This Is Not Normal, February 24, 2020 – March 1, 2020

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Department of Justice has created a denaturalization section.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that more than eight hundred rural schools will lose federal funding after the Department of Education with no warning changed a rule about how to report the number of students living in poverty.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Secretary of Health and Human Services refused to guarantee that a potential vaccine for the coronavirus would be affordable to all. (This isn’t just inhumane, it is also breathtakingly stupid. Escalating a pandemic to own the libs, amirite?)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the administration plans to coordinate all communications about the coronavirus through the White House, preventing government health officials from speaking freely.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president called the global concern over the coronavirus a “hoax” and suggested that the media was creating hysteria to bring down his presidency (he later denied that he called it a hoax, and honestly he’s so inarticulate it’s hard to tell precisely what his original meaning might have been).
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president has nominated a congressman with no experience in intelligence, whom even members of his own party tried to discourage him from, as his director of national intelligence.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the administration is destroying ancient burial sites in order to build a border wall.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president continued to attack the forewoman of the jury who found his former adviser guilty even as an appeal of the case was being heard.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the wife of a Supreme Court justice has been sending memos to the White House with suggestions of whom to fire and whom to hire.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president called on two Supreme Court justices to recuse themselves from any cases dealing with his administration.
  • 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
    • tout a 95% approval rating in the Republican party (he is the president of everyone, not just Republicans, remember?);
    • declare that “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA” (two days after this tweet, a whistleblower revealed that more than a dozen workers dealing with American evacuees from China, some of whom tested positive for the virus, were given no training and no protective gear);
    • call the Senate Minority Leader “incompetent” because he said that the administration was underfunding its response to the coronavirus;
    • tweet that “Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & CNN are doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus [sic] look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible”;
    • refer to one Democratic candidate for the presidency as a “chocker” [sic], another as “Mini Mike,” and a third as “Crazy Bernie”;
    • tweet that “the Coronavirus, which started in China and spread to various countries throughout the world, but very slowly in the U.S. because President Trump closed our border and ended flights, VERY EARLY, is now being blamed, by the Do Nothing Democrats, to be the fault of ‘Trump'” (look, even I don’t blame the president for the coronavirus and I was suspicious of him when my dishwasher developed a leak, but there is a concern about his disbanding of a pandemic task force that was setup for just this sort of epidemic, and about the fact that he seems to be treating this as less of a health crisis and more of a political problem for himself — also it is weird that he referred to himself twice in the third-person in this tweet, even though it doesn’t appear to be a quote);
    • accuse the Democratic party of trying to take the nomination away from “Crazy Bernie”; and
    • tweet that “Mini Mike Bloomberg’s consultants and so-called ‘advisors’ (how did that advice work out? Don’t ask!), are on the ‘gravy train’ and all making a fortune for themselves pushing Mini hard, when they knew he never had what it takes. Don’t pay them anymore Mike, they led you down a very dark and lonely path! Your reputation will never be the same!”
  • I am delighted to report that although the president did retweet a staggering number of terrible people, he did refrain from references to “Crooked Hillary.”

This Is Not Normal, February 17, 2020 – February 23, 2020

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Attorney General has violated legal, ethical, and political norms so egregiously that more than one thousand former federal prosecutors and officials, who served under presidents of both parties, signed a letter urging him to step down. Again I remind you that the federal prosecutorial bench is not a hotbed of liberalism.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the administration is diverting billions of dollars that Congress had earmarked for military funding to the construction of the border wall, angering both Republican and Democratic congressional representatives.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president continues to dismiss intelligence briefings on possible Russian interference in the 2020 election as a hoax.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s choice for acting director of national intelligence is removing longtime intelligence officers and replacing them with conspiracy theorists.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that in a campaign speech the president referred to the leaders of the FBI as “dirty cops” and complained about the federal case against his former adviser, who was convicted of lying to protect the president.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the WikiLeaks founder claimed through his legal team that the president offered to pardon him of any federal crimes if he would say that Russia had not been behind the hack of Democratic emails in 2016.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president granted pardons and commutations to eleven wealthy white-collar criminals convicted of a range of fraud, corruption, and perjury charges. (None of these clemency grants followed the normal process.)
  •  It is NOT NORMAL that the president complained about a foreign film winning Best Picture at the Oscars. (Ordinarily I would think this is too petty to mention, but it was just a bizarre thing for the president to involve himself in.)
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL (and also quite prolific). To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • tweet “HAPPY PRESIDENT’S DAY!” on Monday (ordinarily I would not pick at a mere misplaced apostrophe, but come on, we all know he thinks it is a day set aside to honor him);
    • continue to tweet repeatedly about the Daytona 500, which apparently was quite a highlight for him;
    • say, of the Mueller investigation, that “If I wasn’t President, I’d be suing everyone all over the place BUT MAYBE I STILL WILL!”;
    • complain that the DNC is “working overtime to take the Democrat Nomination away from Bernie, AGAIN!” (funny way of showing it they have);
    • repeatedly refer to the former mayor of New York as “Mini Mike” and accuse him of “illegally buying the Democrat Nomination” (like it or not, there is nothing illegal about spending millions of dollars on campaign ads, and also why are so many Republicans convinced that using an ungrammatical adjectival form is a sick burn on the Democratic party?);
    • retweet an aide’s Photoshop of a picture of a Democratic debate making the mayor of New York look absurdly short (this is the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES and his Tweets are OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS and all the other countries can see this nonsense);
    • claim that “Internal REAL Polls show I am beating all of the Dem candidates” (if this were true his campaign would have leaked them);
    • claim that two Democrats “grossly violated the Logan Act with respect to Iran. If a Republican did what they did, there would be very serious ramifications!” (no one of either party has ever been charged under the Logan Act, not even when the president’s son-in-law set up a backchannel to the Kremlin at the Russian embassy);
    • tweet that “Fake Media” reports of that Russia favors a Democratic candidate for president are “disinformation Hoax number 7” because the DNC does not want the candidate to be nominated, only to immediately follow that tweet with an image of the candidate as a ventriloquist puppet being controlled by the Russian president (don’t those two back-to-back tweets directly contradict each other?); and
    • refer to his 2016 Democratic opponent as “Crooked Hillary Clinton,” which I thought we had finally gotten past.
  • The president also retweeted many terrible people, including himself.

This Is Not Normal, February 10, 2020 – February 16, 2020

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Department of Justice stepped in and reduced the sentencing recommendation for a former adviser to the president, prompting four federal prosecutors to quit in protest. For context, there were several thousand federal criminal cases last year and this is the only one in which the Department of Justice intervened. I would also point out that the federal prosecutorial bench does not tend to be a hotbed of liberalism.
  • Similarly, it is NOT NORMAL that the Attorney General has declared that he will personally handle cases of interest to the president, and has ordered a review of the prosecution of the president’s former national security adviser, who has pleaded guilty twice.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the memo the White House sent to Congress explaining the assassination of an Iranian general did not cite an imminent threat from Iran, which was the stated reason for the action.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the White House is sending tactical law enforcement units to sanctuary cities.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president lied about at least two of the personal stories he highlighted in his State of the Union address: the Army veteran who supposedly got a construction job at one of the “Opportunity Zones” does not work at an Opportunity Zone site; and the fourth grader who was dramatically awarded a scholarship during the speech to allow her to transfer from public school has been attending a free, highly-ranked charter school for several months.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be a mess (and this week features a screenshot of Senator Marco Rubio making what appears to be a Wakanda salute and that isn’t really a NOT NORMAL thing but it’s also a whole lot of nope for one image). To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • refer to a sitting Senator as “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer”, while claiming based on nothing that I can tell that “AOC will primary [him], and win” (I don’t think AOC is technically old enough to run for the Senate?);
    • complain repeatedly about the “Impeachment Hoax”;
    • tweet “Meeting with U.S. Governors in a short while. All States are doing well. ‘Thank you Mr. President'” (I think he just thanked himself? For something?);
    • claim that it was a “nice conflict” for a columnist to write a critical editorial about him, because she is married to Senator Sherrod Brown who, did not, as the president claims “[drop] out of presidential race FAST” or “[poll] at ZERO!” (he was one of a handful of white male Democrats who chose not to run);
    • complain about the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, whom he appointed;
    • retweet a clip from the television show Curb Your Enthusiasm, apparently unaware that it was actually mocking his base;
    • tweet “DRAIN THE SWAMP!” sans context, and later “DRAIN THE SWAMP! We want bad people out of our government!” (and yes, yes, I do with all my heart);
    • complain that the judge presiding over the case of his former adviser had put his former campaign chairman (the adviser and the chairman are in fact two different people) in solitary confinement, asking the rhetorical question “How did she treat Crooked Hillary Clinton?” (she . . . had nothing to say about Hillary Clinton, as Hillary Clinton has not been charged with any federal crimes and thus is free to go for relaxing hikes in the woods as often as she pleases);
    • claim that a presidential candidate’s “calling for unity” is “sending signals that she wants out,” which is an interesting window into the president’s thought processes (the candidate might just want unity?);
    • tweet “Who are the four prosecutors (Mueller people?) who cut and ran after being exposed for recommending a ridiculous 9 year sentence to a man that got caught up in an investigation that was illegal, the Mueller Scam, and shouldn’t ever even have started? 13 Angry Democrats?”;
    • claim that the New Hampshire primary was “A very bad night for Mini Mike!”, a reference to Democratic presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg, who was not a candidate in the New Hampshire primary;
    • complain that the “Fake News” was failing to talk about his lopsided victories in Iowa and New Hampshire;
    • claim, after being publicly disavowed by his former chief of staff, that the chief of staff’s wife “once pulled me aside & said strongly that ‘John respects you greatly. When we are no longer here, he will only speak well of you'” (I feel that there must be more to this story, right?);
    • announce, in a tweet, where everyone can see it, that he would only allow New York State residents to use the Trusted Traveler program if New York dropped its “unnecessary lawsuits & harassment” (this is essentially the Ukraine thing, except domestic policy instead of foreign policy) and for good measure referred to the Italian-American governor’s brother as “Fredo”;
    • claim that he has “as President, the legal right” to interfere in federal criminal cases (just imagine if Obama had said this);
    • complain that the Democratic senator from West Virginia voted against him in the impeachment trial;
    • claim that the Democrats “are taking the [nomination] away” from “Crazy Bernie,” and I do hope people are paying attention to the president’s desperate desire for the Democrats to nominate Sanders; and
    • tweet a lot about the Dayton 500 (the president was *psyched* to go to Daytona, you guys).
  • The president also retweeted many terrible people, including himself.

This Is Not Normal, January 27, 2020 – February 2, 2020

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Senate voted not to have witnesses at the president’s impeachment trial (every other presidential impeachment trial has included witnesses, as have the thirteen impeachment trials against other federal officials).
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a Florida senator defended his vote against witnesses in the impeachment trial by saying that “Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a President from office” (that is not a ringing endorsement of the president).
  • It is NOT NORMAL that an Iowa senator said that if the former vice president won the presidency, her party would immediately push for his impeachment. (This is unlikely to actually happen, since if the former vice president wins the presidency his party is likely to hold onto the House.) Hilariously, this same senator claims to be “confident” that the president will stop soliciting foreign interference in the presidential election after his acquittal. Again, this is not a ringing endorsement of the president.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a Kentucky senator tried to out the whistleblower in a question during the impeachment trial. (The Chief Justice rejected the question.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that after cursing at and insulting an NPR reporter, the Secretary of State kicked a different NPR reporter off his plane for no apparent reason.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the former national security adviser (not the one currently awaiting sentencing, to be clear), by his own account, told the Attorney General that he believed the president was granting personal favors to the authoritarian leaders of Turkey and China. Similarly, it is NOT NORMAL that the former national security adviser alleges that the president’s personal lawyer was involved in the plans to pressure Ukraine to investigate the president’s rival, and that these plans were formulated as early as May 2019.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s DNA is being sought by a woman who claims he raped her in the 1990s and is suing him for defamation.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that one of the president’s attorneys argued during the impeachment trial that “If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.” (By this standard the president could break any election law on the grounds that he believed his reelection was in the country’s best interest.)
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be both NOT NORMAL and also quite voluminous. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • lie about whether the House asked the former national security adviser to testify (he declined) and whether there were Republican witnesses in the House hearings (there were);
    • tweet yet again “READ THE TRANSCRIPTS!” in the apparent misguided belief that the transcripts somehow exonerate him;
    • refer to a CNN journalist as “the dumbest man on television (with terrible ratings!)”;
    • complain about Fox News interviewing Democratic politicians and employing Chris Wallace, which he called “really pathetic” and “the beginning of the end for Fox”;
    • brag that “It’s amazing what I’ve done, the most of any President in the first three years (by far)” (this is not true);
    • refer to the impeachment trial as “just another political CON JOB!”;
    • falsely claim that the national security adviser’s book was “All Classified National Security” (this does not seem to be true) and “nasty & untrue” (also does not seem to be true);
    • refer to the Senate Minority Leader as “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer”;
    • claim that two of the House impeachment managers are “fighting big time!”;
    • refer to a Democratic candidate for the presidency as “Mini Mike Bloomberg” and argue that the Democratic National Convention is trying to “rig the election against Crazy Bernie”;
    • claim that “Mini Mike is now negotiating both to get on the Democrat Primary debate stage, and to have the right to stand on boxes, or a lift, during the debates. This is sometimes done, but really not fair!” (I don’t even know where to go with this one); and
    • tweet before the Super Bowl, “ENJOY  THE GAME USA, OUR COUNTRY IS DOING GREAT!”
  • The president also retweeted many terrible people.

This Is Not Normal, January 20, 2020 – January 26, 2020

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president described traumatic brain injuries sustained by soldiers on a military base that was attacked by Iran as “headaches” and “not very serious.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Justice department ignored an order to remand from a federal appeals court.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that multiple Senators found it impossible to just follow the rules and sit still and listen to the testimony in a presidential impeachment trial. (If a presidential impeachment trial cannot hold their attention, what can?)
  • Similarly, it is NOT NORMAL that several Republican senators required metaphorical smelling salts after the House managers quoted a presidential aide who said that the president wanted the heads of Republicans who voted against him “on pikes.” And if they are going to be mad at someone, logically they should be mad at the president and his staff, not the congressman quoting the president and his staff.
  •  It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s defense team persists in describing presidential impeachment as an attempt to undo the 2016 election (if the president is, by some miracle, removed from office the vice-president, who was elected in 2016, will take his place).
  • It is NOT NORMAL that an associate of the president’s personal attorney, who is currently under federal indictment, released a recording of an hourlong personal conversation with the president, who at one point ordered the associate to “get rid of” the ambassador to Ukraine. (And, look, it’s not like the associate could fire the ambassador, since he held no position in government — so why was the president telling him this? What did he think the associate was going to do?)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former national security adviser, the president said he wanted to freeze aid to Ukraine until its government agreed to open investigations into members of the rival party. (Also NOT NORMAL: reportedly even moderate Republican senators do not want to hear testimony from the former national security adviser, even though it seems undeniably relevant.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Secretary of State berated and cursed at an NPR reporter for asking questions about Ukraine (i.e., doing her job) and then insinuated in a press release that she–a graduate of Harvard and Cambridge with a master’s degree in European studies–had confused Bangladesh and Ukraine.
  • The president continues to tweet a great deal, to the extent that one wonders when he does things that are not tweeting. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president
    • tweet “USA! USA! USA!” apropos of nothing;
    • refer to two Washington Post reporters who wrote a book about him as “two stone cold losers from Amazon WP,” and then segue into yet another complaint about the time a congressman satirized his conversation with the president of Ukraine;
    • tweet that “It was exactly three years ago today, January 20, 2017, that I was sworn into office. So appropriate that today is also MLK jr DAY [sic]” (it is not appropriate for the president to try to make Martin Luther King Day about himself);
    • complain that the Speaker of the House “can’t fix” the homeless crisis in San Francisco (she is not in fact the mayor of San Francisco);
    • tweet “READ THE TRANSCRIPTS!” (he continues to labor under the impression that the transcript of the “perfect phone call” somehow exonerates him);
    • complain that “They are taking the nomination away from Bernie for a second time. Rigged!” (not one vote has been cast in the Democratic primary);
    • tweet “‘NO PRESSURE’,” sans context;
    • falsely complain that the House did not allow him lawyers or witnesses (his lawyers declined to participate in the Judiciary hearings, and the Republicans did call several witnesses);
    • refer to a congressman several times as “Shifty Schiff,” which I continue to maintain is anti-Semitic;
    • tweet “Crazy Bernie takes the lead in the Democrat Primaries, but it is looking more and more like the Dems will never allow him to win! Will Sleepy Joe be able to stumble across the finish line?” (this is just so weird);
    • approvingly quote a Democratic rival saying that he (the president) would be more difficult to beat if he was acquitted by the Senate, only to several minutes later claim that “the Impeachment Hoax is interfering with the 2020 Election — But that was the idea behind the Radical Left, Do Nothing Dems Scam attack” (don’t these two back-to-back tweets directly contradict each other?);
    • refer to his impeachment defense as “Our case against lyin’, cheatin’, liddle’ Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, Nervous Nancy Pelosi, their leader, dumb as a rock AOC, & the entire Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrat Party”;
    • tweet “Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!”, which certainly sounds vaguely threatening;
    • refer to a Nobel Prize-winning economist as “a lightweight thinker”; and
    • call a reporter “Sleepyeyes Chuck Todd.”
  • The president also retweeted many terrible people.

This Is Not Normal, January 13, 2020 – January 19, 2020

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s legal defense team does not deny the basic facts of the case against the president but calls the impeachment articles “brazen and unlawful” (presidential impeachment is not unlawful but is in fact described in the Constitution).
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a Republican congressional candidate, the president’s personal attorney, and at least one business associate of the president’s attorney who has now been charged with multiple federal crimes were all texting each other about surveilling the American ambassador to Ukraine, with what certainly sounds like intent to do her harm. I realize this sounds far-fetched, but based on texts released by the House of Representatives this week, it appears to be accurate.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president had a meltdown during an event promoting school prayer, triggered by the impending impeachment trial, which he referred to as a “witch hunt hoax.” I regret to inform you that the president again described his phone call with the president of Ukraine as “perfect.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the administration imposed multiple requirements on congressionally approved aid to Puerto Rico, after sitting on the aid for several months.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that Republican senators are arguing that the president was not allowed to participate in the House impeachment hearings. The House invited the president’s lawyers to participate; the White House declined.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s press secretary accused Democrats of “parroting Iranian talking points, almost taking the side of terrorists” (what Democrats did was point out that the killing of an Iranian military leader was strategically questionable, not supported by our allies, and potentially a violation of international law).
  • 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 himself as “the person who saved Pre-Existing Conditions in your Healthcare” (his administration is trying to repeal the ACA, which would also repeal the pre-existing conditions clause);
    • retweet a photoshopped image of the Speaker of the House and the Senate minority leader wearing Arabic clothing;
    • gleefully comment on a “feud” between two Democratic candidates for president, adding as a bit of a drive-by that a third candidate is “getting tiny crowds which are all leaving fast”;
    • complain that “Anything I do, whether it’s the economy, military, or anything else, will be scorned by the Rafical [sic] Left, Do Nothing Democrats!” (reminder that the Senate majority leader once said that “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president”);
    • tweet “Why should I have the stigma of Impeachment attached to my name when I did NOTHING wrong? Read the Transcripts! A totally partisan Hoax, never happened before”;
    • announce that it didn’t matter whether an Iranian attack was “imminent” because of the Iranian leader’s “horrible past” (I feel like the president would lose badly if he played Risk with my sons);
    • make a snarky, childish comment when a Democratic candidate dropped out of the presidential race;
    • approvingly retweet someone who called him a “monstrous, domineering behemoth” (the fact that both the president and the original tweeter apparently think of this as a compliment says a lot about the direction of our country);
    • tweet “I JUST GOT IMPEACHED FOR MAKING A PERFECT PHONE CALL!”;
    • repeatedly refer to a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president as “Mini Mike Bloomberg”;
    • claim that the impeachment trial is an attempt to rig the Democratic primary against Bernie Sanders (I will give him this, that is at least an original and unexpected argument–also, it could not be more obvious that the president is dying to run against Bernie Sanders);
    • argue that “Your 2nd Amendment is under very serious attack in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia. That’s what happens when you vote for Democrats, they will take your guns away. Republicans will win Virginia in 2020” (no one is taking guns away in Virginia, and also the Virginia state government elections are in odd years, so the Republicans cannot win Virginia in 2020); and
    • call a book that describes a temper tantrum he had in front of high-ranking generals “Another Fake Book by two third rate Washington Post reporters”.

This Is Not Normal, January 6, 2020 – January 12, 2020

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that American citizens of Iranian descent were detained at the border for no apparent reason.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Senate Majority Leader will not commit to calling witnesses or hearing evidence at the president’s impeachment trial.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a senator from the president’s party said that the administration’s briefing on the assassination of an Iranian military leader was the worst briefing he’d ever seen.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, according to reporting by the Wall Street Journal, the president’s decision to assassinate the Iranian military leader was partially motivated by his desire for support from conservative Senators in his impeachment trial.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president lied about the military assistance to Ukraine that is at the heart of his impeachment trial: contrary to what the president said, the aid was not delivered earlier than expected.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president told a Fox News reporter that Iran had planned to attack “four embassies” in the Middle East, a statement contradicted by his own defense secretary and not backed up by the intelligence shared with Congress.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is being sued by a writer because he allegedly raped her (not to be confused with the other sexual assault case brought by a former contestant on the president’s reality show).
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the former ambassador to the United Nations claimed that Democrats were “mourning the loss of Soleimani,” nor that a Republican congressman accused Democrats of being “in love with terrorists.” In fairness, the congressman later retracted his statement and apologized.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the administration apparently accidentally sent a letter to Iraq saying that the United States would withdraw its troops. How does that happen?
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • tweet “All is well!” immediately after Iran launched missiles at American military bases (I am sure this was meant to be reassuring; I was not reassured);
    • continue to try to make “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT” happen;
    • refer to the Speaker of the House as “Crazy Nancy Pelosi” and call the Articles of Impeachment “another Democrat fraud”;
    • claim that the Speaker of the House “will go down as perhaps the least successful Speaker in U. S. History!”;
    • claim that Democrats had “spent the last 3 days defending the life of Qassem Soleimani” (it is not defending the life of someone to point out that it was strategically unwise to assassinate him);
    • claim that he had a 53% approval rating, to which he wanted to add “7 to 10 percent because of the Trump ‘thing'”. (I cannot find any poll showing an approval rating greater than 48%; the current average is 41.8%);
    • tweet a request to a journalist to ask the Speaker of the House “why she allowed Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff to totally make up my conversation with the Ukrainian  president & read his false words to Congress and the world, as though I said it? He got caught! Ask why hearing was most unfair & biased in history?” (it was a parody, everyone knows it was a parody, the only person who thinks it was not a parody is apparently the president);
    • tweet “Why did Nervous Nancy allow corrupt politician Shifty Schiff to lie before Congress? He must be a Witness, and so should she!” (that’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works);
    • whine about having “the stigma of impeachment attached to my name” (he’s been committing impeachable acts since before his inauguration);
    • refer to one of the contenders for the Democratic nomination as “Crazy Bernie Sanders”; and
    • claim that “Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crime, read the transcripts, ‘no pressure’ Impeachment Hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have. I agree!” (So what I am hearing here is that the president is worried about what would come out in a trial.)
  • The president also retweeted many terrible people.

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

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that newly released emails from the White House show that the administration asked its officials not to talk about the suspension of military aid to Ukraine.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that in a speech to young conservatives, the president said that he had “studied [wind turbines] better than anybody I know” and that “I never understood wind. You know, I know windmills very much. They’re noisy. They kill the birds. . . . They’re made in China and Germany, mostly. But they’re manufactured tremendous if you’re into this, tremendous fumes. Gases are spewing into the atmosphere. You know we have a world, right? So the world is tiny compared to the universe. So tremendous, tremendous amount of fumes and everything.” (Reminder that all the other countries can hear him when he talks.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president retweeted a social media post that named the whistleblower at the center of the Ukraine scandal.
  • It was a slow news week, but a busy presidential Twitter week. This week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • describe the impeachment hearings as “the most unfair trial in the history of the U. S. Congress” (it wasn’t a trial) and accusing the Speaker of the House of “breaking all rules” (she didn’t);
    • claim that the Speaker “is trying to take over the Senate, & Cryin’ Chuck is trying to take over the trial” (just no to all of that);
    • ask the rhetorical question “Why should Crazy Nancy, just because she has a slight majority in the House, be allowed to impeach the President of the United States?” (because that’s how math works?);
    • make the point several times that impeachment got “ZERO Republican votes” (this is because when a Republican indicated that he would vote for impeachment he was summarily booted out of the party);
    • complain that the Speaker’s district “has rapidly become one of the worst anywhere in the U. S. when it come [sic] to the homeless & crime. It has gotten so bad, so fast — she has lost total control” (does he . . . does he think that members of Congress are the mayors of their districts?);
    • blame the leader of Canada for having the president’s cameo cut out of Home Alone 2 on Canadian television (in reality, the cameo was cut in 2014 so that the CBC could run commercials during the movie);
    • retweet several terrible people whose accounts were later suspended for violating Twitter’s Code of Conduct;
    • attack California and New York for their “TREMENDOUS Homeless problems”; and
    • endorse multiple conspiracy theories.

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

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the outgoing governor of Kentucky pardoned a man who was convicted of murdering a father in front of  his family during a home invasion. (The man who was pardoned was the brother of a man who had raised thousands of dollars for the governor’s campaign; the two co-defendants in the case did not receive pardons, presumably because they were less well connected politically.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Senate majority leader — who would be a juror in any presidential impeachment trial — is coordinating impeachment strategy with the White House.
  • Similarly, it is NOT NORMAL that the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said that “I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here.” (Good to know.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is floating the idea of skipping the general election debates in 2020 because he expects to dislike the chosen moderator (or, you know, because he expects to embarrass himself).
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the inspector general of the Justice Department and the attorney general are publicly squabbling over the inspector general’s findings that the investigation into the president’s campaign was not politically motivated. (Of all the strange notions and wild conspiracy theories that have been floated in the past three years, the idea of the FBI as a hotbed of liberalism continues to disconcert me.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president of the United States is tweeting upwards of 100 times a day some days. But beyond that, the content of the president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • comment “Let our great soldiers fight!” on a news story about a pardoned war criminal being released from prison;
    • tweet “Witch hunt!” multiple times (occasionally in all caps);
    • refer to the opposition party as “The Do Nothing Democrats” several times over the course of the week;
    • tweet “Read the Transcripts!” because he is still apparently convinced that the transcript of the call with the Ukraine president somehow exonerates him;
    • refer to his impending impeachment as “sheer Political Madness!”;
    • complain yet again, and then retweet the complaint three separate times, about the parody of the phone call that the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee read (the parody may have been ill-considered, but it was neither treason nor fraud);
    • mock the teenage climate change activist who was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year (later the president’s communications team posted a version of the Time cover with the president’s head photoshopped onto the teenage activist’s body and how on earth they thought that made the president look good I will never understand);
    • claim that “Poll numbers have gone through the roof in favor of No Impeachment, especially with Swing States and Independents in Swing States” (they have not; poll numbers have consistently shown about fifty percent of the country in favor of impeachment and removal and about 41 percent of the country opposed to both);
    • make an obvious bid for a “wonderful” Supreme Court Justice’s sympathy, apparently in an attempt to curry favor before the hearings on Congress’s subpoena of the president’s financial records;
    • complain about Fox News interviewing “sleazebag & totally discredited former FBI Director James Comey, & also corrupt politician Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff”;
    • refer to MSNBC as “Commiecast,” which I think is a new one, refer to a CNN anchor of Italian-American heritage as “Fredo,” and claim that “Only pro Trump Fox shows do well”;
    • refer to his 2016 presidential campaign opponent as “Crooked Hillary”;
    • refer to his phone call with the Ukraine president as “PERFECT”; and
    • claim that the Democrats did not include bribery among the articles of impeachment because the Speaker’s “teeth were falling out of her mouth, and she didn’t have time to think!” (I confess this one confuses me).
  • I really only skimmed the president’s tweets this week because I apparently do not have as much time on my hands as the president of the United States does.

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

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that, after a shooting at a naval base in Florida by a Saudi military officer, the president apparently took the Saudi government’s expression of innocence at face value and defended Saudi Arabia before issuing condolences of his own.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is trying to prevent the release of his financial records to Manhattan prosecutors, despite the fact that a valid subpoena has been issued.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the attorney general suggested that communities that criticize police misconduct “may find themselves without the police protection they need.” (Police are not above criticism; treating them as if they are is incredibly dangerous to civil liberties; and this is the kind of threat that you would expect to hear from Tony Soprano, not the top law enforcement officer of the United States.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that in an attempt to defend the president, Republican Senators are repeating debunked conspiracy theories about Ukraine that most if not all of them know perfectly well are not credible.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the attorney general (who is really having a banner week) is hinting to Justice officials that he does not like the results of an inspector general’s investigation into the investigation of the president’s campaign.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president abruptly cancelled his final press conference at the NATO meeting in Britain, presumably in a fit of pique after a video of other leaders mocking him was widely circulated on social media.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • call the Democrats in Congress “Do Nothing Democrats” repeatedly, despite the fact that the Democratic House of Representatives has passed literally hundreds of bills that the Senate Majority Leader won’t bring to the floor;
    • continue to mock a former FBI agent who had an affair with another FBI agent investigating the president’s 2016 campaign;
    • complain about the Federal Reserve Board’s decision not to lower interest rates;
    • complain that the “Fake News Media is doing everything possible to belittle my VERY successful trip to London for NATO” and insist that “I got along great with the NATO leaders”;
    • again refer to his phone call with the president of Ukraine as “perfect”;
    • argue that the Speaker of the House “had a nervous fit” when she announced that the House would be pursuing impeachment;
    • tweet “Where’s the Fake Whistleblower? Where’s Whistleblower number 2? Where’s the phony informer who got it all wrong?” (again I remind you that the transcript that the White House voluntarily released lines up very well with all of the allegations that the Whistleblower made); and
    • demand a retraction of a CNN report that he uses his personal cell phone for secure calls despite warnings.
  • The president also retweeted an extraordinary number of terrible people.