This Is Not Normal, May 22, 2018 – May 28, 2018

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president’s daughter to receive seven new Chinese trademarks at the same time that the president was vowing to prevent a Chinese telecom company from going out of business even though the company has a history of doing business with Iran and North Korea.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that an adviser to the president during the 2016 presidential campaign sought personal access to the president’s opponent’s emails that were stolen by Wikileaks.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president said in a speech that MS-13 “killed a cop for the sake of making a statement,” which is a lie.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for a congressional candidate to say that Puerto Rico evacuees who have since immigrated to Florida should not be allowed to vote there. Puerto Ricans are American citizens.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the EPA to bar reporters from certain media outlets from covering a national summit on water contamination, reportedly forcibly shoving one reporter out of the EPA building.
  • It is NOT  NORMAL for the president’s son to have met with a deputy governor of Russia’s Central Bank during the presidential campaign.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to cancel a planned summit with North Korea without alerting South Korea first and while American reporters are still in North Korea. (At the moment this meeting seems to be Schrodinger’s Summit, as no one seems to yet know for certain whether it is actually cancelled or not.) Also NOT NORMAL: the Trump-Kim commemorative coins.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the White House to schedule a background briefing for several dozen reporters and then when reporters quote the source without attribution in a story attack the reporters for making up the source via the president’s Twitter feed. (Important: the source was quoted without attribution because that’s what a background briefing is, by definition.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to state in a speech that his administration was giving the military its first raise in ten years. In fact, the military has had a pay raise every year for more than three decades, and the 2.4% raise this year was smaller than the 3.4% raise in 2010.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s personal lawyer, who had only three clients, met with a Russian oligarch eleven days before the inauguration and was later paid $500,000 for “consulting work.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the White House attempted to restrict a classified briefing on an FBI informant who had contacted advisers to the president’s campaign to Republican lawmakers.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the director of the federal prison system resigned because the Department of Justice was flouting “departmental norms” and because his role was being marginalized due to a turf war between the Attorney General and the president’s son-in-law/senior adviser.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • repeatedly complain about a “spy” who infiltrated his campaign, and falsely claim that a former head of intelligence had admitted to spying on his campaign (in fact, the head of intelligence said clearly that the intelligence community was spying on what the Russians were doing, which is one of the purposes of the intelligence community);
    • call the head of intelligence in question the “dumbest former Intelligence Head, who has the problem of lying a lot”;
    • refer to the intelligence community as “the Criminal Deep State”;
    • repeatedly try to make “Spygate” happen;
    • say that the “GREAT Men & Women of the FBI are starting to speak out against Comey, McCabe and all of the political corruption and poor leadership,” which does not appear to be true, and then retweet this tweet a day later;
    • claim that Democrats are “so obviously rooting against us in our negotiations with North Korea” and “coming to the defense of MS 13 thugs, saying that they are individuals & must be nurtured,” neither of which is true;
    • falsely claim in a tweet supporting the Chicago Police protest that “killings are at a record pace” (shootings in Chicago are down 21% this year and were down 28% last year);
    • tweet “Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from their parents once they cross the Border into the U.S.” (this is not a law but a policy that his own administration announced earlier this month);
    • refer to the New York Times as the “Failing and Corrupt New York Times”;
    • complain that his campaign was not contacted about “the Russia Problem” (he was personally briefed on the potential for Russian infiltration in July 2016);
    • tweet “Who’s going to give back the young and beautiful lives (and others) that have been devastated and destroyed by the phony Russia Collusion Witch Hunt? They journeyed down to Washington, D.C., with stars in their eyes and wanting to help our nation…They went back home in tatters!” (this is by any measure a strange thing for a president to tweet); and
    • use his Memorial Day tweet to brag that the men and women who died in war would be very pleased to see how he is running the country.
  • Unfortunately this week saw several references to both “Crooked Hillary” and “Witch Hunt.”