This Is Not Normal, October 23, 2018 – October 29, 2018

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that Georgia’s Secretary of State, who just happens to be running for governor, said on tape that voters “exercis[ing] their right” to vote “is something that continues to concern us.” As a reminder, this is the same Secretary of State who has thrown out, or attempted to throw out, thousands of voter registrations.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president lied about working on a middle-class tax cut that would be voted on before the election, when Congress is not even in session.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that what appears to be a criminal conflict of interest violation by the Secretary of Commerce has been covered up by the government.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president has been reportedly making sensitive phone calls on an unsecured cell phone that the Russians and Chinese are able to listen in on. (I seem to remember him being very upset about unsecured emails coming up in the 2016 election).
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president suggested, in a speech to the Future Farmers of America, that he might have cancelled the speech not because of the eleven people who were gunned down in a synagogue, but because standing in the rain discussing the shooting with reporters mussed his hair. (Yeah, I know it was a “joke.” IT’S NOT FUNNY.) The president also made multiple references to “globalists,” a common dog-whistle to anti-Semites, in a speech given a few hours after the shooting at the synagogue.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president claimed that “Middle-Easterners” were headed to the United States in a caravan that originated in the Honduras, and it is NOT NORMAL that the vice-president then supported the claim. According to the State Department, there is no credible reason to believe this.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s campaign sent an email lambasting CNN on the same day that a supporter of the president sent a bomb (that was intercepted and did not explode) to the network. (To be fair, I’m sure it was an automated messages. Nota bene: you can unschedule those automated messages if they suddenly become wildly inappropriate.)
  • Here are some other NOT NORMAL things the president said during speeches and rallies this week (this is not a comprehensive list):
    • that California is to blame for the forest fires in the state because the state does not manage its forests or its water properly (this is not true, and the president’s description of California’s policy bears no resemblance to reality);
    • that part of the wall has been built (this is not accurate) and that San Diego is “begging” for the wall (also a lie);
    • that the murder of a Saudi Arabian journalist was “a very bad original concept” and that the “cover-up was one of the worst cover-ups in the history of cover-ups”;
    • that the treatment of his Supreme Court nominee was “brutal” and the Democrats “made him suffer,” because apparently it is just mean to ask whether the nominee might have attempted to rape someone;
    • that his administration had “dismantled” Obamacare (that is not true);
    • that he was responsible for the Veterans Choice program, which no one had been able to pass for “44 years” (it was enacted in 2014 in a law signed by the president’s predecessor);
    • that the Democrats are “openly encouraging caravan after caravan of illegal aliens” (this is not true);
    • that the United States pays for most of Japan’s military (this is not true);
    • that no one is allowed to say “beautiful” and “handsome” anymore, but he says it anyway;
    • that it was appropriate for him to hold a rally on the day of a synagogue shooting because the New York Stock Exchange reopened the day after 9/11 (it reopened six days later);
    • that he had eliminated the estate tax (he has not); and
    • that “Never Trump” consesrvatives “are losers,” “like fools,” “very foolish and very stupid people,” and “fake.”
  • Also, it is NOT NORMAL, that the president, who incidentally is a full-grown adult, repeatedly praised himself for behaving nicely at a rally after several of his political opponents were sent bombs by one of his supporters.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • refer to a potential rival for the presidency as “a crazed and stumbling lunatic who should be running out of money pretty soon”;
    • tweet that “Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this ‘Bomb’ stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows”;
    • complain about Twitter removing his followers (the vast majority of those removed were bots);
    • call the New York Times story about his cellphone use “a long and boring article” (that is not exactly a ringing disavowal) and later tweet from a cellphone that “I rarely use a cellphone, & when I do it’s government authorized”; and
    • claim that the “Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media,” when the bombs he was referring to were sent by one of his own supporters.
  • The president did not mention the Russia investigation or “Crooked Hillary” this week, but did refer to “Fake News” several times.
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This Is Not Normal, October 16, 2018 – October 22, 2018

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Secretary of the Interior, who is under fourteen separate government investigations, fired the Department of the Interior’s acting inspector general.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a candidate for an Arizona Senate seat accused her opponent of treason because of an offhand response to a hypothetical raised by a radio host in 2003. That is not the legal definition of treason. (As a general note, most things politicians do that people say are treason aren’t actually legal treason, but this may be the pettiest grounds I’ve seen yet.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a sitting Senator allowed herself to be baited by the president into producing entirely meaningless DNA test results that show that at least one of her ancestors was Native American. (The president promptly tweeted that the DNA test was “bogus,” and that “even they [the Cherokee Nation] don’t want her,” so it’s safe to say that no one covered themselves in glory in this foofaraw.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the blind trust set up by the Florida governor to manage his investments appears to be only nominally blind.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that several candidates for House seats have been accused in campaign ads of being terrorist sympathizers, in some cases because they have foreign names and in one case because the candidate was once a substitute teacher at a Muslim high school.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a radio ad for an incumbent House member in Arkansas warned African American voters that a Democratic House might bring the return of lynching.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president compared the accusations that a Saudi Arabian prince had a journalist murdered to the attempted rape accusations against his Supreme Court nominee (now a Justice). It is also NOT NORMAL that the president claims he would not want to sanction Saudi Arabia in any way for the murder because of “jobs.” (I admit that I have lost track of the president’s evolving views on this subject and it is not at the moment clear to me whether he believes that Saudi Arabia is innocent or simply that murder isn’t *that* big a deal.)
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • claim that the crowds at his rallies are “far bigger than they have ever been before, including the 2016 election” (this is not true);
    • tweet three separate times about the aforementioned Senator’s DNA test, calling her “Pocahontas” twice;
    • refer to the porn star with whom he had an affair as “Horseface” (the party of civility, everyone);
    • announce that Saudi Arabia, much like O. J. Simpson, had begun a search for the real killer;
    • threaten to close the southern border of the country;
    • claim that “Democrats will destroy your Medicare”;
    • respond to criticism of his erroneous capitalization in a tweet by saying “When referring to the USA, I will always capitalize the word Country!”, because God forbid he just admit that he typoed something;
    • claim that the challenger in the Texas Senate race wants to turn Texas into Venezuela;
    • tell people to “Get out and Early Vote for Brian Kemp” (apparently when he refers to the midterm elections he will always capitalize the words “Early Vote”) only to announce a few hours later that “All levels of government and Law Enforcement are watching carefully for VOTER FRAUD, including during EARLY VOTING”; and
    • say that asylum seekers have to apply in Mexico first (that is not how applying for asylum works).
  • As usual, there were several other crazy things in the president’s Twitter; I just record the extra-crazy ones. This week also saw the return of both “FAKE NEWS” and “WITCH HUNT,” but I’m beginning to believe he’s abandoned “Crooked Hillary” entirely.

This Is Not Normal, October 8, 2018 – October 14, 2018

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that a candidate for governor of Pennsylvania threatened to “stomp all over” the current governor’s face with “golf spikes.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who has a net worth of almost $324 million, has paid very little in income tax for the past several years and in fact received a $4,000 refund in 2015.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of the interior has routinely omitted meetings with lobbyists and executives from his official calendar, going all the way back to his first day in office.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s campaign has offered its database of supporters’ email addresses and cellphone numbers for rent to other candidates, political action groups, and businesses.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Georgia Secretary of State–who just happens to be running for governor–has delayed more than 53,000 voter registration applications from being processed; since 2012, the Georgia Secretary of State has cancelled more than a million registrations.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to encourage crowds at his rallies to chant “Lock her up!” (regarding not only his former presidential opponent but also a leading member of the Senate) and then lament the lack of due process in Supreme Court hearings (where due process does not actually apply) and accuse the opposing party of being an “angry left-wing mob.”
  • On that note, it is also NOT NORMAL for a former attorney general to say, “when they go low, we kick them“; I don’t think he’s literally advocating violence but that is just not a responsible thing to say in the current political climate.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to author an op-ed for USA Today that is filled with lies and inaccuracies.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the Secretary of Commerce to reverse his previous story about why he added a citizenship question to the 2020 census, now claiming that he remembers discussing it with a controversial former adviser to the president. If the new story is true, this means that the secretary lied to Congress earlier this year.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to claim that a Medicare-for-All health care plan would turn the country into Venezuela.
  • I am not going to recap Kanye West’s visit to the White House, but it was really NOT NORMAL.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the extremely wealthy and privileged First Lady to claim that she is “the most bullied person in the world.” I try not to pick on the first family, but seriously. A scintilla of self-awareness is all I’m asking for here.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL (although, to be fair, it was not the usual hellscape this week). To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • accuse the women who were protesting the Supreme Court nomination and ultimate swearing-in of being “screamers” and paid protesters;
    • claim that “everyone wants Ivanka Trump to be the new United Nations Ambassador” (I assure you this is not true) and that “She would be incredible but I can already hear the chants of Nepotism!”; and
    • tout a Fox News correspondent’s book.

This Is Not Normal, October 1, 2018 – October 7, 2018

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that someone who was credibly accused of sexual misconduct, lying to Congress, and failing to maintain a reasonable judicial temperament in congressional hearings was confirmed to the Supreme Court anyway.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the FBI, when conducting an investigation of the sexual misconduct allegations, failed to interview the Supreme Court nominee, the accuser and (reportedly) dozens of other people who claimed to have relevant information.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president, at a rally in Minnesota, mocked a former Senator for (entirely appropriately) resigning after being accused of sexual misconduct.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president, his siblings, and his parents, apparently dodged taxes for decades; it is also NOT NORMAL that the president lied about the extent to which he received financial help from his parents in order to make his business acumen look more impressive.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Department of Homeland Security separated parents from their children at the border without having computer systems in place to track where the children went.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president said in a speech that Dianne Feinstein was writing an “Open Borders Bill” that every Democrat in the Senate supports. No such bill exists. This appears to be a total fabrication.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president alleged in a speech that he built a US embassy in Jerusalem for $400,000. In fact, the embassy cost about $21 million.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president bragged in a speech that only he had been able to pass a Veterans Choice program so that veterans could see private doctors. The program was established in 2014, under the previous president.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • tweet that “This is really an incredible time for our Nation – WE are RESPECTED AGAIN!” (I am forced to remind you that the president was openly laughed at during his UN speech last week);
    • claim that “Due Process, Fairness, and Common Sense are now on trial!” because of the opposition to his Supreme Court nominee;
    • refer to women lobbying the Senators not to confirm the nominee as “very rude elevator screamers” and claim that they were “paid professionals” and “paid for by Soros” (George Soros does not pay protesters);
    • claim that the crowd of protesters during the Kavanaugh confirmation vote “is tiny, looks like about 200 people” (the protesters numbered in the low thousands, and the president was in Kansas at the time so he could not personally evaluate the protester count); and
    • argue that “Democrats have become too EXTREME and TOO DANGEROUS to govern” (again, apparently anything goes as long as you don’t use the specific word “deplorable”).