • refer to a right-wing pundit who turned on him after the government shutdown as “Wacky Nut Job Ann Coulter” (so we have now reached the second half of Animal Farm).
  • It was a banner week for “Fake News,” “Witch Hunt,” and “Crooked Hillary.”

This Is Not Normal, February 25, 2019 – March 3, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to give a two-hour speech at CPAC which features, among other things, his continuing fixation on the size of his inaugural crowd more than two years later.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president’s former personal lawyer to testify in a Congressional hearing that that he had overheard a phone call between the president and one of his advisers about Wikileaks; that he had had multiple conversations with the president’s children about real estate developments in Russia that the president has said were abandoned early on; and that the president had reimbursed him for payments to an adult film star with whom the president had an affair.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president held a summit with the North Korean leader without first establishing the terms of the agreement that he hoped to sign, leading to the collapse of the talks. (It is also NOT NORMAL that the president defended the leader, who is a brutal authoritarian dictator, against claims that his regime was responsible for the death of an American student in North Korea and said that he liked and got along with the leader, who is a brutal authoritarian dictator.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s son-in-law, who omitted dozens of foreign contacts and financial conflicts from his application, got a top-level security clearance at the direct order of the president despite the advice of pretty much everyone in government.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s former adviser, who is awaiting trial on charges related to the president’s campaign’s connections to Russia, and who is under a strict gag order because he posted a picture of the judge in his trial next to crosshairs, is publishing a book attacking the special counsel, which he did not mention to the judge during the hearing about the gag order. (The judge is not happy.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the West Virginia GOP posted an exhibit in the capital implicitly linking a Muslim congresswoman to 9/11. (Whatever you may think about this congresswoman, she isn’t responsible for the terrorist attack, and the implication that all Muslims bear responsibility for 9/11 and should thus not be trusted is reprehensible.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the House Minority Leader attacked a Jewish member of the House of Representatives by linking him, without apparent evidence, to a prominent Jewish donor, whose name he spent with a dollar sign. Classy! Not a dog-whistle at all! (If you got mad about the “Benjamins” tweet a couple of weeks ago, you have to get mad about this, too.)
  • 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 Spike Lee’s acceptance speech at the Oscars (it is a bit of a self-own for the president to regard a call for prioritizing love over hate in 2020 as a “racist hit on your President”);
    • brag about his ability to negotiate with North Korea, which is ironic in retrospect;
    • attack a former senator who is dying of cancer for leading “through lies and deception, only to be replaced by another beauty, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer”;
    • accuse Democrats of voting “against legislation to prevent the killing of newborn infant children” (this is not true, and the way the president and his party are using this issue is profoundly harmful to families facing the tragedy of fetuses with severe medical issues);
    • refer to a sitting Senator as “Da Nang Dick Blumenthal,” apparently because he was feeling sensitive about his use of “bone spurs” to avoid going to Vietnam;
    • accuse his former lawyer of “lying in order to reduce his prison time”;
    • demand, several times over multiple days, the “transcript” of his former lawyer’s book, which he argues would refute the testimony given to Congress (although a book proposal was written, it is not at all clear that an actual manuscript exists);
    • complain that the “Russian Collusion case has fallen apart” and that an investigation of his finances is unfair;
    • blame the failure of the North Korean summit on the his former lawyer’s hearing;
    • argue that his defense of the North Korean leader regarding the American student’s death was “misinterpreted” by the student’s family (dude, you said it out loud, we could all hear you); and
    • once again try to make “Presidential Harassment” take off.
  • “Witch Hunt,” “Fake News,” and “Crooked” (alas) are still commonplace in the president’s Twitter feed.