This Is Not Normal, May 27, 2019 – June 2, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president, in the run-up to a state visit to Britain next week, has publicly told the country “walk away” from making a deal with the European Union, thrown his support behind Boris Johnson in his quest to become the next prime minister, and referred to the newest royal bride as “nasty” because she criticized him in 2016. (For those of you who don’t pay a lot of attention to foreign policy, this is not generally how diplomacy works.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Department of Justice is defying a judge’s order to release transcripts of conversations between the former national security adviser and the Russian ambassador.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president abruptly announced tariffs on Mexico because he was angry that, in his opinion, Mexico is not doing enough to prevent migrants from entering the United States.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that White House staff members sought to hide a Navy ship in Japan named after former senator John McCain from the president’s view because they were concerned about the president’s reaction to it. Try as I might, I cannot decide whether this or the nasty royal princess story is dumber. It’s a game of inches.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that documents found on hard drives belonging to a deceased Republican strategist revealed that the party pursued adding a citizenship question to the census specifically to deter immigrants (including legal immigrants) from participating in the census, thus lowering the population count of areas that are believed to largely support the Democratic party.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president insisted again in an interview that the special counsel was biased against him (ostensibly because he did not appoint the special counsel to be the FBI directory) while also insisting that the special counsel’s report showed that his campaign did not collude with Russia and that he himself did not obstruct justice.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a former Alabama judge, who has been credibly accused of preying on teenage girls as a thirtysomething lawyer, is pursuing a Senate seat despite even the president warning him not to do so.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that our reading comprehension, as a nation, is so absymal that the special counsel felt compelled to give a statement in which he repeated explicitly that “if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” That means that he and his team believe the president did commit a crime. You may disagree with him, as is your right, but saying that the report’s stance was “no obstruction” is simply not accurate.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the transportation secretary, previously known as the “good” cabinet member, has failed to divest herself of stock options in one of the country’s largest supplier of highway construction materials, despite the obvious conflict of interest and the document she signed agreeing to do so.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the press secretary said that the president and North Korea’s brutal authoritarian dictator “agree in their assessment of former Vice President Joe Biden.” That is a deeply weird thing to say.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is awarding the Medal of Freedom to an economist who wrote a flattering book about him (not to be confused with his recent pardon of the author of a different flattering book about him).
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • claim that he shouldn’t be impeached because he had “created perhaps the greatest Economy in our Country’s history, [rebuilt] our Military, [took] care of our Vets (Choice), Judges, Best Jobs Numbers Ever, and much more” (none of this is accurate);
    • argue that “Anyone associated with the 1994 Crime Bill will not have a chance of being elected” (again, this is mortifyingly transparent — apparently the president is very worried about a Biden ticket);
    • claim that “I was actually sticking up for Sleepy Joe Biden while on foreign soil. Kim Jong Un called him a ‘low IQ idiot,’ and many other things, whereas I related the quote of Chairman Kim as a much softer ‘low IQ individual.’ Who could possibly be upset with that?” (you know what, I was wrong earlier, THIS is the dumbest story of the week);
    • continue to try to make “Presidential Harassment” a thing (appropriate Congressional oversight and law enforcement investigations are not harassment);
    • claim that “highly conflicted Robert Mueller would have brought charges, if he had ANYTHING, but there were no charges to bring!” (in fact, Mueller brought many, many charges, just not any against the president, because Justice Department policy says that the president cannot be charged);
    • argue that “I never called Meghan Markle ‘nasty.’ Made up by the Fake News Media, and they got caught cold!” even though there is tape of him saying “I didn’t know she was nasty”; and
    • refer to a former Reagan speechwriter as “the simplistic writer for Trump Haters all . . . stuck in the past glory of Reagan” who “has no idea what is happening with the Radical Left Democrats, or how vicious and desperate they are” (I’m not going to lie, being forced to defend Peggy Noonan is a real low point for me).
  • “Witch Hunt” is back, “Fake News” is back, but I didn’t notice “Crooked Hillary” nor any number of angry and/or conflicted Democrats.