This Is Not Normal, August 21, 2018 – August 27, 2018

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL for the student loan ombudsman to resign on the basis that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “betrays . . . families and sacrifices the financial futures of millions of Americans in communities across the country.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to refuse to release a statement praising a deceased senator or to lower the the White House flag to half-staff in the senator’s memory for longer than the minimum two days.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president’s former campaign manager to be convicted on multiple counts of tax fraud.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president’s former lawyer to not only plead guilty to federal campaign finance charges but also to explicitly implicate the president in those charges, making him (as it were) an unindicted co-conspirator.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Secretary of Education is considering allowing states to use funds earmarked for school enrichment to purchase guns for schools.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the administration is floating the idea of pardoning his former campaign manager, apparently in an attempt to influence the former campaign manager not to cooperate with federal authorities.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that international military recruits promised a fast track to citizenship are being discharged with little notice and on increasingly trivial grounds. (Please, tell me again how much the president respects the military.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL for a representative to be indicted for misusing more than $250,000 in campaign funds on, among other things, a plane ticket for his pet rabbit and a large number of video games. It is at least unusual that his defense strategy appears to be to blame his wife, who is also under indictment, for the entire fiasco.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president continues to talk about killing NAFTA and pursuing separate deals with Canada and Mexico while his administration is simultaneously working on a three-country NAFTA deal.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • tease the idea of revoking the security clearances of Philip Mudd and James Clapper if they aren’t sufficiently nice to him on television;
    • repeatedly complain about “Fake News,” a “Rigged Witch Hunt,” and “Crooked Hillary”;
    • tweet “If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael  Cohen!” (to be fair, unlike most of the president’s tweets, this was genuinely funny);
    • say that he “feel[s] very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family” because of his convictions on tax fraud and praise him for “refus[ing] to ‘break'”;
    • tweet “NO COLLUSION – RIGGED WITCH HUNT!” sans context;
    • direct the Secretary of State to “closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers” which (a) is not accurate and (b) is a pet cause of the alt-Right, leading one to believe that the president is simply throwing red meat to his base;
    • make snarky, passive-aggressive jabs at his Attorney General; and
    • claim that he has “over 90% approval rating within the Republican Party and 52% overall,” which are not poll numbers that anyone else can find (my own theory is that he mistook his disapproval rating in the Rasmussen poll for an approval rating, but that does not explain the 90%).
  • Also, it bears remembering that more than 700 children who were separated from their parents at the border have still not be reunited with them despite a court order.
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