This Is Not Normal, July 31, 2018 – August 6, 2018

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is apparently so out of touch with normal life that he thinks you need a picture ID to buy groceries. He asserted this when arguing that photo IDs should be required to vote, and it is also NOT NORMAL that a member of the president’s voter fraud commission released a trove of documents this week which says that there was a “pre-ordained outcome” and that the sections devoted to actual evidence of voter fraud were “glaringly empty.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that Facebook and other social networks have discovered multiple fake accounts and pages seeking to influence the November midterm elections, which seem to be (but cannot be definitely proven to be) linked to Russian hackers.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that senior administration officials defended the president’s family separation policy, calling the detention centers “like a summer camp.” (The official who compared the detention centers to a summer camp declined to say whether he would be happy for his children to spend their vacations there.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that in the process of investigating the links between the president’s campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election, the special counsel discovered lobbyists from both parties who have failed to register as foreign lobbyists.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s press secretary refused to disavow the president’s description of the press as “the enemy of the people.” I remind you that Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1786 that “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it,” and before you tell me that the press was different then, I urge you to research James T. Callender (spoiler alert: he was quite a bit less respectful and more strident than the average member of today’s White House press corps). Jefferson also has a lot of interesting things to say about journalists who are in the pocket of the government, so I suspect he would not be a huge fan of Fox News.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that many Republican leaders are continuing to support the Republican candidate for the Senate in Virginia, despite his use of nakedly white nationalist rhetoric.
  • Many of the president’s statements at rallies in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio this week were NOT NORMAL. For example:
    • He again referred to a sitting member of Congress as “a seriously low IQ person”;
    • claimed, sans evidence, that China and North Korea are also meddling in American elections;
    • mocked a senator who is currently suffering from brain cancer for voting against a repeal of Obamacare, including mimicking the senator’s injury that was received while a prisoner of war in Vietnam (seriously, if you are not comfortable saying publicly that the president is wrong for doing this I have zero interest in your opinion of football players kneeling during the national anthem, but I’m genuinely impressed at your ability to manage cognitive dissonance);
    • made wildly misleading comments about the costs of the new American embassy in Jerusalem;
    • claimed that MS-13 is “occupying our country”; and
    • took credit for people saying “Merry Christmas” (newsflash: it has never been illegal to say “Merry Christmas” and it never waned appreciably in popularity).
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. Specifically, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • attempt to claim credit for reuniting some of the families who were forcibly separated by his own policy (this reminds me of the joke about the man who murdered his parents and begged for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan);
    • refer to the Koch brothers as “globalist” and attack them because they are not giving donations to some of his favored candidates (also, he claims that he “made them richer” which does give the lie to the idea that his policies are aimed at uplifting the middle class);
    • refer to Rush Limbaugh as “a great guy who truly gets it!”;
    • simultaneously argue that collusion with Russia is not a crime and that his opponent’s campaign should be investigated for collusion;
    • continue to threaten a government shutdown if Congress declines to fund his border wall;
    • walk right up to the line of ordering the Attorney General to fire the special counsel;
    • complain that no one told him that his former campaign manager was under investigation, and also compare his former campaign manager favorably to Al Capone, which seems like an awfully low bar;
    • attempt to walk back his daughter’s statement that she did not believe that the press were the “enemy of the people”;
    • retweet the Drudge Report several times;
    • insult the intelligence of both a CNN anchor and a star basketball player, both of whom happen to be Black, as is the sitting member of Congress whose intelligence he insulted at a rally (surely I am not the only person who is seeing a pattern here);
    • say that the “Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE,” and this time I will remind you that Alexander Hamilton said that the free press is “essential to the preservation of free government — the disallowance of it is fatal”;
    • admit, the process of trying to defend his son, that the June 2016 meeting with Russian operatives was intended to gather information about his opponent, not (as he previously said) about Russian adoption law and falsely claim that such a meeting was “totally legal and done all the time in politics”; and
    • complain that the special counsel and “17 Angry Democrats” were failing to look into his opponent’s behavior (wasn’t it 13 Angry Democrats just a few weeks ago? Where did the other four come from?).
  • It will come as no surprise that both “Crooked Hillary” and the “Rigged Witch Hunt” featured in this week’s tweets.
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