This Is Not Normal, April 24, 2018 – April 30, 2018

This is your weekly reminder that this is not normal.

  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to nominate someone so wildly unqualified to be the secretary of Veterans Affairs that a bipartisan group of senators expresses a desire to investigate him more fully before confirmation. (I’m not going to dunk on Ronny Jackson here, and I suspect some of the more lurid allegations against him were overblown, but he was in no way qualified for this position and the fact that senators in the president’s own party were unwilling to defend him speaks to that.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to make a public show of picking “dandruff” off a world leader’s lapel during a photo call. That is not a sentence I ever expected to type, but here we are.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the Speaker of the House to fire the House chaplain for mysterious reasons that may or may not involve a contentious prayer during the tax bill negotiations. This whole situation is a puzzle to me: I’m not sure why there is a House chaplain in the first place, or why the Speaker would decide to use up his dwindling political capital on terminating him. (For the record, couple of days after the firing, the Speaker told his caucus that it was because of poor pastoral services, but even some members of the Speaker’s own party have denied any problem with the chaplain.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the test of the 2020 census is going so poorly that the Rhode Island governor and some Providence officials are charging it was conducted with “gross incompetence.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Russian lawyer who met with the president’s son and son-in-law during the 2016 presidential campaign is now claiming to be an operative for the Russian government.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that yet another Congressman has resigned because of sexual harassment allegations.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a federal agency has somehow lost track of over one thousand migrant children who were placed with sponsors.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Senate majority leader refuses to bring a bipartisan bill protecting the special counsel to the floor for a vote.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the EPA chief is apparently so corrupt that even his political mentor wants to see an investigation into the multiple allegations against him. While we’re on the subject of the EPA, it is also NOT NORMAL that the EPA is now restricting the types of scientific research that can be used when developing environmental policies.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the House Intelligence Committee to release a report concluding there was “no evidence” that the president’s campaign colluded with Russia when they did not interview several critical witnesses.
  • There were many NOT NORMAL things at the president’s pep rally in Michigan this weekend:
    • It was NOT NORMAL for the president to exaggerate the number of people at his rally, or at the rally at which he spoke in November 2016.
    • It continues to be NOT NORMAL for the president to tout his Electoral College win eighteen months later.
    • It is NOT NORMAL for the president of the United States to say “we have the worst laws anywhere in the world.”
    • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to refer to a sitting governor as “Moonbeam.”
    • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to allege that Democrats “don’t care about our military . . . our borders or crime.”
    • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to continue to make specious allegations against the former director of the FBI as well as the former acting director of the FBI.
    • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to claim he won the “Republican of the Year award” in 2012, which he doesn’t seem to have won and may in fact not actually exist.”
    • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to ask if “there are any Hispanics in the room” during his speech and to fail to admonish the crowd when they began to boo, apparently, the concept of Hispanic people.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to:
    • complain that the “Press is so silent” about the special election in Arizona (in fact, it was in all the major papers);
    • again charge, with little foundation, that Democrats are “obstructing good (hopefully great) people” whom he’s nominated for government positions;
    • approvingly retweet Kanye West’s compliments to him;
    • fail to mention the man who prevented a mass shooting from becoming much, much worse;
    • again accuse the former director of the FBI, without foundation of illegally leaking classified information;
    • conduct sensitive foreign policy involving North Korea’s nuclear program on social media;
    • criticize a senator from the opposition party for making public allegations against the nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary (even if the allegations are exaggerated, the senator still had a responsibility to make them known once he was told of them); and
    • call the White House Correspondents Dinner “an embarrassment” and “DEAD as we know it,” throwing in a “FAKE NEWS” reference for good measure (however you may feel about the comedian’s speech at the dinner this year, the president does not really have room to criticize anyone else as “filthy”).
  • There was no “Crooked Hillary” this week! Alas, the president did refer to a “Witch Hunt” several times.
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