This Is Not Normal, December 31, 2018 – January 6, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that a historic clock tower at one of the president’s hotels was exempted from the government shutdown and remains staffed by National Park Service rangers even though the Smithsonian museums are closed and national parks are being trashed with no one to monitor them. (The General Services Administration says this is not related to the fact that the president owns the hotel but at this point this administration has been caught in so many lies that I am struggling to believe this.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that according to the outgoing chief of staff, the White House gave up on a concrete border wall early in 2017, despite the fact that two years later the president is holding the country hostage until Congress agrees to appropriate money for such a wall.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president claims to be willing to keep the government partially shut down for “months or even years” while waiting for money for the border wall.
  • It is REALLY NOT NORMAL for the president to mull declaring a national emergency and ordering the military to construct a concrete border wall.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s golf clubs have been reportedly knowingly employing undocumented workers despite the president’s public rhetoric about illegal immigration.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president now claims that he “essentially” fired the secretary of defense because of poor performance after the secretary opposed his decision to withdraw troops from Syria. (I was assured by supporters of the president before the 2016 election that he would “listen to the generals.”)
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • falsely claim that the former president “built/has a ten foot Wall around their D.C. mansion/compound,” which is not true and would not be relevant to the debate over the border wall if it were;
    • complain repeatedly about congressional Democrats refusing to support his wall, when he couldn’t get the votes from the Republicans in the Senate when the Republicans still controlled the House of Representatives (there is a LOT of crazy stuff about the wall this week, which I have tried to condense);
    • announce that “An all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED” and then immediately continue “Some areas will be all concrete but the experts at Border Patrol prefer a Wall that is see through,” which sounds to me as if an “all concrete Wall” has in fact been abandoned?;
    • complain that “failed Generals . . . were unable to do the job [in Syria] before I arrived” and “like to complain about me & my tactics, which are working”;
    • whine about bad press over his decision to remove troops from Syria;
    • claim that “MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL through the many billions of dollars a year that the U. S. A. is saving through the new Trade Deal,” which is not how economics work;
    • tweet, in the course of a rant about the border wall, that “Throughout the ages some things NEVER get better and NEVER change. You have Walls and you have Wheels. It was ALWAYS that way and it will ALWAYS be that way!” (to me this reads like the first draft of a Don Draper ad pitch);
    • wish, in all caps, a happy new year to everyone, including haters and members of the media, closing with “JUST CALM DOWN AND ENJOY THE RIDE, GREAT THINGS ARE HAPPENING FOR OUR COUNTRY!” (shouting “JUST CALM DOWN” rarely has the desired effect);
    • complain about a Republican Senator’s editorial about the president’s unpresidential behavior;
    • tweet a gif mocking a senator running for the 2020 Democratic nomination (I cannot tell you how much I am dreading this Twitter feed if the president is running for reelection in 2020);
    • tweet “How do you impeach a president who has won perhaps the greatest election of all time, done nothing wrong (no Collusion with Russia, it was the Dems that Colluded), had the most successful two years of any president, and is the most popular Republican in party history 93%?” (almost none of that is accurate or grammatical); and
    • claim that the former editor of the New York Times criticized the paper in her memoir for being biased against the president, which she denies.
  • “Fake News” appeared several times, but I did not notice any references to “Crooked Hillary,” “13 Angry Democrats,” or the “Witch Hunt.”