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.