This Is Not Normal, January 14, 2019 – January 20, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that (according to a federal judge) the Secretary of Commerce violated the law and may have lied to Congress when he attempted to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president reportedly contemplated withdrawing the United States from the NATO alliance.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president made a speech about a deal he was presumably willing to offer Congress rather than negotiating with Congress directly. Grandstanding on television is not a path to a successful resolution.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president abruptly cancelled a congressional delegation’s trip to visit the troops in Afghanistan and it is NOT NORMAL that the Speaker of the House cancelled the State of the Union address. I actually am fine with the idea that both the State of the Union and the congressional trip should be postponed until the immediate crisis is dealt with, but the way this was done smacks of childish tit-for-tat. I am also unhappy that the president referred to a visit to soldiers in Afghanistan, which he has yet to make, as an “excursion.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that someone in the White House reportedly leaked the Speaker’s alternate commercial travel plans to Afghanistan to the Washington Post after the president pulled thee military transportation. This had the effect of cancelling the Speaker’s trip; if she had not cancelled the trip, it would have had the effect of endangering everyone on a commercial air flight.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s daughter, who has no known qualifications in any field other than fashion, is helping to choose the next head of the World Bank.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be nightmare fuel. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • refer to a sitting senator as “Cryin’ Chuck” (I continue to be fascinated that he hasn’t yet attached a derogatory adjective to the Speaker’s name);
    • say that the media “gets crazier and more dishonest every single day” (it does not);
    • claim that thee “rank and file of the FBI” are “disgusted with what they are learning about Lyin’ James Comey” (there is no evidence to this effect);
    • claim that the “Numbers are going up fast, over 50%” in support of the border wall (in actuality, the all of the most recent polls show roughly 40% of the public in favor of the wall);
    • drum up nonsense about a “big new Caravan” (the last time we went through an imaginary caravan news cycle, someone shot up a synagogue, so my patience for this particular piece of propaganda is extremely thin);
    • claim that “There are now 77 major or significant Walls built around the world, with 45 countries planning or building walls. Over 800 miles of Walls have been built in Europe since only 2015. They have all been recognized as close to 100% successful” (It should come as no surprise that none of this is true — about 70 walls have been built, comprising about 620 miles, only a third of them were designed to keep out immigrants, and the walls that were designed to keep out immigrants have not worked);
    • repeat what appears to be an urban legend about Islamic prayer rugs found on the border, which is such an obvious Islamophobic ploy that I hesitate to even call it a dog whistle;
    • again call the Speaker’s visit to troops in Afghanistan an “excursion” (tell  me again about the president’s great respect for the military);
    • respond to the Special Counsel’s openly disputing a BuzzFeed story by reminding everyone that BuzzFeed had also released the infamous “totally discredited ‘Dossier,’ paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democrats (as opposition research), on which the entire Russian probe is based!” (none of that is true–also, I thought the Special Counsel was unreliable because of all the “Angry Democrats”?);
    • tweet that “Many people are saying that the Mainstream Media will have a very hard time restoring credibility because of the way they have treated me over the past 3 years” (“Many people” is generally a tell that almost no one is saying this); and
    • claim that “we are building and renovating big sections of Wall right now. Moving quickly and will cost far less than previous politicians thought possible” (why, then, is government shut down? Oh, it’s because none of that is actually true).
  • “Fake News” and “Crooked Hillary” both make an appearance in the president’s Twitter feed this week. I didn’t notice “Witch Hunt,” but it was an unusually busy Twitter week and let’s face it, I probably just missed it.
  • This is the longest government shutdown in American history.
  • You know what, good for Republicans for stripping Steve King of his committee assignments after he wondered aloud when white supremacy became a bad thing.

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