This Is Not Normal, January 7, 2018 – January 13, 2018

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the head of the Arizona Republican Party sent an email to state Republican officeholders telling them that “it is non-negotiable that we stand with our President.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Democratic party in Alabama faked a “Dry Alabama” Facebook page in an attempt to drive voters who are not teetotallers to vote for Democrats.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that an Iowa Congressman questioned why “white supremacy” and “white nationalist” were offensive.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president reportedly threw a “temper tantrum” and stormed out of a meeting with Democrats over negotiations to reopen the government.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s former campaign chairman, according to poorly redacted court documents, shared polling data with a Russian businessman with ties to Russian intelligence.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the FBI opened an investigation into the president because his behavior led officials to believe he was working on behalf of Russian interests.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president was reportedly so desperate to hide information about his one-on-one meetings with Putin from his own staff that he confiscated notes from his interpreter.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president described a former vice-president as “weak” and said that he had been taken “off the trash help.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that when asked by a sympathetic reporter if he had been working on behalf of the Russians, the president called the question “insulting” but did not actually deny it.
  • 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 the media “crazed lunatics who have given up on the TRUTH!” and accuse them of “knowingly ly[ing] and demean[ing] his administration”;
    • complain about the Fed raising interest rates again;
    • announce that he had ordered FEMA to “send no more money” to California because the wildfires there “with proper Forest Management [sic], would never happen” (poor forest management is not, in fact, the cause of the wildfires and it is not clear to me that it is even legal for the president to deny California FEMA funds via tweet);
    • accuse network anchors of leaking contents of an off-the-record meeting (it was his own staff who leaked information);
    • refer to a sitting senator as “Cryin [sic] Chuck” (it is interesting to me that he hasn’t come up with a sobriquet for the Speaker of the House yet);
    • defend his behavior at the shutdown negotiations with Democrats by claiming, “I politely said bye-bye and left, no slamming!”;
    • claim that “There is GREAT unity with the Republicans in the House and Senate,” even though several of them have openly called for a vote to reopen government;
    • tweet “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”, apropos of nothing;
    • claim that “We lose 300 Americans a week, 90% of which comes through the Southern Border” (I don’t know where he’s getting these numbers, but they don’t match up to any numbers I have seen);
    • tweet that “Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof, after I fired Lyin’ James Comey, a total sleaze!” (there is a lot to unpack there, but what really stands out to me is that he can’t resist slamming the New York Times even as he seems to wholeheartedly believe its reporting);
    • have a six-tweet meltdown over the special counsel investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia;
    • claim that he has been “FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush, or Clinton” (this is not true);
    • tweet that “The Fakes always like talking Chaos, there is NONE. In fact, there’s almost nobody in the W. H. but me” (dude, you are not making the compelling case you think you are);
    • claim that he has a mandate for the border wall because he won the 2016 election (by that logic, the House of Representatives has a mandate to refuse to fund the wall, since the Democrats won the House by roughly nine percent and many campaigned specifically against his immigration policies); and
    • lie that “Democrats are saying that DACA is not worth it and don’t want to include in talks” (it was his own vice-president who said DACA would not be included in talks because the administration is hoping for a positive Supreme Court ruling in a pending case).
  • It was a banner week for “Fake News” and “Enemy of the people,” and the “13 Angry Democrats,” “Witch Hunt,” and “Crooked Hillary” also made an appearance.
  • This is the longest government shutdown in American History.