This Is Not Normal, March 20, 2018 – March 26, 2018

This is your weekly reminder that this is not normal.

  • It is NOT NORMAL for the governor of Wisconsin to refuse to call special elections for vacant seats in the state legislature on the grounds that his party might lose. Further, it is NOT NORMAL for the governor to call a special session of the legislature to change the law after being ordered to call the elections by a circuit court judge that, by the way, he himself had appointed.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for a Saudi prince to brag that he has the president’s son-in-law/senior adviser “in his pocket.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president receive a court summons in connection with a lawsuit arguing that he is violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to announce new members of his legal team only to have the attorneys remove themselves from consideration several days later.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Attorney General was under a criminal investigation by the FBI several months ago, nor is it normal that the Attorney General later fired the person who authorized the investigation. (Some sources have said that the Attorney General did not know about the investigation, but his lawyers declined to confirm this.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president and the former vice-president to challenge each other to a fistfight. One wonders whether men are simply too emotional to run the country.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to call the Russian premier after his reelection and not bring up an attack on a former Russian spy in Britain, about which the British government has been very upset. (Earlier today, the administration announced that sixty Russian diplomats would be expelled from the U.S. due to the attack.)
  • The presidential Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    1. repeatedly accuse the minority part of not wanting to “help DACA”;
    2. complain about his own Justice Department’s decision not to ask the Supreme Court to hear an Arizona immigration case;
    3. claim, when defending his phone call to the Russian premier, that one former president did not have the “smarts” to deal with the Russian and two others didn’t have the “energy” or “chemistry”;
    4. threaten to veto the omnibus bill passed to keep the government open because it did not fund the wall (which is apparently not being paid for by Mexico);
    5. claim that “many lawyers and top law firms” want to represent him in the Russia case, which does not appear to be accurate; and
    6. complain after a televised interview with an adult film actress that “Fake News” has “never been more voluminous or more accurate.”

      This week, the president referred to “Crooked Hillary” twice, but, in a sign of progress, did not mention a “WITCH HUNT” on social media.

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This Is Not Normal, March 13, 2018 – March 19, 2018

This is your weekly reminder that this is not normal.

  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to fire the secretary of state via tweet, one day after the secretary of state publicly blamed Russia for an attack on a former spy in Britain. It is also NOT NORMAL for an undersecretary of state to be fired for contradicting the White House’s official account of the secretary of state’s termination. And (I regret having to share this, but apparently this is what the country has come to) it is also NOT NORMAL for the chief of staff to tell reporters that he gave the secretary of state a heads-up about the firing while the secretary was on the toilet.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that an adviser to the president’s campaign reportedly told at least two people that he had advance knowledge of the WikiLeaks hack of the president’s rival’s campaign.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s personal assistant was abruptly fired for a “security issue” so severe he was not allowed to retrieve his belongings from him office. It is also NOT NORMAL that the president’s 2020 campaign immediately hired the former assistant, despite the pressing security issue.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security to resign because because he “didn’t want to perpetuate misleading facts.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a firm owned by the family of the president’s son-in-law/senior adviser filed many false documents with New York City regulators while the son-in-law was running it.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a member of the D.C. Council posted a video positing that a recent snowfall was caused by Jewish control of the weather.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s lawyer told a reporter that “I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier.” (Also NOT NORMAL, if somewhat off topic: a really egregious attempt to make a Tennessee Williams play relevant to the investigation of the president.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to say in a speech that he lied to the Canadian prime minister about a trade deficit only to find out from officials that he and correctly intuited the state of trade. In fact, there is a trade surplus with Canada; and also, it is not clear that the meeting Trump described ever happened.
  • The presidential Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • post in all caps that he had been cleared of collusion by the House Intelligence Committee (in fact, only the Republicans on the committee signed off on the findings, and at least two of these members have since walked back the the report);
    • repeatedly quote Fox News;
    • attack the state of California for their sanctuary policies;
    • defend his comments about Canada and trade;
    • publicly urge a candidate to drop out of the Nevada Senate race;
    • celebrate the last-minute and controversial firing of a high level FBI official, while also calling the former head of the FBI (whom he fired last year) “Sanctimonious”;
    • complain that the fired high level FBI official’s wife received donations from Democrats during her run for the Virginia state legislature;
    • twice attack by name the special counsel investigating the links between his campaign and Russia twice, once complaining that the investigatory team had “13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans,” which does not in fact appear to be true (the special counsel himself is a Republican); and
    • accuse the fired high level FBI official of falsifying the memos that have been turned over to the special counsel.This week the president of the United States referred to “Crooked Hillary” three times and referenced a “WITCH HUNT” twice.

 

This Is Not Normal, March 6, 2018 – March 12, 2018

This is your weekly reminder that this is not normal.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president has not responded to the president of Russia saying that the Russian election meddling was due to Russian Jews or other minorities. (Yes, I know the president’s grandchildren are Jewish. I don’t care, and apparently neither does he.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is preparing to sue to prevent the porn star with whom he allegedly had an affair from giving an interview to 60 Minutes.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Qataris have damaging information about the president’s son-in-law/senior adviser that they are not giving to the special counsel investigating the administration for fear of damaging their relationship with the president.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a business connection of the president’s son has met with senior officials for the National Security Council to push a plan that would open up business opportunities in Venezuela.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of education gave an interview in which she could not answer basic questions about, among other things, the public schools in her home state.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to speak at a campaign rally at which he makes numerous false statements, seems to struggle with basic grammar and diction, insults various journalists and members of Congress, and calls for the death penalty for drug dealers.
  • The presidential Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    1. post about the ratings of the Academy Awards;
    2. continue to complain that the Democrats are abandoning DACA (again, the only reason this is a problem is because the president issued an executive order making it one);
    3. tweet that “many people [want] the job” of Chief Economic Advisor, which is not, according to reporting, the case;
    4. accuse the “Failing New York Times” of printing a “false story,” as well as arguing that his lawyers “have shown conclusively that there was no Collusion with Russia” (which is not true), referring again to “Crooked Hillary” (so we are back to zero weeks with out a Crooked Hillary reference), and personally attack the journalist who wrote the story, saying that she “is not given access” even though he is known to often call her personally;
    5. argue that the “Fake News Media” fails to mention Republican wins in special elections;
    6. argue that the Democrats “slow walked” many nominations, when in fact he has not made nominations for many positions; and
    7. complain that political pundits are not giving him enough credit when they say his approval ratings are “somewhat low.”

This Is Not Normal, February 27, 2018 – March 5, 2018

This is your weekly reminder that this is not normal.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that more than thirty Trump Administration members have been unable for various reasons to attain permanent security clearances.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico (and possibly other foreign countries as well) have been discussing ways to exploit the naivete, complicated business ties, and financial straits of the president’s son-in-law/senior adviser (who, incidentally, lost his temporary security clearance last week).
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Securities and Exchange Commission closed its investigation of a financial company one month after the company in question loaned the real estate firm of the president’s son-in-law/senior adviser $180 million.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s now-former communications director admitted in House Intelligence Committee testimony that she told “white lies” for the president.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president continues to torment his Attorney General, including referring to him as “Mr. Magoo,” in an apparent attempt to goad him into resigning.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president suggested executing drug dealers during his summit on the opioid crisis.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that that the secretary of the Treasury blocked the release of footage of himself being heckled by students at UCLA.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of the Interior continues to make political trips, including meeting with members of the National Rifle Association, using government transportation, which can be a violation of the Hatch Act.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the secretary of Housing and Urban Development to spend $31,000 of taxpayer money on a dining room table and chairs for his office.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of Veterans Affairs (seriously, what is going on with this cabinet?) is now suspected of both doctoring emails to hide the use of taxpayer funds for a European vacation and using his security detail for personal errands.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president started a trade war because he was in a bad mood. It is NOT NORMAL for the president to make any major policy decision unilaterally, without communicating it to his Cabinet, Congress, his own staff, or foreign trade partners or even having plans in place for such communications.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for members of the House Intelligence Committee to leak the texts of a Senator on the Senate Intelligence Committee to the press.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to suggest suspending due process for people with mental illnesses who own guns.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to say of Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power in China, “He’s now president for life. President for life. And he’s great. . . . I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll give that a shot someday.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL for a former adviser to the president to announce in a television interview that he plans to defy a subpoena from the special counsel.
  • The presidential Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    1. tweet “WITCH HUNT!”;
    2. post an map that purports to show the 2016 vote by county which (a) is incorrect and (b) refers to an election that was held one year and four months ago so it is maybe time to move on;
    3. take the attorney general to task on Twitter for investigating the FISA warrants through the Inspector General’s office rather than using prosecuting attorneys;
    4. tweet that “trade wars are good, and easy to win”;
    5. attack Alec Baldwin for his impression of him on Saturday Night Live;
    6. argue that “Mainstream Media is being mocked all over the world”;
    7. simultaneously argue that Obama should not have investigated his campaign’s collusion with Russia and that Obama did nothing about Russia’s meddling in the election; and
    8. charge that the Democrats do not want to make a deal on DACA when, in fact, DACA is being held up by Republicans and is only an issue because the president signed an executive order making it one.

      Also, we are back to zero weeks without a reference to “Crooked Hillary.”