This Is Not Normal, January 21, 2019 – January 27, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Republican National Committee is on the brink of passing a pledge to give the president their “undivided support” for reelection (this is unprecedented) or that Republican leaders in various states are floating the idea of cancelling their caucuses or primaries to prevent a challenge to the president.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that dozens of advisers to the president, including his son-in-law, were rejected for top-secret security clearances by career security specialists, who were then overruled by a political appointee.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a campaign adviser to the president was indicted on charges of obstructing justice, making false statements, and witness tampering, and directly accused in the indictment of working with WikiLeaks to get information about hacked emails from the president’s opponent’s campaign.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president, in attempting to build support for his border wall, has routinely exaggerated the numbers of immigrants who commit crimes in the United States, inflated the numbers of border crossers, lied about how most drugs get into the United States from outside the country, and made up lurid tales about duct-taped women kidnapped by human traffickers that have no apparent basis in reality.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of commerce, who is a millionaire (he claims to be a billionaire, but Forbes has cast some doubt on that claim), expressed puzzlement that federal workers who missed two paychecks would need assistance from food banks.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the newly appointed secretary of state of Florida was pictured wearing blackface in a mockery of Katrina victims two months after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. (Yeah, this happened in 2005. I don’t care. It’s gross and flagrantly racist, and it goes to both the governor’s own racist tendencies as well as his ability to vet his appointees.) The secretary of state has since resigned.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation fired a woman shortly after she claimed she had been sexually assaulted by a supervisor at the foundation, which certainly looks like retaliation but which the chairwoman claimed was due to budgetary restraints. The chairwoman has since stepped down.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • lionize the Catholic school students who got into a hotly debated foofaraw with a group of Black Israelites and a Native American drummer (I pity the future archaeologists who have to try to decipher that sentence);
    • claim that he had never seen Republicans “so united on an issue as they are on the Humanitarian Crisis & Security on our Southern Border” (this does not appear to have been the case);
    • claim that his press secretary has stopped giving briefings because the “press covers her so rudely & inaccurately”;
    • try to make “BUILD A WALL & CRIME WILL FALL!” happen;
    • suggest that someone in the FBI tipped off CNN about the arrest of his former campaign adviser, and complain that “Border Coyotes, Drug Dealers and Human Traffickers are treated better” than his adviser was (encouragingly, however, he now seems to be aware that “border coyotes” are not animals, so — progress!);
    • claim that his concession on the border was “was in no way a concession” (it was a concession);
    • claim that yet another caravan is headed for the United States (as I said last week, I have no patience for this particular presidential fiction) and that “If we had a powerful Wall, they wouldn’t even try to make the long and dangerous journey”;
    • praise the Republican National Committee for their “undivided” endorsement mentioned above;
    • gloat over the numerous layoffs of journalists at media outlets;
    • whine about the FBI, the “Fake and Unverified” dossier, the two unfortunate agents who were having an affair, and various other aspects of the investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia; and
    • tweet “WITCH HUNT!” sans context.
  • “Witch Hunt,” “Fake News,” and “Crooked Hillary” are all back with a vengeance.