This Is Not Normal: The First Year

It is NOT NORMAL that white nationalist Steve Bannon has been appointed chief strategist to the president.
It is NOT NORMAL that conspiracy theorist Michael Flynn has been appointed national security adviser.
It is NOT NORMAL that our president-elect tried, via Twitter, to coerce the British government into replacing their ambassador to the United States.
It is NOT NORMAL that our president-elect told the New York Times that “the president can’t have a conflict of interest.”
It is NOT NORMAL that our president-elect has named his children to his transition team and also put them in charge of his businesses.
It is NOT NORMAL that our president-elect’s first statement about the death of a foreign leader was issued via Twitter and consisted of four words: “Fidel Castro is dead!”
It is NOT NORMAL that our president-elect cancelled and then uncancelled a meeting with the New York Times via Twitter.
It is NOT NORMAL that our president-elect settled a fraud lawsuit for $25 million.
It is NOT NORMAL that our president-elect is charging, untruthfully and with no evidence, again via Twitter, that the election that he won was rigged against him, and that he would have won the popular vote “if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”
It is NOT NORMAL that our president-elect retweeted insults to a particular CNN journalist because said journalist stated that there was no evidence of election fraud.
It is NOT NORMAL that our president-elect is embarking on a “victory tour” when he apparently doesn’t even have time for national security briefings.
It is NOT NORMAL that our president-elect is directing defensive, aggrieved tweets at China after breaking an almost forty-year-old policy by calling the president of Taiwan.
It is NOT NORMAL to nominate a doctor with no relevant experience whatsoever to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to publicly attack private citizens via Twitter, leading (predictably) to harassment and death threats.
It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to dismiss out of hand the CIA’s conclusion that a foreign country is attempting to interfere in our political process.
It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to nominate a business executive with close ties to Russia as Secretary of State.
It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to affect a company’s stock prices by tweeting about plans to change federal contracts.
It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect and his team to repeatedly call a popular vote deficit and relatively narrow Electoral College win “historic” and a “landslide.”
It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to ask “Why wasn’t this brought up before the election?” of something that literally was a question in a presidential debate.
It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to publicly attack a magazine the day after it published a negative review of his restaurant.
It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to request the names of non-partisan career public servants who worked on specific initiatives that he opposes.
It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to approvingly quote the Russian president’s criticism of another American.
It is NOT NORMAL for the presumptive national security adviser to meet with the leader of the far-right Austrian Freedom Party, a party founded by actual Nazis.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president-elect to complain about and criticize a former President and the current President on Twitter.
It is NOT NORMAL for a president-elect to try to conduct foreign policy via Twitter.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president-elect to congratulate the Russian president for his response to sanctions by the current government.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president-elect to refer to Americans as “enemies” in his New Year’s greeting.
It is NOT NORMAL for the Senate to push through Cabinet confirmation hearings before the Cabinet appointees have been vetted and full financial disclosures have been made.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president-elect to publicly attack an actress for a speech she made at a Hollywood awards show.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president-elect to name his son-in-law as a senior White House adviser.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president-elect to continue to resist the CIA’s assessment that a foreign country interfered with the presidential campaign, effectively siding with a foreign leader against American intelligence agencies.
It is NOT NORMAL that some in the American intelligence community believe that the president-elect may have colluded with and/or been compromised by the Russian government.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president-elect defended himself against those charges by citing the Russian government.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president-elect is refusing to put his business assets in a blind trust.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president-elect refused to answer questions from a CNN reporter at a press conference, calling his organization “fake news.”
It is NOT NORMAL that the president-elect endorsed an individual company and urged his followers to buy its products.
It is NOT NORMAL, and is possibly a violation of the Logan Act, that the presumptive national security adviser called the Russian ambassador several times on the day that Russian sanctions were announced.
It is NOT NORMAL that several of the president-elect’s own Cabinet appointees have distanced themselves from his stances on Russia and American intelligence agencies.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president-elect publicly accused the current CIA chief of leaking classified information to journalists.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president-elect spent Martin Luther King Day weekend attacking civil rights icon John Lewis on Twitter.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president spent most of a speech in front of the Memorial Wall at the CIA ranting about the media.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president insisted in that speech that the media had manufactured a rift between him and the intelligence agencies when in fact he had attacked American intelligence several times on Twitter.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president planted his own staffers in the audience of that CIA speech to applaud for him.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president spent a large part of his first day in office falsely insisting — and demanding that his press secretary insist — that his inauguration was better attended than Obama’s.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president used a meeting with Congressional leaders to repeat the lie that three to five million votes cast by illegal immigrants cost him the popular vote.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president openly (and erroneously) congratulated Fox News on having “many times higher” ratings than CNN on Inauguration Day. Fox News and CNN had roughly the same ratings on Inauguration Day.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president threatened (on Twitter, of course) to “send the Feds” into a major American city unasked and in the absence of an emergency.
It is NOT NORMAL that the Mexican president canceled a scheduled meeting with the president because he refuses to stop insisting that he’s going to make them pay for that wall.
It is NOT NORMAL that the Trump Administration keeps issuing poorly vetted, confusing, contradictory, and overly broad executive orders with little to no input from Congress or the Cabinet departments.
It is NOT NORMAL that the Trump Administration summarily banned not only immigrants, but also visitors, from seven majority-Muslim countries. It is even more appalling that this ban included even green card holders.
It is NOT NORMAL that the Trump Administration added white supremacist Steve Bannon as a principal member of the National Security Committee, while dropping the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence.
It is NOT NORMAL that the Trump Administration’s ethics rules do not include a public disclosure component, ensuring that the public will never be able to evaluate whether the rules are being followed.
It is NOT NORMAL that Donald Trump has already filed for re-election in 2020.
It is NOT NORMAL to fire the acting Attorney General for refusing to defend an order she believed to be unlawful. That is literally her job.
It is NOT NORMAL to have House staffers work on an executive order without telling the Senators/congressional representatives they work for, and to make them sign a non-disclosure agreement.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to use a breakfast with African-American leaders to mark Black History Month as an occasion to complain, once again and at great length, about the media.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to threaten to invade Mexico during a routine call with Mexico’s president.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to insult the president of Australia on a routine call and end the call 35 minutes early.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to spend time on several calls with foreign leaders talking about his electoral vote win and the size of the crowds at his inauguration.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president’s surrogate to cite an invented terrorist attack to support the administration’s refugee policy. The so-called “Bowling Green Massacre” never happened.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to personally and publicly lash out at a federal judge because a court ruling goes against him.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to defend Russian President Vladimir Putin by saying, “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?”
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to publicly complain that a brand has dropped his daughter’s clothing line. The complaint also makes it difficult to believe that the president and his family have truly severed their ties to their businesses.
It is NOT NORMAL that the above complaint was issued via Twitter during a time that was supposed to be reserved for the president’s daily intelligence briefing.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to repeatedly state that the New York Times was forced to apologize for its coverage of him when in fact no such apology was ever issued.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to state that any polls not in his favor are “fake news.”
It is NOT NORMAL for the First Lady to file a defamation lawsuit in which she describes her husband’s presidency as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to secure endorsement deals.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to describe a crowd of protesters as “enthusiastic supporters lining the road.”
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to take calls about and plan his response to North Korea’s missile launch in a public dining room filled with onlookers.
It is NOT NORMAL for the National Security Adviser to keep his job after being caught lying to the vice president about an illicit phone call to Russia.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president’s surrogate to announce that “ The end result of this, though, is that our opponents, the media, and the whole world will soon see, as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.” That is not actually how the Constitution works.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to respond to a question about rising anti-Semitism in America with yet more bragging about his relatively ordinary Electoral College margin.
It is NOT NORMAL for the Wall Street Journal, a relatively conservative newspaper, to publish a story stating that the intelligence community is holding back classified information from the president.
It is NOT NORMAL for the House of Representatives to refuse to investigate whether the executive branch has been compromised by Russia on the grounds that “it is taking care of itself.”
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to abruptly change his position and support a One China policy one day before China announces that it will grant him a trademark that he has been seeking since 2006.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president’s ambassador to the United Nations to announce that the United States fully supports the two-state solution in Israel one day after he said that the United States did not have a preference for the two-state solution. (Historically, the United States has supported the two-state solution; Trump’s statement was a surprising shift in policy.)
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to use his announcement of a new Labor Secretary nominee as an excuse to launch into yet another diatribe against the press, repeat the untruth that he had the largest Electoral College victory since Reagan, and rehash grievances from the campaign.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to ask an African-American reporter during the press conference if the members of the Congressional Black Caucus are friends of hers and whether she wants to set up a meeting with them.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to call a softball question about rising anti-Semitism from a pro-Trump reporter “insulting” and “repulsive” and tell the reporter to sit down and be quiet.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to call the press the “enemy of the people.” That is the kind of sentiment usually associated with Hitler and Stalin.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to hold a campaign rally three years and eight-and-a-half months before the next presidential election.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to use a terrorist attack in Sweden to justify his travel ban when no such attack ever happened. This is so abnormal that the Swedish embassy has requested “clarification” from the State Department.
It is NOT NORMAL for a senior White House official to ask the FBI to dispute media reports about an ongoing FBI investigation.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to deny access to a press briefing to CNN, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Buzzfeed, Politico, and other media organizations because he doesn’t like their coverage of him. It is also counterproductive, since the point of a press briefing is to influence coverage.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to insist in a speech that there were six-block-long lines waiting to get into the speech when in fact the speech was invitation-only and there were no lines at all.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president and his administration to complain about unnamed sources when senior members of the White House staff regularly offer briefings on background.
It is NOT NORMAL for a Republican president to make a public accusation that the election for the chair of the Democratic National Committee was “rigged.”
It is NOT NORMAL for the president’s press secretary to go through his staff’s private phones to see if they are leaking information to the media. (The meeting at which this happened was promptly leaked to Politico.)
It is NOT NORMAL for the Secretary of Education to use historically Black colleges and universities that were founded because of Jim Crow laws as examples of “school choice.” They were founded precisely because African-American students did not have other choices.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to suggest that Jewish organizations or liberal organizations might be responsible for desecrating Jewish cemetaries and calling in bomb threats to Jewish schools and community centers in order to make him look bad.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to suggest that President Obama is somehow responsible for protests against the current administration.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to create an initiative specifically to publicize “immigrant crime.”
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to repeatedly dramatically inflate the unemployment numbers and the murder rate.
It is NOT NORMAL for the Attorney General to lie about meeting with the Russian Ambassador during his confirmation hearings.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to call for investigations of the Senate Minority Leader and the House Minority Leader because they had on-the-record meetings with the Russian Ambassador. (It is, in fact, normal for public officials to meet the Russian Ambassador as part of their responsibilities. It is not normal for representatives of a campaign to secretly meet with the Russian Ambassador and then lie about it.)
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to devote a tweetstorm to the unproven allegation that his predecessor had his phones tapped. (Incidentally, if the phones were tapped as part of an investigation, that would be legal. It would also be requested by Department of Justice investigators, not ordered by the former president. It is not clear that they were tapped at all.)
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to follow up that tweetstorm with the non sequitur that his successor as the host of The Apprentice did not resign but was fired.
It is NOT NORMAL for a White House press release to contain a passage lifted verbatim from the press release of a private company (in this case, Exxon).
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to be granted trademarks for an escort services in China.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to appoint a national security adviser who is acting as a foreign agent for another country (in this case, Turkey). It is NOT NORMAL for someone to receive intelligence briefings while being paid to act on behalf of another country.
It is NOT NORMAL for the Speaker of the House to argue that the ACA doesn’t work because it relies on healthy people to subsidize sick people. That is literally the premise of all insurance.
It is NOT NORMAL for a masseuse with no background in energy policy to be appointed to a position in the Department of Energy.
It is NOT NORMAL for the spokesman for the State Department to be unaware that the Mexican foreign minister is visiting the United States.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to repeatedly host state visits at a property that he owns, thus profiting personally from his presidency.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to make a public announcement that he will not take a salary and then refuse to provide any verification that the salary is in fact not being taken.
It is NOT NORMAL, and it is downright dangerous, for the president to call out North Korea on Twitter.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to completely fail to understand the structure and purpose of NATO.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to complain about the way the media interviews his surrogates on Twitter.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to release a budget that guts programs for the environment, the arts, science, and health in favor of spending more money on defense.
It is NOT NORMAL for the OMB director to argue that subsidized school lunches don’t show results because they don’t help children do better in school.
It is NOT NORMAL for a member of Congress to say, “I’d like to see an America that’s so homogenous that we look a lot the same.”
It is NOT NORMAL for the Secretary of State to refuse media access on a major trip to South Korea, on which he threatened military action against North Korea.
It is NOT NORMAL for a presidential administration to accuse our ally Great Britain of wiretapping campaign headquarters, and to then be forced to apologize for the allegation.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to yet again melt down on Twitter over questions about his ties to Russia. In fact, it is just NOT NORMAL that our president melts down on Twitter on a regular basis.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s daughter will have an office in the West Wing and security clearance to see classified information, but is under no obligation to follow ethics rules.
It is NOT NORMAL that the Secretary of State is skipping a NATO meeting to meet with China.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to present the German prime minister with an invoice for NATO. That is not how NATO works.
It is NOT NORMAL that a senior adviser to the president has still not divested herself of a polling company with numerous private clients. This creates an obvious conflict of interest if she engages in meetings about government policies that could affect these clients.
It is NOT NORMAL that the chairman of the House intelligence committee revealed information about an investigation to the subject of the investigation and in a public statement to the media before telling his own investigatory committee.
It is NOT NORMAL that the former National Security Adviser, while serving as an adviser to the president’s campaign, met with Turkish government officials to discuss forcibly removing a foe of the current Turkish president from the United States without going through the normal extradition process.
It is NOT NORMAL that the current president’s former campaign chairman contracted with the Russian president in 2005 to influence American politics, business, and media in Russia’s favor.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to urge his former national security adviser to ask for immunity from prosecution before testifying in a Congressional probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
It is NOT NORMAL that the former national security adviser failed to disclose income from organizations linked to Russia on his financial disclosure forms.
It is NOT NORMAL for the White House to provide secret intelligence reports of wiretaps to the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, in order for the chairman to then “brief the president” and then present the information to the press. (Somewhere, a House of Cards writer is tearing up half a season’s worth of scripts.)
It is NOT NORMAL for the White House to try to keep a former Deputy Attorney General from testifying in Congress about Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election.
It is NOT NORMAL for the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to first refuse to make the election hearings public, and then to cancel the week’s hearings altogether.
It is NOT NORMAL, and just plain bad manners, for the White House press secretary to instruct a White House correspondent to stop shaking her head.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president, nearly three months into his presidency, is still complaining about something his general election opponent’s campaign did during primary season.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president accused the former national security adviser of committing an unspecified crime because she sought the names of Americans she believed could be colluding with Russia.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s daughter, who has not been elected to any position, is — according to her brother — the driving force behind the president’s decision to bomb a Syrian airfield.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president has yet to issue an official statement on a shooting at an American elementary school.
It is NOT NORMAL that the White House press secretary said that Hitler never used chemical weapons, and when reminded of the Holocaust, issued four clarifications in an attempt to draw a distinction between using airplanes to drop chemical weapons and delivering chemical weapons via gas chamber. It remains unclear why one is worse than the other.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president is again threatening North Korea, a nuclear power, via Twitter. You don’t have to be a liberal, surely, to think that conducting foreign policy over social media is a terrible idea.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president, after describing the delicious slice of cake available at Mar-a-Lago, talked about dropping bombs on Iraq when he actually decided to bomb Syria.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president apparently believes that Kim Jong-Il is still in power in North Korea. Given the threats the administration has been making regarding North Korea, one would like to feel comfortable that the president knows whom he is threatening.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president continues to refuse to release his tax returns, repeatedly using the excuse that his taxes are under audit when in fact even if they are under audit that does not prevent their release.
It is NOT NORMAL that Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist whom the president has praised and on whose show the president has appeared, is now claiming in a custody suit to be a performance artist, implying that he does not actually believe some or all of the theories he peddles.
It is NOT NORMAL that the Secret Service is paying Trump for “elevator services” at Trump Tower and golf carts at Mar-a-Lago. Trump is in essence being paid for the privilege of being protected.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s son-in-law, a senior adviser to the president, failed to disclose contacts with Russian officials on his security clearance questionnaire.
It is NOT NORMAL that the Attorney General would complain that “a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States.” First, that “island in the Pacific” is Hawaii, one of the fifty states that make up the country. Second, that is how separation of powers works, which any attorney — particularly the Attorney General — should be well aware of.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president would allow three guests to the White House to pose for a mocking photo in front of a portrait of a former First Lady. Were these people born in a barn?
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to remark that “Korea used to be a part of China.” In addition to being historically inaccurate, it raises an issue to which South Korea is very sensitive and introduces an unnecessary and counterproductive tension into the United States’ relationship with South Korea.
It is NOT NORMAL that the German chancellor reportedly had to explain to the president how trade with the European Union works ten times before he could understand why he couldn’t make trade deals with individual members of the EU.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s private business is being promoted by Share America, a government site.
It is NOT NORMAL that almost six months after the election, the president is still talking about both the Electoral College and the popular vote in both interviews and on Twitter.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president continues to claim credit for saving $600 million on production of military F-35s, when in fact the savings were announced in December, a month before he took office.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president again took to Twitter to complain that one of his executive orders had been overturned. It is also NOT NORMAL, and frankly embarrassing, that he blamed the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for overturning this executive order when in fact the judge who overturned the order is not an appellate judge and thus does not sit on the Ninth Circuit.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to refer to a sitting Senator as “Pocahontas.”
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to make comments that antagonize South Korea, our ally, even as tensions with North Korea are at an all-time high.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to ask the Washington Post to run the electoral college map on the front page on his hundredth day in office.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to counterprogram the White House Correspondents’ Dinner with his own rally. It is, in fact, NOT NORMAL for the president to even hold a rally three months into his term. And it is really NOT NORMAL for the rally to be attended by skinhead white supremacists. (Seriously, when you find that you are on the same side as the American Nazi Party, how do you not reexamine your life choices?)
It is NOT NORMAL that the current administration knew about Michael Flynn’s ties to Turkey and appointed him national security adviser anyway.
It is NOT NORMAL that the current administration has invited Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, an authoritarian leader who has been linked to extrajudicial death squads, to the White House.
It is NOT NORMAL for the Secretary of Commerce to describe bombing another country (and, you know, possibly killing people) as “after-dinner entertainment.”
It is NOT NORMAL for the House of Representatives majority party members to throw a keg party after narrowly passing a wildly destructive and unpopular health care bill.
It is NOT NORMAL for the White House to falsely claim that “most growth” in the jobs report was in manufacturing, mining, and “other services.”
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to attack a former deputy attorney general on Twitter, apparently attempting to intimidate her prior to her testimony on Russia and Michael Flynn before the Senate. Similarly, it is NOT NORMAL for the White House to call multiple Republican Senators mere hours before the hearing in an effort to have the hearing canceled. (Also, one wishes the president would learn to spell, or at least consult a dictionary before tweeting.)
It is NOT NORMAL for the administration to repeatedly blame the Obama administration for hiring Michael Flynn, given that the Obama administration fired Flynn two years before he was hired by the present administration, and that Obama personally warned the current president that Flynn should not be appointed National Security Adviser.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to repeatedly refer to the media as the “Fake News media,” even while promoting Fox News and Breitbart.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to relitigate the 2016 campaign, personally attacking his Democratic six months after the election.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to threaten a “shutdown” in September because the budget deal that he reached did not get good press.
It is NOT NORMAL for a journalist to be arrested for asking the Secretary of Health and Human Services a question.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to fire the FBI Director, who is in charge of investigating his ties to Russia. It is NOT NORMAL for this firing to happen when the FBI Director is out of town and unable to secure any documents in his office. And it is NOT NORMAL for the FBI Director to find out that he is being fired via a television news report while he is giving a speech.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to resort to name-calling on Twitter. (“Cryin’ Chuck Schumer”? Really?)
It is NOT NORMAL to refuse to allow the American press to photograph a White House meeting with Russian officials. It is really NOT NORMAL, and also (according to a former deputy director of the CIA) a terrible idea, to allow Russian government photographers into the Oval Office meeting to document the meeting.
It is NOT NORMAL that the Attorney General would recommend firing the person in charge of an investigation from which he has recused himself.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to attempt to intimidate the former FBI director by insinuating that he has “tapes” of their conversations.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to claim credit for an agreement with China that was reached by the previous administration in September, before the current president had even been elected, much less taken office.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to release a certified letter from his attorneys stating that his tax returns do not show any revenue from Russia, “with few exceptions.”
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to, according to the former FBI director, invite the FBI director for dinner and ask him to promise his personal loyalty to the president. Government officials are supposed to be loyal to the Constitution, not to a particular president.
It is NOT NORMAL to establish a commission on fraudulent voting in the 2016 presidential election when the vast majority of secretaries of state, most of whom are Republicans, insist there is no widespread voter fraud. (It is worth noting that of the three documented cases of fraudulent voting, all voted for the current president.)
It is NOT NORMAL, and frankly mortifying, that NATO has asked heads of state to limit their remarks at the upcoming meeting to two-to-four minutes to avoid taxing our current president’s attention span.
It is NOT NORMAL that the aides who prepare national security briefings for the president include his name in the documents as often as possible in order to ensure that he continues to read them.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to reveal top-secret information to the Russian foreign minister in the Oval Office. Even in my most paranoid fantasies I never imagined that the president would need to be specifically warned away from doing so. (As it turns out, the top-secret information that the president revealed came from Israel, so everyone who’s been telling me how great this president is for Israel needs to stop doing that now.)
It is NOT NORMAL for a Republican congressman to notify a Democratic activist’s employer of her political activities. (The activist has since resigned.) What’s next, self-criticism meetings?
At the risk of stating the obvious, it is NOT NORMAL for the president to ask the FBI director to quash an investigation into his former national security adviser’s ties to Russia. Subsequently firing the FBI director is, it goes without saying, also NOT NORMAL.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to suggest that the FBI director look into imprisoning journalists who publish leaks.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to essentially admit to obstruction of justice to the Russian foreign minister in the Oval Office.
It is NOT NORMAL for the former national security adviser to refuse to honor a subpoena from the Senate.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president is choosing to skip a visit to Masada because his helicopter can’t land right on top of it and limiting his visit to Yad Vashem to fifteen minutes.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president’s personal lawyer to suggest that the president should not sign his financial disclosure form.
It is NOT NORMAL for the secretary of commerce to note approvingly that “there was not a single hint of a protester” in Saudi Arabia. There were no protesters because there is no freedom to protest in Saudi Arabia.
It is NOT NORMAL for the national security adviser to indefinitely postpone a military operation opposed by a country for which he has recently done consulting work. (Note that this happened when Michael Flynn was the national security adviser; it does not involve H. R. McMaster, under whom the operation was eventually approved.)
It is NOT NORMAL for the White House to attempt to prevent the Office of Governmental Ethics from getting details on waivers granted to lobbyists working for the current administration.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president now regrets firing the national security adviser who had lied about previous communications with Russia and previous work for Turkey. It is NOT NORMAL that the president asks others to pass messages to the former national security adviser.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president reportedly congratulated the president of the Philippines on his success in the drug war, given that this “success” involves the use of extrajudicial death squads. While we are on the subject, it is NOT NORMAL that the president told the president of the Philippines that we had nuclear subs off the coast of North Korea.
It is NOT NORMAL for a Republican candidate for Congress to “body-slam” a reporter who was asking a question.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to be filmed physically pushing aside another foreign leader in order to get to the front of the NATO photograph.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president’s senior adviser/son-in-law to attempt to set up a backchannel to Russia before the inauguration. It is particularly NOT NORMAL to suggest using the communications apparatus in the Russian embassy.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to treat the members of NATO and the G7 with such hostility that the German prime minister publicly stated that Europe could no longer rely on the United States.
It is, in fact, NORMAL, for the president to fat-finger a tweet when on his phone and post something he didn’t mean to. It is NOT NORMAL to fail to delete the tweet for six hours and then make his press secretary tell everyone he did it on purpose.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to maintain that the former directors of the FBI and the CIA are less reliable sources than a former adviser of his, whom he still maintains he has never met.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to fail to affirm NATO’s article V in his speech at the NATO meeting. It is NOT NORMAL to blindside his secretary of state, secretary of defense, and national security adviser with this omission, all of whom supported the affirmation and believed it was included. (So if you said during the campaign, “Trump will listen to the generals,” it is time for a rethink.)
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to announce that a casino robbery in the Philippines was a terrorist attack before the police have completed their investigation. As it turns out, sometimes a casino robbery is just a casino robbery.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to publicly criticize the mayor of London shortly after a terrorist attack in London, particularly when the criticism relies on the president wrenching the mayor’s words out of context.
It is similarly NOT NORMAL for the president to use a terrorist attack as an excuse to score domestic political points for his unconstitutional “travel ban.”
It is very, very NOT NORMAL for the president to so offend Britain by his response to the London terrorist attack that several British politicians are calling for the government to rescind the invitation for a state visit. Reminder: Britain is, or used to be, one of the closest allies of the United States.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to repeatedly accuse the Democrats of preventing him from filling the confirmable positions in his administration. Of 559 positions, the president has failed to make nominations for 442, which is in and of itself NOT NORMAL.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president’s daughter/adviser to complain that criticism of her father’s administration has been “vicious.” Perhaps she has forgotten that her father launched his political career by spending eight years questioning whether the previous president was even born in the United States.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president’s attorney to argue that the president was right to fire U. S. attorney Preet Bharara when he did not return the president’s phone call, because Bharara was the president’s “employee.” This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the office of the presidency. Federal employees are not employed by the president and take an oath to uphold the Constitution, not the administration.
It is NOT NORMAL, and a bit of an oxymoron, for the president to tweet “Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication. . . . ” about the James Comey hearing. If Comey made false statements, then why does the president feel vindicated?
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to continue to be coy about whether or not he has recorded conversations in the White House.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to claim he has passed more legislation than most other presidents at this point in their term. This is so false as to be completely ludicrous.
It is NOT NORMAL for Republicans in Congress to repeatedly defend the president’s actions on the grounds that he is “new to this” and doesn’t really understand how government works, particularly when they spent eight years complaining that the previous president was too inexperienced.
It is NOT NORMAL for the former FBI director to accuse the president of lying in a Senate Intelligence hearing. It is similarly NOT NORMAL for the FBI director to refuse to answer whether he had seen evidence that the president had colluded with Russia, on the grounds that he could not reveal classified information in an open hearing.
It is NOT NORMAL that the attorneys general for Maryland and the District of Columbia are suing the president for violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president is reportedly cancelling his planned state visit to Britain because he does not want to face public protest. Since Britain is usually one of our strongest allies, it is also NOT NORMAL that we would even anticipate large-scale public protest — including a planned mass mooning — against an American president.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president has appointed an event planner with no relevant experience to head New York’s public housing office.
It is NOT NORMAL that the Senate is attempting to pass a major health care bill with no public hearing and no opportunity for voters to express concerns. (By contrast, the ACA was originally passed after several hearings and multiple amendments by Republican senators.) One has to ask, if this bill is such an improvement, why can’t the public see it in advance?
It is NOT NORMAL that six members of the president’s HIV/AIDS council resigned on the grounds that “ we have dedicated our lives to combating this disease and no longer feel we can do so effectively within the confines of an advisory body to a president who simply does not care.”
It is NOT NORMAL that the president is being investigated by the FBI for obstruction of justice.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president is attempting to distract the country from his own legal woes by complaining yet again about his former opponent’s email server.
It is NOT NORMAL that after the deaths of seven sailors in a naval accident, the president chose to tweet about his poll numbers and domestic agenda instead of expressing his condolences.
It is NOT NORMAL that the administration is severely limiting press access to the White House. The Founders never intended the government to operate in secret. That is one mark of authoritarianism.
It is NOT NORMAL that the Senate Majority Leader had protesters against the Obamacare repeal forcibly removed from his office, including having disabled persons removed from their own wheelchairs.
It is NOT NORMAL that after teasing the nation for weeks about tapes, the president announced on Twitter that he did not, in fact, have any tapes of conversations with the former FBI director. I will quote David Frum: “ President Trump has just informed Russia, China, North Korea, Iran: when in trouble, I make empty threats that need not be taken seriously.” This kind of childishness is literally dangerous to the country.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president, in the middle of a dinner with Democrats in the name of bipartisanship, repeatedly referred to a Democratic Senator as “Pocahontas.” Leaving aside the inappropriateness and unprofessionalism, it is difficult to understand what the president hoped to achieve with this nonsense.
It is NOT NORMAL that the Director of National Intelligence and the Director of the National Security Agency told Senate investigators that the president asked them to make a public announcement that there was no collusion between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russia.
It is NOT NORMAL that in a single week the president both insisted that Russian meddling in the election was a Democratic hoax and that Obama knew well in advance that Russians were meddling in the election and did nothing about it. Both statements cannot be true.
It is NOT NORMAL that diplomats from several countries have reportedly resorted to calling the National Security Council because the State Department will not return their calls.
It continues to be NOT NORMAL that the president seeks to relitigate the 2016 campaign every time he gets bad press.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president is complaining that the Democratic party will not get behind the healthcare bill when (a) the Democrats in the Senate were specifically not allowed to participate or even review the bill until this week and (b) the Republicans haven’t been able to get several of their own members to commit to supporting it.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to personally attack a morning talk show host in an attempt to humiliate her, presumably because she said something critical about him on the air. The fact that he did this three days in a row is even more concerning.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president’s commission on election integrity to request comprehensive voter data from all fifty states (including names, birth dates, addresses, party affiliation, military service, felony histories, and voting records).
It is NOT NORMAL that a compliance attorney at the Justice Department left her job because she felt hypocritical for holding private firms to ethics standards that that the current administration refuses to live up to.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president tweeted a mocked-up wrestling video of himself beating up CNN. The fact that this video was originally put together by a Reddit member who was discovered to have also authored a rash of racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-Muslim posts and whose user name is so vulgar that I won’t put it on my Facebook page just makes this particular tweet even more childish and irresponsible.
It is NOT NORMAL that the governor of New Jersey, in the middle of a government shutdown that forced the closure of the state’s public beaches, was photographed with his family at a state-owned beach house, nor that the governor responded to criticism of this weekend outing with “Run for governor, and you can have a residence.”
It is NOT NORMAL that, according to a report by the conservative Wall Street Journal, that a Republican operative, hinting at a working relationship with Michael Flynn, actively sought Clinton emails from Russian hackers.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president, in the middle of negotiating a major health care bill, reportedly does not have a good grasp on the difference between Medicare and Medicaid.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s daughter, who has no background in policy and no experience in government, represented the president at some G20 meetings, alongside the prime minister of Britain and the president of China. The United States is not a family business and it should not be run that way.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president tweeted that “everyone” at the G20 meeting was talking about John Podesta refusing to give the DNC server to the FBI and the CIA. Here are the issues with this tweet: (1) the CIA had nothing to do with this matter (2) the hack of the Clinton campaign was separate from the DNC hack and Podesta had no connection with the DNC (3) it is vanishingly unlikely that anyone at the G20 is following the email hack story in this much detail, except of course for Trump himself and (4) if anyone were following the email story in detail, he or she would be aware of points (1) and (2) and thus would not be discussing how Podesta refused to give the DNC server to the CIA, since that did not happen.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president is still tweeting that the former FBI director leaked classified information (he didn’t). It is NOT NORMAL that the president is still attempting to deflect blame for his own misdoings by tweeting about the former Democratic candidate for president.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president announced, via Twitter of course, that he and the Russian president were discussing jointly creating a “Cyber Security unit.” It is also not normal that the president later withdrew this announcement, again via Twitter.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s son, when running the president’s campaign in 2016, by his own admission met with a Russian lawyer because he believed her to have damaging information about the president’s Democratic opponent.
It is NOT NORMAL for the White House to release critical feedback about its voter fraud commission without redacting names or other identifying information.
It continues to be NOT NORMAL that the president attempts to distract the public by bringing up his Democratic opponent and issues from the 2016 campaign.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president tweeted that “I have very little time for watching T.V.” First, this is not a disclaimer previous presidents have had to make. Second, it is patently obvious that the president watches a great deal of cable news because of his frequent direct responses to cable news stories on Twitter.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president complimented the First Lady of France for being in “good shape.” This is not something a typical man says to a woman he has just met.
It is NOT NORMAL that the Majority Leader of the Senate is still determined to pass a health care bill so bad that it is opposed by the vast majority of the public and several governors from his own party.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president reportedly told the prime minister of Britain that he would only agree to a state visit if she could guarantee him positive press coverage.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s staff has attempted to defend the meeting that campaign officials (including the president’s son and son-in-law) had with a Russian lawyer and a Russian lobbyist on the grounds that the Secret Service would have prevented the meeting if it were improper. First, none of the attendees had Secret Service protection when the meeting was held. Second, the Secret Service’s role is to protect government officials and their families, not vet their meetings for ethics violations.
It is NOT NORMAL that the administration is increasing the number of H-2B visas while decreasing the number of H-1B visas. In other words, the administration is reducing the number of skilled immigrants who can accept jobs in the United States while increasing the number of unskilled immigrants. Perhaps coincidentally, he president’s hotels and casinos rely heavily on workers with H-2B visas.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to tweet “The Dems scream death as OCare dies!” (By any measure, that is just a weird thing to tweet.)
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to tell the New York Times that if he’d known the Attorney General would recuse himself from the Russia investigation he would not have nominated him.
It is also NOT NORMAL for the president to apparently confuse health insurance with whole life insurance in the same interview.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president have a side meeting with the premier of Russia for an hour during a dinner for G20 leaders. It is also NOT NORMAL that the president did not have his own interpreter for this meeting, but relied on the Russian premier’s interpreter; and it is exceptionally NOT NORMAL that there is no official government record of the meeting.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to publicly accuse the former FBI director, via Twitter, of unspecified crimes.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to complain that Republicans “do very little to protect their President.” This is not feudal Europe. Republican senators and representatives are not his vassals, and he is not their liege lord.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to, as reported, ask aides if he is able to pardon himself.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president and his staff to impeach the integrity of the special counsel investigating the current administration. As a reminder, this special counsel is a registered Republican, a former FBI director appointed by a Republican president, and widely respected as reasonable, thorough, and impartial by both Democrats and Republicans in Washington.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to publicly call on the Attorney General to investigate a political rival.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to give a partisan speech that includes booing former presidents at the Boy Scout Jamboree.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to speculate on whether he should be on Mount Rushmore.
It is NOT NORMAL for a top White House staff member to publicly lament how “demoralizing” it is to fill out financial disclosure forms.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to announce a major change in military regulations on Twitter with no formal notice to the Pentagon.
It is NOT NORMAL for the White House communications director to publicly blame (via Twitter, because of course it’s via Twitter) the White House chief of staff for illegally leaking his financial disclosure form. The financial disclosure form was publicly available, accessing it was not illegal, and there is no reason to believe the White House chief of staff actually played any part in its release.
It is NOT NORMAL for the White House communications director to say on national television, “There are people inside the administration that think it is their job to save America from this president. Ok?”
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to repeatedly taunt the Attorney General on Twitter in the apparent hope that he will resign.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to urge a crowd of police officers to use more violence when they arrest people. This is the kind of statement one would expect from Erdogan in Turkey, not from the president of the United States. Reminder: If you’re being arrested for a crime then by definition you have not yet been convicted for it. The president is encouraging police to mistreat people who may be innocent.
It is NOT NORMAL for the Senate majority leader to write a bill affecting tens of millions of people over his lunch break, bring it to the floor at 11:00 p.m., and offer roughly an hour for debate and amendments. It is NOT NORMAL that 49 senators voted for a bill that many of them said themselves was terrible and should not become law.
It is NOT NORMAL for the newly minted White House Communications Director to call a reporter to try to find the source of a minor leak; use a great deal of, ah, colorful language on the record to describe the White House Chief of Staff and a White House senior adviser; threaten to fire entire departments at the White House; voluntarily refer to himself as “the Mooch”; and after all the dust settled from this extraordinary interview announce that his mistake was to “trust a reporter.”
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to reportedly call the White House a “dump.” A reminder that the conservatives who support this kind of boorishness used to complain about Barack Obama taking off his suit jacket in the Oval Office and ordering the wrong kind of mustard.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to cite an approving phone call from the head of the Boy Scouts which the Boy Scouts themselves deny ever happened.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to retweet conspiracy theorists and scam accounts created to sell pro-Trump merchandise
It continues to be NOT NORMAL for the president to make ad hominem attacks on Congressional rivals on Twitter. Similarly, it continues to NOT NORMAL for the president to claim on Twitter that the New York Times apologized for its coverage of him when no such apology ever occurred.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to be unable to understand basic information about the refugee deal with Australia, as shown in the transcripts of his phone call with the Australian prime minister. It is also NOT NORMAL, and potentially detrimental to our relationships with our allies, for the transcripts of these phone calls to be leaked in the first place.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to complain bitterly about the use of anonymous sources and the leaking of information to the press, and then to approvingly retweet a Fox News piece that includes both anonymous sources and leaked classified information.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to, as reported, receive a folder of positive news about and images of himself twice daily.
It is NOT NORMAL that this administration has not filled important Korea-related positions in the Defense and State departments, nor nominated an ambassador to South Korea, despite the fact that we have known for several months that we were heading to a crisis with North Korea. This is not a confirmation issue. This is the administration just not bothering to fill critical positions.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to continue to spontaneously provoke an erratic foreign leader with nuclear weapons at his disposal. Talking tough on Twitter may feel good, but it will do nothing to resolve this crisis.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to claim that he has “renovate[d]” and “modernize[d]” the country’s nuclear arsenal. According to literal rocket scientists who specialize in American nuclear weapons, nothing of the sort has been done since Trump took office.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to “thank” the Russian premier for kicking 755 American diplomats out of Russia because he wanted to “cut down the payroll.” If you still don’t believe that there is something very strange about Trump’s connections to Russia I just don’t even know what to say to you anymore.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to respond slowly and vaguely to a domestic terrorist attack, finally making a statement praised by the Daily Stormer. It’s not too much to ask that the president openly oppose white supremacy. In fact, that’s an extremely low bar. (I think it’s fair to point out that in this case the president is out of step with his own party; many Republican leaders made very strong statements that specifically called out the white supremacist groups behind the rally in Charlottesville.)
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to take such a weak stance on Nazis that the CEO of a major company feels compelled to resign from the president’s Manufacturing Council in protest. It is NOT NORMAL for the president to then publicly lash out at the CEO on Twitter.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to call white supremacist protesters who were carrying torches and chanting Nazi slogans “very fine people” who were “quietly protesting.” (Pro tip: if you are standing next to someone chanting a Nazi slogan, and you don’t immediately leave or verbally confront them, you are not a “very fine” person.)
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to fail so utterly at condemning neo-Nazi extremist groups that several CEOs of major companies deserted his business councils and he is forced to dissolve them. Similarly, it is NOT NORMAL for the president’s entire arts council to resign for the same reason.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president’s personal attorney to forward an email full of secessionist propaganda arguing that “Lee is no different than Washington” to journalists and government officials. (To be clear, Washington was not just the leading general in the colonial army but also presided over the writing of the Constitution and as the first president of the country, established many of the political norms that stood the executive branch of government in good stead for more than two centuries. Lee, on the other hand, led an army that rebelled against the United States because of slavery, and was defeated. It is not hard to figure out the difference between the two men, and I’ll bet Robert E. Lee would be the very first person to admit that.)
It is NOT NORMAL that the president is being asked by the mayor of Phoenix not to hold a rally in that city next week because the president’s intemperate rhetoric is likely to cause violence.
It is NOT NORMAL that after a woman was killed in a domestic terrorist attack at the neo-Nazi protest in Charlottesville, the president called neither her family nor the mayor of Charlottesville. To be fair, the president did attempt to call the woman’s mother several days later, during her funeral.
It is NOT NORMAL that the Secret Service has run out of money to pay agents, due largely to the unusual number of visits the president pays to Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster, New Jersey.
It is NOT NORMAL that the administration is asking sheriffs to hold detained undocumented immigrants, despite the fact that the courts have ruled this is a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
It is NOT NORMAL that the administration is requesting the IP addresses and browser information of all 1.3 million people who visited a website that was used to organize entirely legal protests the day after the inauguration.
It is NOT NORMAL for a senior White House adviser to complain that the press is “not afraid enough.”
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to use an impending category 4 hurricane as cover to issue a controversial pardon that did not meet the typical criteria for a pardon nor go through the usual Department of Justice process. It is also NOT NORMAL, and, at minimum, a terrible message to send to pardon someone who was convicted because oof his willful and blatant refusal to follow federal court orders. It is further NOT NORMAL, and an attack on the rule of law, to argue that this person was convicted for “doing his job.”
It continues to be NOT NORMAL for the president to retweet obvious bots and attack various Senators from his own party by name on Twitter. (Also, I really try not to pick on spelling and grammar, but one does wish the president could learn the difference between “there” and “their.”)
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to lie about the size of the crowd at his rally in Phoenix on Tuesday. He says 15,000 attended; the Phoenix fire department says the correct number was 4,169.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s company was working on a deal to develop “Trump Tower Moscow” at the same time that he was campaigning for the presidency.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to hawk an ally’s book, brag about his electoral victory in Missouri, and complain about NAFTA on Twitter while the nation’s fourth-largest city is experiencing historic catastrophic flooding. (Also, when tweeting about the historic catastrophic floods in the nation’s fourth-largest city, in which people are dying, “Wow” should probably not be the president’s go-to word.)
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to insist on Twitter that Mexico will pay for his border wall through “reimbursement/other.” First of all, no one believes this. Secondly, it’s not a good idea to conduct foreign policy on Twitter. Thirdly, although I hate to repeat myself, the nation’s fourth-largest city is under water, so maybe focus on that. (Worth noting: the president wants to slash FEMA’s budget to pay for the wall until Mexico gets around to “reimbursing” us.)
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to comment on the size of the turnout when visiting Texas to see the damage done by the hurricane. It is NOT NORMAL for the president to use this occasion to sell a $40 USA hat not for charity, but for personal profit.
It is NOT NORMAL for the administration to appoint a former executive at DeVry University to run the Student Aid Enforcement Unit at the Department of Education, which has investigated DeVry.
It is NOT NORMAL, and it is reckless and dangerous, for the president to threaten North Korea and insult South Korea, one of our allies, on Twitter. The president should not conduct foreign policy on Twitter.
It is also NOT NORMAL that in the middle of a North Korea crisis, the administration has no senior people with expertise in or experience with U.S.-Asia relations.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to nominate a politician rather than a scientist to head NASA.
It continues to be NOT NORMAL for the president to castigate senators for not killing the filibuster on Twitter.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to reassure the DACA recipients that they “have nothing to worry about” when his own administration is already winding the program down. No matter what you think about DACA as a policy, willfully misleading the people affected by it about their future is simply wrong.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to surreptitiously halt funding to the ACA’s outreach program in an attempt to kill the Affordable Care Act even after the repeal effort failed.
It is NOT NORMAL for the leader of the sham “election integrity” commission to make sweeping pronouncements about voter fraud in New Hampshire that rest on factual error and a misunderstanding of New Hampshire law. There is no evidence of significant voter fraud in New Hampshire or any other state.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to base his decision about the leadership of the Federal Reserve on candidates’ personal loyalty to him.
It is NOT NORMAL for the House Ways and Means Committee to vote down a proposal to require the president to release his tax returns. This lack of transparency is pernicious to our political system, particularly when the president has so many complex business entanglements. (I don’t know what the president’s personal tax returns might show, but I do know he is desperate to hide them.)
It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s social media director retweeted a fake video of the Miami airport in an attempt to illustrate the seriousness of the hurricane. The video in question was immediately disavowed by the airport itself, and seems to have been a video taken by a journalist in Mexico City.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president’s press secretary to accuse the former FBI director, without providing evidence, of perjury.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to release a 9/11 “tribute video” that consists entirely of shots of the president. (I try really hard not to play this game, but just imagine the uproar if Obama or Hillary Clinton had done such a thing.)
It is NOT NORMAL for the secretary of the treasury to request the use of a government plane for a personal vacation (in this case, his honeymoon).
It is NOT NORMAL for the White House to call for the firing of a sports journalist because she called the president a white supremacist. Reminder: the president spent a large chunk of the previous administration accusing then-President Obama of being an illegitimate president who had faked his birth certificate, based on zero evidence. Additional reminder: If the president does not want to be called a white supremacist, perhaps he should stop making statements that David Duke enthusiastically endorses.
It is NOT NORMAL for the White House to defy a court order to release the visitor logs for Mar-a-Lago.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to refer to the leader of North Korea as “Rocket Man” in a tweet. This makes the United States look bad not just to North Korea but to all the countries with which we need to work. It is a very, very poor way to conduct foreign policy. It is also NOT NORMAL for the president to say in the same tweet that North Koreans are facing “long gas lines” due to sanctions when there appears to be no evidence of this.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to retweet a video of himself that appears to show him hitting his former opponent in the presidential campaign in the head with a golf ball. (I cannot believe I had to type those words, but here we are.) This does nothing to unify an already polarized country and makes light of both political violence and violence against women, both of which should be unacceptable. Remember when the president’s party fancied itself the party of decency and propriety?
It is NOT NORMAL for the president’s lawyers to carry on a conversation about legal strategy in a public restaurant so loudly that they are overheard by a New York Times journalist.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to begin a speech at the United Nations by talking about his property “across the street.” It is NOT NORMAL for the president, in a second speech at the UN, to call another foreign leader “Rocket Man,” threaten to “totally destroy” a country of 25 million people, and essentially call for an armed revolution in Iran. No one is impressed by his bluster.
It is NOT NORMAL for the secretary of Health and Human Services to take upwards of twenty charter flights since the inauguration eight months ago. Although HHS invoked the need for the secretary to review the areas hit by the recent hurricanes, at least seventeen of these flights were before the hurricanes were a factor. For purposes of comparison, Kathleen Sebelius took one charter flight in five years leading Health and Human Services.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to block a woman with stage 4 cancer from his Twitter feed because he doesn’t like what she says about the Obamacare repeal.
It is NOT NORMAL for the campaign manager of an American presidential campaign to offer private campaign briefings to the Kremlin.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to spend the weekend tweeting about protests at NFL games and John McCain’s health care vote when 3.5 million American citizens are in desperate need of aid after Hurricane Maria. Similarly, it is NOT NORMAL for Congress to be focused on health care and tax reform when Puerto Ricans are in dire need of assistance.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser to be caught using a personal email account for government business after the president spent a good year fulminating against his opponent’s use of a personal email account for government business. Government officials are often hypocritical, but rarely is the hypocrisy this blatant. (Reminder: as governor of Indiana, the vice president was also using an AOL account for government business at the same time that he was excoriating the Democratic nominee for her email system.)
It is NOT NORMAL that the administration did not have a high-level meeting to coordinate the response until several days after the hurricane. Further, it is NOT NORMAL that the administration hesitated for several days to suspend the Jones Act, which regulates shipping, for Puerto Rico, even though it was quickly waived for Texas and Florida, despite calls for the suspension from members of the president’s own party.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to claim that “all buildings now inspected” when that is not the case, according to people on the ground in Puerto Rico.
It is NOT NORMAL that when the president finally mentioned the devastation in Puerto Rico, he did so in such a way that blamed Puerto Rico for its own problems rather than expressing heartfelt sympathy or condolences. It is NOT NORMAL for the president to accuse the mayor of San Juan of “poor leadership” because she criticized him. It is NOT NORMAL for the acting Homeland Security secretary to refer to the situation in Puerto Rico, where people are literally lacking drinking water and other basic needs, a “good-news story.”
For the love of all that is holy, it is NOT NORMAL, and does not meet basic thresholds of kindness and decency, for the president to refer to the victims of the hurricane as “politically motivated ingrates” and complain that they “want everything to be done for them.” If you fancy yourself pro-life and you continue to defend the administration’s response to this crisis, you really need to take a step back and look at yourself, because nothing about the way the president has handled this situation shows a respect for human life.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to claim that NFL ratings were “way down” because of the “take the knee” protests when in fact ratings were up three percent from the previous weekend.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to falsely claim before an election that his preferred candidate in the Alabama Republican Senate primary had been “shooting up in the polls” since his endorsement. It is also NOT NORMAL (although, admittedly, rather amusing) for the president to delete multiple tweets endorsing said candidate after his chosen candidate lost. This is potentially a violation of the Presidential Records Act, but mostly I just find it baffling. Screenshots of these tweets exist. What is the point of deleting them? Finally, it is NOT NORMAL for the president to tweet several days after the election that “the candidate I endorsed went up MANY points after endorsement” when there is, again, absolutely no evidence for this.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to conduct foreign policy on Twitter, particularly when this involves telling the Secretary of State OVER TWITTER to stop negotiating with a foreign leader. It is also NOT NORMAL and profoundly lacking in judgment to repeatedly refer to a foreign leader as “Rocket Man.”
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to repeatedly claim that the health care vote is being held back by a Senator in the hospital when there is no Senator in the hospital.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to tweet that the opposing party’s candidate for governor in Virginia is “fighting for” the violent street gang MS-13. This outrageous, and false, accusation is made more puzzling by the fact that Northam is a veteran of eight years in the Army. I was under the impression that the president maintained a deep respect for military veterans, which would seem to preclude making wild accusations about their political positions.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s daughter, who is now a senior adviser to the president, was the subject of a criminal investigation into her business practices several years ago. Coincidentally, the president’s lawyer made a large campaign donation to the district attorney shortly after he closed the case.
It is NOT NORMAL that one of the sitting Senators from New Jersey is currently on trial for bribery. (Or, maybe it is all too normal. But it shouldn’t be.)
It is NOT NORMAL that a candidate in New York’s 21st congressional district has repeatedly referred to his opponent as a “child” and a “little girl.” This is sexist, and one has to believe that there is a way for him to make his point without resorting to name-calling.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to make a cryptic remark about the “calm before the storm” at a military dinner, and then refuse to elaborate on or clarify his statement. Similarly, it is NOT NORMAL for the president to repeatedly use his Twitter account to hint at the prospect of launching a military attack on North Korea. It is very confusing to me that as a nation, we cannot agree on the simple principle that foreign policy should not be conducted via social media platforms.
It is NOT NORMAL that FEMA removed information about current access to water and electricity in Puerto Rico from their website. It is also NOT NORMAL that the administration allowed Puerto Rico’s Jones Act waiver to expire rather than extending it, as was done for both Florida and Texas after those states were hit by hurricanes.
It is NOT NORMAL that the most recent presidential scandal is being referred to as “Morongate.” It is NOT NORMAL that there was a breaking news alert last week that twelve sources had confirmed that the secretary of state had called the president a moron.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president has tweeted strong criticism of a Senator from his own party four times in the last two days, reportedly including falsehoods about endorsements. It is NOT NORMAL that in response, the Senator in question described the White House as an “adult day care center.”
It is NOT NORMAL that the vice president spent, reportedly, more than $250,000 so that he could ostentatiously walk out of an NFL game because of a political protest by some of the players. That this was a preplanned stunt is obvious because reporters were told before the game that the vice president would be leaving early. It is also NOT NORMAL that the president then took to Twitter (because of course he did) so he could crow about how he’d told the vice president to do this.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president falsely claimed in a press conference that former president Obama did not call the families of soldiers who were killed in actions. There are many documented instances of Obama doing just this.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president said in an interview that because the stock market has increased since January “in a sense we are reducing debt.” That is completely inaccurate. The two metrics have nothing to do with each other, and the fact that the president of the United States believes that they do is, at a minimum, a concern.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president argued that NBC’s broadcast license should be “challenged and, if appropriate, revoked.” First of all, that is not how broadcast licenses work. More importantly, shutting down a media outlet because the president doesn’t like its coverage of him would be a huge violation of the First Amendment. A person who wants to use his political power to shut down free speech is an authoritarian.
Speaking of the First Amendment, it is NOT NORMAL for the president to continually post “In America, we do not worship government, we worship God.” This is an obvious and blatant sop to his base, but more importantly, the entire point of the establishment clause of the First Amendment is that in America you don’t have to worship anything if you do not want to.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to repeatedly complain about helping Puerto Rico and make statements such as “We cannot keep FEMA . . . in PR forever!” Puerto Ricans are American citizens and pay federal taxes and are as deserving of support as Texans and Floridians. While we’re on the subject, it is NOT NORMAL that six days into the California wildfires the president still has not made a statement about them.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to claim he met with the president of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The U.S. Virgin Islands are an American territory and thus the president is, in fact, the president of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Similarly, it is not normal for the Secretary of Energy to refer to Puerto Rico as a country. I try not to call out mere slips of the tongue that anyone could make but these seem significant because we are several weeks into a genuine humanitarian crisis in these areas and this administration seems to be continually distancing itself from its responsibility to people who are, again, American citizens.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s former campaign chairman had $60 million worth of financial ties to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch. For those of you keeping score at home, this is the same guy to whom Manafort offered private campaign briefings.
Unfortunately, this seems to be an evergreen entry on this list, but for the record, it continues to be NOT NORMAL to conduct foreign policy over Twitter and NOT NORMAL to repeatedly bash one’s opponent in the presidential race nearly a year after the election.
It can be NORMAL for the president to express himself poorly when making a condolence call to a war widow. What is NOT NORMAL is insisting repeatedly that he did no such thing, and repeatedly attacking the congresswoman who raised the issue, not to mention contradicting the war widow. A simple “I feel terrible that I increased her pain” would have been a more appropriate response.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president’s chief of staff to give a press conference in which he laments that society no longer treats women, human life, and Gold Star families as “sacred” (apparently he has no idea for whom he is working) and then make a false and gratuitous criticism of the congresswoman who angered his boss earlier in the week.
It is NOT NORMAL that the White House, having been caught in a lie about sending condolence letters to all families of fallen soldiers, resorted to sending those letters via UPS Next Day Air.
It is NOT NORMAL for a Republican representative, when asked how the administration’s budget and tax plan would affect the deficit, to say “It’s a great talking point when you have an administration that’s Democrat-led. It’s a little different now that Republicans have both houses and the administration.”
It is NOT NORMAL that the Attorney General told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he could not commit to not jailing reporters for doing their jobs.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to promise to personally pay the legal bills of White House staff. Note that the staff whose bills he’s offering pay are the very people who might testifying against him at some point.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president almost deported a Chinese dissident because a powerful donor talked him into it, only to change his mind because the dissident himself is a member of the president’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president did not make his 2016 tax return public when he filed it, as he was believed to do last week.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president tweeted that crime in the United Kingdom was rising thirteen percent annually due to the “spread of Radical Islamic terror.” According to a report released the day of the tweet, overall crime did increase thirteen percent, but homicides were down two percent and terrorist attacks represented only 0.0006 percent of the total number of annual crimes.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s chief of staff blamed the Civil War on an inability to compromise. It is also NOT NORMAL that the president’s chief of staff continues to refuse to apologize for his demonstrably false criticisms of her behavior at a 2015 event.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president wondered aloud why Japan, a “country of samurai warriors,” did not shoot down the North Korean missiles that flew over the country several weeks ago. (They did not shoot down the missiles because that could have escalated the conflict with North Korea, as most people would realize.)
It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s former campaign manager has been indicted on twelve criminal counts, including money laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent. I recognize that the White House’s defense of this is that the campaign manager was hired after the criminal acts took place. However, (a) this does not square with the counts themselves, which target activity between 2006 and 2017 and (b) even if the counts only targeted activity from several years ago, that would not speak well to the president’s ability to vet his employees.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president continues to call for the Department of Justice to investigate his former opponent in the presidential race. Besides being a transparent attempt to deflect from the allegations that members of his administration colluded with Russia, it is not appropriate for the president to use the executive branch of the federal government to target political rivals. This is because the United States is not a banana republic. It is also NOT NORMAL for the president to call the independence of the Department of Justice and the FBI specifically “the saddest thing” that was “very discouraging to me.”
Similarly, it is NOT NORMAL that the president continues to insist that such scandals as the DNC’s handling of the 2016 Democratic primaries and the 2010 Uranium One deal are appropriate matters for the FBI to investigate. Neither are criminal matters, and the most salacious details of both scandals have been repeatedly debunked.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president of the United States, for crying out loud, continues to use epithets such as “Pocahontas” and “Crooked Hillary” when discussing political rivals. Again I remind you that several years ago it was considered undignified for the former president Obama to wear shirtsleeves in the Oval Office.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president reacted to a purge of several prominent figures in Saudi Arabia by saying “they know exactly what they are doing.” It is especially disturbing that the purge happened shortly after the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser took a mysterious trip to Saudi Arabia.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president blamed the Republican candidate for governor of Virginia’s loss on his failure to embrace the president.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president complained that former president Obama “had zero chemistry with Putin.” Putin is not a potential love interest but the authoritarian leader of a state hostile to U.S. interests. It is further NOT NORMAL that the president seems uninterested in the question of whether Putin meddled in the 2016 election, saying “You can ask so many times” and “Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ And I believe, I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it.” One would expect a legitimately elected president of a democratic country to take care to ensure free and fair elections in the future.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president tweeted “Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’ Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend — and maybe someday that will happen!”
It is NOT NORMAL that the president nominated a former pharma executive to run the Department of Health and Human Services.
It is NOT NORMAL, for crying out loud, that a candidate for the Senate in Alabama is refusing to step down even though five women have plausibly accused him of sexual advances, both consensual and non-consensual, when he was in his thirties and they were teenagers (ranging in age from 14 to 18).
It is also NOT NORMAL that some of the remedies being considered by the governor in Alabama are (a) waiting until after he is elected and then removing him and (b) canceling the election altogether. In either case she would appoint a candidate of her choice. This becomes even more NOT NORMAL when you consider that one of the candidates being floated is the current Attorney General, which would allow the president to appoint a new Attorney General who would not have to recuse himself from the investigation into the president’s campaign and who could then muzzle the special counsel. Honestly, if you cannot see what an affront to the democratic process this entire story is, I don’t even know what to say to you. IF YOU ARE TRYING TO CANCEL AN ELECTION BECAUSE YOU MIGHT LOSE, YOU ARE NOT ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS. (My apologies for shouting. I find this particular story extremely infuriating.)
It is NOT NORMAL that the president nominated (and the Senate Judiciary Committee rubber-stamped) a person for a federal judgeship who has never tried a case, was rated unqualified by the ABA, and is married to a White House lawyer who is a witness in the special counsel’s investigation of the president’s campaign.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president apparently copied and pasted an old condolence tweet (oh, the phrases I never expected to use) about the Sutherland Springs shooting after the most recent California school shooting. I strive to avoid pettiness, but I would love to see just a hint of professionalism from the White House.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president said he was “forced” to watch CNN when in the Philippines. Frequent references to CNN programming in his tweets make it clear that he watches CNN quite often, and I doubt anyone was holding a gun to his head to make him watch it in the Philippines.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president falsely claimed that former president Obama “never got to land” in the Philippines. In fact, Obama had two uneventful visits to the Philippines during his presidency. It is true that Obama himself cancelled a meeting with the current leader of the Philippines due to insulting comments the Philippine leader made to journalists, but this meeting would not have taken place in the Philippines but in Laos and at any rate the Philippine leader tried and failed to reinstate it.
It is NOT NORMAL that there is a photograph of a senator appearing to grope a sleeping woman. At least I hope it’s not normal. In the interests of complete accuracy, I think the picture is staged and he’s not actually touching her. It’s still gross and a violation. (I’m just spitballing here, but might we reduce the number of sexual harassers in government by electing more women and fewer rich white guys who have never experienced a consequence in their lives?)
It is NOT NORMAL that the Senate’s tax plan includes a deduction for private plane ownership but drops the deduction for teachers who buy school supplies. I really try not to use this list to comment on policy, but that’s insane.
It is NOT NORMAL that the president spent the weekend attacking LaVar Ball for not being grateful enough for the president’s intervention in son’s arrest in China and Marshawn Lynch for his continued protest during the national anthem. Most presidents would consider this kind of trivia beneath them.
It continues to be NOT NORMAL that the president calls people names on social media. This week it was “Crooked” Hillary Clinton and Jeff “Flake(y).” Again I remind you that the White House has said tweets are official presidential statements.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to continue to berate LaVar Ball and NFL protesters over Twitter.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to tweet that Time magazine called to tell him he was being considered for Person of the Year but he turned them down. This is both remarkably petty and remarkably difficult to believe.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to try to appoint an acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau even though the law creating the CFPB states that in the absence of a director, the deputy director is to serve as the acting director.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president to argue that CNN “represent[s] our Nation to the WORLD very poorly.” Similarly, it is NOT NORMAL for the president to tweet that “ We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me). They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!” If you do not believe me, perhaps you will believe the former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden, who is (incidentally) not remotely liberal: “If this is who we are or who we are becoming, I have wasted 40 years of my life. Until now it was not possible for me to conceive of an American President capable of such an outrageous assault on truth, a free press or the first amendment.”
It is NOT NORMAL for a ranking member of the minority party to (a) settle with a former employee because of sexual harassment allegations and (b) hide said settlement by paying the former employee a salary for several weeks after she stopped working for him.
It is NOT NORMAL for the president, or any other member of the Republican party, to endorse someone facing credible allegations of making sexual advances — both consensual and non-consensual — on teenage girls.

Political protest is patriotic. And if you don’t think there’s anything worth protesting, you’re not paying attention.

Advertisements