This Is Not Normal, May 20, 2019 – May 26, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s former communications chief is facing the “existential crisis” (according to the New York Times) of deciding whether or not to honor a Congressional subpoena. You would think that the self-appointed party of law and order would insist that everyone honor subpoenas.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president gave the attorney general (the same attorney general who distorted the findings of the special counsel’s report) the unilateral right to selectively declassify documents relating to the investigation into the president’s campaign’s ties to Russia.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president refused to meet with congressional leaders on infrastructure until they dropped all investigations of his administration.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president invoked executive privilege to prevent his former White House counsel from testifying on the obstruction of justice allegations outlined in the special counsel’s report.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that in 2016 and 2017, legal entities controlled by the president and his son-in-law engaged in several financial transactions so alarming to Deutsche Bank that the in-house anti-money-laundering specialists recommended they be reported to a financial crimes watchdog agency.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a freshman legislator held up a disaster relief package that was already delayed because it omitted funding for the president’s border security plans.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a Chicago bank chair has been indicted on charges of arranging a sixteen million dollar loan to the president’s former campaign chairman in exchange for a senior role in the administration. (The bank chair was not ultimately offered a position.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s first secretary of state told Congress that the president was less prepared for his meeting with the Russian president than the Russian leader was, and that the president had asked him to do things that were illegal.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be something to behold. In particular, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • allege, when complaining about the media, that the New York Times would “pass away when I leave office in 6 years”;
    • claim that he didn’t do business with banks because “I didn’t need money” (this is not accurate–also, see above);
    • call the media “an enemy of the people” because he doesn’t like what they say about him (John Adams, the second president: “The liberty of the press is essential to the security of the state”);
    • argue that the Democrats “would have a whole new future open to them” if they would only investigate Hillary Clinton (for, I believe, the eighteenth time?) and the “phony Russian investigation”;
    • declare that one of the Democratic contenders is “history” because “Sleepy Joe Biden” is pulling ahead, adding “China wants Sleepy Joe BADLY!” (this is so transparent I am embarrassed for him);
    • complain that Mexico is going “virtually nothing” to stop undocumented migrants from reaching the border and that the immigration laws are “totally flawed & broken” because of the Democrats;
    • whine incessantly about the Democratic investigations of his administration, while lying about how much the special counsel investigation cost as well as its findings;
    • continue to try to make “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” happen;
    • claim that “without the ILLEGAL Witch Hunt, my polls numbers, especially because of our historically ‘great’ economy, would be at 65%” (no, they would not);
    • refer to his first secretary of state (whom he appointed, remember) was “‘dumb as a rock’ and totally ill prepared and ill equipped to be Secretary of State”;
    • push back twice against allegations that he threw a temper tantrum over the investigations of his administration in front of Democratic congressional leaders (nothing says “I am so calm” by repeatedly insisting on your own calmness and calling on various members of your administration to back you up);
    • claim that CNN ratings have gone down because of their coverage of him;
    • complain that Twitter “viciously shut down” several “popular Conservative Voices” (Twitter did ban both liberal and conservative accounts this week for various violations of the terms of service);
    • complain that a Democratic senator “should not be allowed to take ‘command'” of the Senate Intelligence Committee;
    • complain that the judge who ruled against his administration the border wall was an “activist Obama appointed judge” and that the ruling favored “crime, drugs and human trafficking”;
    • criticize the handling of a case involving an actor who lied about being attacked in Chicago;
    • tweet that “North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Bidan [sic] a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?” (where to start? don’t conduct foreign policy on Twitter; don’t speak warmly of brutal authoritarian dictators; don’t approvingly cite said dictator’s criticism of an American political leader, whether or not it actually happened; don’t use derogatory nicknames for American political leaders, even if you don’t like them; especially don’t do any of these things while visiting an important ally in direct opposition to said dictator; and don’t make me defend Joe Biden); and
    • claim that “Numerous Japanese officials told me that the Democrats would rather see the United States fail than see me or the Republican Party succeed” (this is nonsense and everyone knows it, including–deep in their hearts–the president’s own supporters).
  • This week saw a bumper crop of “Fake News” and “Witch Hunt,” as well as at least one “Crooked Hillary” and one “18 Angry Democrats” reference.
  • A sixth migrant child has died while in U. S. custody after been separated from his parents. Nothing surprises me more than supporters of the president who think they will someday face God’s judgment but don’t think they will be judged for this.
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This Is Not Normal, May 13, 2019 – May 20, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is considering pardoning members of the military accused of war crimes, including some who murdered unarmed civilians.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the attorney general has tapped a federal prosecutor to review the FBI investigation of the president’s campaign, which the attorney general insists on referring to as “spying on Americans,” a framing that the FBI director, who was appointed by the president, rejects. A federal investigation is not spying.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of the treasury refuses to comply with a House Ways and Means Committee subpoena of the president’s tax returns.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president has proposed that immigrants must pass a civics exam to get a green card, which is (a) an onerous and unprecedented requirement for a green card and (b) not something I believe the president himself would pass.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a review of the travel expenses of the former head of the Environment Protection Agency revealed $124,000 in inappropriate expenditures.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the White House refuses to comply with yet more document requests from the House of Representatives. It is also NOT NORMAL that in court this week, the president’s legal team argued that any investigation of the president by the House of Representatives was not permitted by the Constitution. Under this theory, neither the investigation into Watergate nor the one into Whitewater would have been allowed, and legislative requirements to preserve presidential records and release presidential financial disclosures would be invalidated.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president pardoned someone who wrote a flattering book about him.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Senate was forced to subpoena the president’s son because he kept canceling scheduled hearings.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • attempt to conduct trade negotiations and diplomacy via social media (if I live to be a thousand, I will never understand why we can’t get bipartisan agreement on this one simple point);
    • call the Democratic Party “a sad JOKE!” because members of the party referred to his continual obstruction of House attempts to investigate his administration as a Constitutional crisis;
    • continue to call the special counsel investigation of his campaign a “hoax” and a “witch hunt” even as he erroneously claimed that he and his campaign were exonerated (reminder that the special counsel’s report literally said the president was not exonerated);
    • refer to a potential 2020 opponent as “Sleepy Joe Biden”;
    • use a bad-faith out-of-context interpretation of something a newly elected congresswoman said about Palestine to claim that the congresswoman was anti-Semitic (the president’s repeated conflation of Jewish Americans with Israeli Jews is more anti-Semitic than anything this congresswoman has said);
    • refer to migrants at the border as “bad ‘hombres'” (they are largely mothers and children, and I will leave you to judge the president’s repeated use of ‘hombres’ when talking about Latinos);
    • claim that the people who “spied” (i.e., legally investigated) his campaign deserved “long jail sentences” for “TREASON”;
    • bring up the freaking emails yet again;
    • complain that no one told him that his former national security adviser was under investigation, when in fact it has been well-established that he was told several times; and
    • complain about a Republican congressman who said the special counsel report revealed impeachable conduct, calling him “a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents [sic] hands!”
  • “Witch hunt,” “fake news,” and (to my great regret) “Crooked Hillary” all made appearances this week. “Crooked Hillary” actually happened twice, in case you thought the president might have moved past an election that he actually won.
  • We are now up to five migrant children who have died in the custody of the United States Border Patrol, and the administration said this week there might be an additional 1700 who were separated from their parents.

This Is Not Normal, May 6, 2019 – May 12, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is resisting an emergency relief bill for farmers and communities hit by natural disasters because it offers aid to Puerto Rico, which incidentally is part of the United States, not a foreign country.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the House Ways and Means Committee has been forced to subpoena the president’s tax returns because he refuses to release them after promising to do so for several years. It is also NOT NORMAL that the secretary of the treasury and the IRS commissioner continue to resist House requests for the tax returns even though there is a law explicitly allowing the Ways and Means committee to request returns for any reason.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the acting defense secretary (who coincidentally was finally nominated to be the official defense secretary late this week) has notified Congress that he is shifting $1.5 billion to build the president’s wall.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s allies are attacking a fellow Republican because he has subpoenaed the president’s son to discuss his meeting with a Russian lawyer during the campaign.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that Georgia and Alabama have enacted draconian and unconstitutional abortion laws, including provisions that lead to women suffering miscarriages to be treated as criminals and charging women with falsely reporting a crime if their rapists are not convicted. (FYI, the conviction rate for rape is quite low, and is not necessarily indicative of a false accusation.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a contractor for the president’s inaugural committee who was fired because of financial irregularities is publicly accusing the White House of throwing her under the bus and calling on the inaugural committee to release her from her non-disclosure agreement so she can testify freely.
  • I am quite sure that the president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL, but I am skipping it this week on the grounds that no one should have to read such a thing on Mother’s Day.

This Is Not Normal, April 29, 2019 – May 5, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president discussed with special counsel’s report with the president of Russia, but did not discuss the possibility¬† of future Russian interference in American elections.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the attorney general defied a congressional subpoena to provide the unredacted special counsel’s report to Congress.
  • It is also NOT NORMAL that the attorney general made numerous false and misleading statements to the Senate in his testimony on the special counsel’s report.
  • It is also NOT NORMAL that the attorney general’s letter summarizing the special counsel’s principal conclusions drew criticism from the famously reticent special counsel for mischaracterizing his findings.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the former vice president’s younger son stood to benefit from the former vice president’s diplomacy in Ukraine. It is also NOT NORMAL that the president and members of his staff are pushing for investigations into the vice president’s younger son’s involvement in Ukraine for political reasons.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the speaker of the House is openly¬† concerned that the president may refuse to recognize the 2020 election results if he does not win.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to:
    • complain that the NRA is “under siege” by the governor of New York;
    • refer to the former vice president, who is now running for president as “Sleepy Joe” and complain that the media is “pushing [him] hard”;
    • claim that Democrats no longer like the special counsel because he found “NO COLLUSION & NO OBSTRUCTION” (this is not accurate) early in the week, only to decide by the end of the week that the special counsel should not testify before Congress because his report was written by “18 Trump Hating Angry Democras [sic]”;
    • complain that the New York Times has not apologized to him, which is, refreshingly, true and an about-face from his usual claim that the New York Times was forced to apologize to him;
    • make numerous terrible, irresponsible, and false posts about immigration;
    • conduct foreign policy on Twitter, this time chastising European countries for not helping enough with ISIS prisoners;
    • refer to the leaders of a firefighters union as “dues sucking” (with various capitalizations) several times, apparently because one union has endorsed the former vice president;
    • retweet (by my count) no fewer than sixty Twitter users supporting his criticism of the firefighters union (shouldn’t the president have better things to do?);
    • claim that the special counsel’s report shows that Russians were “rebuffed at every turn in attempts to gain access” to his campaign staff (this is not at all accurate, and I urge you to read the special counsel’s report);
    • continue to refer to the idea of Russia interference in the 2016 election as the “Russian Hoax” when even his own attorney general says he has accepted the special counsel’s conclusion that the Russians did in fact interfere in the 2016 election;
    • retweet and offer his personal support to a well-known far-right Islamophobic conspiracy theorist who was banned from Facebook for hate speech;
    • praise the brutal authoritarian dictator of North Korea;
    • complain about the treatment of an actor who was banned from Twitter until he agreed to remove a post calling for opponents of the president to be hanged;
    • complain that the Kentucky Derby’s disqualification of the ostensibly winning horse was “not a good one” and caused by political correctness (first, this is a weird thing for a president to weigh in on, and second, even if the disqualification was incorrect–I have no idea–I highly doubt it was motivated by political correctness);
    • retweet a well-known evangelical leader who said “Trump should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back [sic] for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup” (dear evangelicals, get it together, this is embarrassing); and
    • complain that “Despite the tremendous success that I have had as President, including perhaps the greatest ECONOMY and most successful first two years of any President in history, they have stollen [sic] two years of my (our) Presidency (Collusion Delusion) that we will never be able to get back. The Witch Hunt is over but we will never forget. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
  • “Witch Hunt,” “Fake News” and all those angry Democrats showed up in the social media posts this week, but I saw no mention of Hillary Clinton.

You guys, I am so tired of all the winning.