This Is Not Normal, December 17, 2018 – December 23, 2018

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to abruptly pull troops out of Syria without consulting allies or even members of his own administration.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of defense resigned because the president did not share his commitment to working with allies or his belief that authoritarianism is bad. It is also NOT NORMAL that the Senate Majority Leader issued a lengthy and very pointed statement expressing his distress that the secretary of defense had resigned.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s special envoy to the coalition against ISIS also resigned in protest of the decision to leave Syria and especially because of the way the decision was made.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that several days after the secretary of defense resigned, the president apparently realized that the secretary’s letter of resignation was openly critical of him and suddenly ordered his exit two months before he had originally intended to leave.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s former national security adviser was accused of “arguably selling his country out” by a federal judge during his sentencing hearing. (He is being sentenced for lying to the FBI.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a shelter being used to house the migrant children the administration is taking from their parents is being investigated for misuse of funds.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the government shut down largely because the president saw that he was being savaged on Fox News and decided to insist on funding for a pointless border wall that will never be built.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president reportedly castigated his acting attorney general for not quashing prosecutions of his former associates and members of his administration.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • call the special counsel investigation “A Democrat Scam!”;
    • complain yet again about the text messages between two philandering FBI agents who were involved in the special counsel investigation;
    • wish is former national security adviser good luck in his sentencing hearing (to be fair, this is not a situation other presidents have faced);
    • repeatedly question the Federal Reserve chairman’s decision-making on interest rates;
    • claim that “we are not building a Concrete Wall, we are building artistically designed steel slats” (in the process revealing an odd obsession with the transparency of the hypothetical wall);
    • tweet a video of himself singing the Green Acres theme at the Emmys before signing the Farm Bill, right in the middle of the government shutdown negotiations;
    • attack the Senate Majority Leader for not fighting hard enough for the border wall and exhort him to use the nuclear option to end the filibuster;
    • complain that “The Democrats are trying to be little the concept of a Wall, callling it old-fashioned” and say that the wall is “like the wheel, there is nothing better,” adding “I know tech better than anyone, & technology on a Border is only effective in conjunction with a Wall” (He does not know tech better than anyone, and I strongly suspect him of pulling this entire tweet out of his nether regions);
    • tweet an image of him purporting to sign “many Bills” which in fact showed him signing a sheet of blank paper (dear White House communications staff: it is 2018, and we all know how to use the zoom function on our browsers);
    • claim that “I won an election, said to be one of the greatest of all time” (he is the only person saying this);
    • announce that he does not know the special envoy to the coalition against ISIS who resigned because of his Syria policy, apparently failing to realize that this reflects far more poorly on him than it does on the envoy;
    • claim that he gave the secretary of defense “a second chance” when he appointed him; and
    • attack a senator who is retiring, saying that the senator had “wanted to run but poll numbers TANKED when I wouldn’t endorse him” and calling him “responsible for giving us the horrible Iran Nuclear Deal, which I ended, yet he badmouths me.”
  • “Witch hunt” and “Fake News are alive and well. “Crooked Hillary” did not make an appearance this week.