This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.
- It is NOT NORMAL that the president said he would not have allowed the CIA to work with the brother of North Korea’s brutal authoritarian dictator “under my auspices.” (Isn’t this the president effectively siding with a brutal authoritarian dictator against the CIA? Isn’t that . . . not exactly patriotic?)
- It is NOT NORMAL that, according to the New York Times, the Pentagon did not brief the president on its cyberattacks on Russia’s power grid because they did not trust him with the information. (The president denied this in an angry tweet, because of course he did.)
- It is NOT NORMAL that, after being criticized for trumpeting new concessions by Mexico that had actually been made several months ago, the president claimed to have made a secret agreement with Mexico with unknown provisions, which was denied by Mexico’s ambassador.
- It is NOT NORMAL that the attorney general and the secretary of commerce are withholding documents about the census subpoenaed by Congress, even after a House panel voted to hold them in contempt. (This is not how the system of checks and balances is supposed to work.)
- It is NOT NORMAL that a senior White House adviser has been so devoted to flouting the Hatch Act (which prohibits federal employees from politicking on the job) that an independent government agency has recommended that she be fired.
- It is NOT NORMAL, for crying out loud, that the president told an interviewer that he would take campaign assistance from the Russian government, if offered, and would not necessarily tell the FBI about it. When the interviewer told him that the FBI director, whom he appointed, said that any candidate receiving such offers should report them to the FBI, the president replied, “The FBI director is wrong.” (By the way, for skeptics among us, the video of this conversation is available.)
The president later walked this back in a telephone interview with a different outlet, saying “of course” he would give it to the FBI.
- The president’s Twitter feed continues to be a national embarrassment. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
- complain repeatedly about the “Failing New York Times” and “Sick Journalism,” calling the media “TOTAL LOSERS” and “THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE” (James Madison: “the world is indebted [to the press] for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression”);
- twice tout a 50% approval rating as if it were some kind of overwhelming majority (incidentally, the 50% approval is from a poll by Rasmussen, an outfit that persistently leans right–the average approval rating, in which Rasmussen is included, is 42.6%) ;
- tweet “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” sans context (again, this is not a thing, and if Congress is conducting hearings on the administration’s excesses and outright corruption, the Congress is doing its constitutional job);
- refer to the mayor of London as “a national disgrace who is destroying the City of London” (as of last July, I can attest that London is a friendly, safe, and beautiful city with no signs of destruction);
- accuse the media of “suppress[ing] the numbers” of polls and claim that internal polls “are the best numbers WE have ever had” (the president’s own campaign confirmed that the polls, as reported, showed the president losing several states he won in 2016 to one of the Democratic candidates for president);
- refer to the New York Times story on cyber attacks on Russia as “a virtual act of Treason” (nota bene: just because the president doesn’t like something, that doesn’t make it treason);
- accuse a Democratic senator and a Democratic congressman of meeting with Russia and failing to call the FBI (this is false) and claim that the interviewer was arguing he should call the FBI every time he met with a foreign head of state (this is laughable);
- tweet that “A poll should be done on which is the more dishonest and deceitful newspaper, the Failing New York Times or the Amazon (lobbyist) Washington Post! They are both a disgrace to our Country, the Enemy of the People, but I just can’t seem to figure out which is worse? The good news is that at the end of 6 years, after America has been GREAT again and I leave the beautiful White House (do you think the people would demand that I stay longer? KEEP AMERICA GREAT), both of these horrible papers will quickly go out of business & be forever gone!” (I do not think the people will demand that he stays longer); and
- wish a happy Father’s Day to “all, including my worst and most vicious critics,” because there is no occasion that he does not view as an opportunity for petty self-absorption.
- Lots of fake news and enemies of the people and witch hunts, no crooked Hillaries and no angry Democrats that I noticed.
- I strongly encourage you to read this Twitter thread about how our government is treating migrants at the border, because this is being done in your name and with your tax dollars: