This Is Not Normal, December 26, 2017 – January 1, 2018

This is your weekly reminder that this is not normal.

  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to say in a New York Times interview that “I have the absolute right to do what I want with the Justice Department.” This is a threat to the traditional independence of federal law enforcement agencies such as the FBI.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to continue to be involved with his private businesses, specifically the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D. C. According to the director of revenue management for the hotel, ” . . . he’s definitely still involved. . . . he was asking about banquet revenues and demographics. And, he asked if his presidency hurt the businesses.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the administration to fire all members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS en masse. Previous administrations have permitted members to complete their terms before appointing replacements. In general, councils that advise on public health concerns are not considered partisan.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to focus the committee’s attention away from the possibility that a foreign power is attempting to influence federal elections and onto phantom allegations of FBI “corruption” and yet another examination of the former Secretary of State’s email server. Surely a desire to protect the country’s electoral process should be bipartisan.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that an advisor to the president’s 2016 presidential campaign team was warned in advance that Moscow was prepared to damage the president’s rival’s campaign and did not notify the FBI or the State department. (Keep in mind that several years ago when the Gore campaign was anonymously given a briefing book for the Bush campaign they contacted the FBI immediately.) It is even more NOT NORMAL that the advisor drafted a speech that he told Russian contacts should be taken as “the signal to meet.”
  • The presidential Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to (a) wish “enemies, haters, and even the very dishonest Fake News Media” a happy new year; (b) question why “smart voters” would elect Democrats to Congress; (c) continue to call his presidential opponent and the former Secretary of State “Crooked Hillary”; (d) accuse the media of using “Phony and non-existent sources”; (e) complain that the United States Post Office does not charge Amazon enough; (f) falsely claim that his approval rating is the same as former president Obama’s at the same point in their presidencies; (g) argue that the current cold snap disproves global warming; and (h) attack a magazine for posting a list of satirical resolutions for his presidential opponent, while simultaneously insulting her. In addition, given the tense situation in Iran, one wishes the president would not insist upon conducting foreign policy via social media.

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

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