This Is Not Normal, July 22, 2019 – July 28, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president vetoed several bipartisan bills designed to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a Republican state senator referred to the “browning” of America and complained that “we’re going to look like South American countries very quickly.” This is textbook racism.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities held an American citizen in custody for twenty-six days because they thought the proof of citizenship he gave them was fake. (It wasn’t.) It is also NOT NORMAL that a nine-year-old girl was grabbed by border patrol officials and held by herself for more than a day because she gave “inconsistent” responses to their questions, as one might expect from a frightened nine-year-old.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Puerto Rico governor, in the midst of a scandal over crass text messages, refused to resign until the island erupted into one of the largest protests in its history.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Senate’s majority party blocked bills aimed at improving election security, even as the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that all fifty states had been targeted by Russia in 2016.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, as attested to by the former Special Counsel in a Congressional hearing this week, the president was generally untruthful in sworn written testimony. (A former president was impeached specifically for lying under oath.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is suing the state of New York to prevent Congress from seeing his state tax returns. (All other presidents in recent history have voluntarily released their tax returns.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president, in a speech to a conservative youth organization, described a Congresswoman as a “crazed lunatic” and falsely claimed that undocumented immigrants had swung the 2016 vote in states like California.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president continues to publicly attempt to intervene in the case of an American rapper jailed in Sweden despite being told multiple times by Swedish officials that the government in Sweden has no jurisdiction over the legal system.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • twice complain about the decisions of a “very misguided” Federal Reserve because he is unhappy with current interest rates;
    • claim that the “Amazon Washington Post’s” story about his talking points at a presser was “Fake News,” arguing that he had no talking points when in fact there are pictures of him clearly holding talking points;
    • refer to “4 Radical Left Congresswomen who have said very bad things about Israel & our Country!” (keeping reading, the president has some “very bad things” to say about our country himself before the week is over), calling them “a very Racist group of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced, and not very smart”;
    • tweet “Fake News Equals the Enemy of the People!” sans context;
    • claim that there is “large scale false reporting,” although he does not offer any examples;
    • complain bitterly several times about the special counsel’s congressional hearing;
    • twice tweet “KEEP AMERICA GREAT!” sans context;
    • tweet “TRUTH IS A FORCE OF NATURE!” after the special counsel’s congressional hearing, which is odd given that the special counsel testified that he was not “generally truthful”;
    • complain about the Swedish justice system;
    • lament that Fox News were no longer his “Proud Warriors” because they released a poll showing him losing a hypothetical election against the former vice president;
    • launch into a racist tirade about the district of an African-American congressional representative who (coincidentally, I’m sure) has subpoenaed his daughter and son-in-law’s financial information, saying that “it is considered the worst run and most dangerous anywhere in the United States” (this is patent nonsense);
    • then tweet that “There is nothing racist in stating plainly what most people already know, that Elijah Cummings has done a terrible job for the people of his district” (more patent nonsense);
    • finally call Elijah Cumming himself “racist,” for no apparent reason other than he seems to think it is an all-purpose insult; and
    • claim that “Democrats don’t care about Border Security” and “want Open Borders,” neither of which is true of most Democrats.

This Is Not Normal, July 15, 2019 – July 21, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president has spent the week doubling and tripling down on the notion that four Congresswomen should either leave the country or be “sent back” (in reality, only one of the four was not born in the United States, and she migrated here as a child and has been a citizen longer than the First Lady).
  • It is NOT NORMAL that only four Republican representatives joined Democrats in a resolution condemning the president’s openly racist tweets and remarks about the four Congresswomen.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president spent several seconds at a rally basking in a crowd chanting “Send her back!” rather than calming the crowd.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Marine Corps had to request that a Republican congressman stop using their emblem on his campaign materials (this is the same Republican Congressman, incidentally, who — along with his wife — embezzled campaign funds and then allegedly violated bail conditions while filming an anti-immigration video, so if you live in the 50th district of California, you need better representation).
  • It is NOT NORMAL that recently released court documents show that the president was in close contact with his former lawyer while the lawyer was making arrangements to pay hush money (a campaign finance violation) to a woman with whom the president had a one-night stand. These documents contract statements made by the president, as well as testimony given to Congress by the president’s former communications director.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that senior officials in the department of commerce neglected to turn over documents and provided an inaccurate document trail to plaintiffs suing over the addition of a citizenship question to the census.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a former adviser to the president so struggles with keeping his mouth shut about the legal case against him that the judge was forced to ban him from all social media, saying “I am wrestling with behavior that has more to do with middle school than a court of law.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the White House has again told a senior aide to defy a Congressional subpoena.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • complain about Democrats who criticized his racist tweets, arguing that they were “condon[ing]” the controversial stances of the four Congresswomen he attacked (fun fact: you can disagree with the Congresswomen on various issues *and* still think it is bad for the president to be openly racist);
    • demand that the Congresswomen “apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said” (the president regularly lies about people on Twitter, has insulting nicknames for his leading Congressional opponents, referred to African nations and Haiti as “sh*thole countries,” and dropped the F-bomb at campaign rallies);
    • claim that the four Congresswomen “have made Israel feel abandoned by the U. S.” (since the leader of Israel just named a settlement after the president, I doubt it);
    • complain about the Fed’s “faulty thought process” yet again;
    • conduct foreign policy on Twitter (this week it was China);
    • argue that polls showing him losing to various Democratic contenders were “Fake” and “Suppression Polls” (he also referred to his former opponent as “Crooked Hillary,” on the same day he complained about the four Congresswomen saying mean things);
    • repeatedly argue that “IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE, YOU CAN LEAVE!” (the president referred to “American carnage” in his inaugural address);
    • claim that the four Congresswomen were “pro Al-Qaeda” (they are not);
    • argue that defending the four Congresswomen against racist attacks is “endorsing Socialism, hate of Israel, and the USA! Not good for the Democrats!”;
    • tweet “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” twice, sans context;
    • try to make “Presidential Harassment” a thing;
    • claim that “I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!” (beg to differ);
    • crow about the “unified” Republican representatives who declined to condemn his racism;
    • complain that his approval rating would be higher “without the 3 year Witch Hunt and Fake News Media, in partnership with the Democrats!” and later suggest that we should just “add 10% or 15% to this number”;
    • say that he would “help” a woman whose Twitter account was temporarily suspended for posting hate speech (I am genuinely curious about how much pull the president has with Twitter);
    • call a Washington Post story about his Twitter feed and his most recent campaign rally “Fake News” (much of the story consists of the president’s own publicly available words, as well as quotes from other named people);
    • complain that the four Congresswomen were not “capable of loving our Country”; and
    • praise Israel’s corrupt leader, who recently allied himself with a hard-right extremist party in order to hold onto his position, for “becoming the longest serving PM in the history of Israel.”
  • It may seem as though I was just piling on when it came to the tweets about the four Congresswomen, but in fact I actually skipped a lot of them. He also retweeted his favorites from earlier in the week on Friday, so you know, he isn’t obsessed with this issue at all.

This Is Not Normal, July 8, 2019 – July 14, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president said he would no longer talk with the British ambassador, after leaked documents revealed that the ambassador had made critical remarks about the president (albeit less critical than the tweets the president lobs at other world leaders on a regular basis).
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president spent half an hour with the press insulting the former Speaker of the House, the aforementioned British ambassador, two Congresswomen, the New York Times, and several contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president tweeted that four progressive Congresswomen “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world” and should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Three of these Congresswomen were born in the United States; one immigrated from Somalia as a child. However (what a shocking coincidence) all four happen to be women of color. In short, it is NOT NORMAL that the president is a white supremacist, nor is it normal that the Republican party continues to enable and defend him.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the vice president tweeted that “CNN is so dishonest. Today we took reporters to a detention facility on the border for families and children and all told us they were being treated well” after a visit to the border at which the accompany journalists described “384 men sleeping inside fences, on concrete w[ith] no pillows or mats. They said they hadn’t showered in weeks, wanted toothbrushes, food. Stench was overwhelming.” (If someone tells you that they haven’t showered in weeks and don’t have a toothbrush, they are not telling you that they are being treated well.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the former national security adviser, who had pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the government, is now saying he cannot testify against his co-conspirator.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be a national embarrassment. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • retweet a fake meme claiming that thirty years ago, former president Reagan said of the president, “For the life of me, and I’ll never know how to explain it, when I met that young man, I felt like I was the one shaking hands with the president” (there is no record of the former president saying any such thing);
    • complain about the British ambassador and the current prime minister, but allow that he was “most impressed with” the Queen (how relieved she must be);
    • call the British ambassador “wacky,” “very stupid,” and “a pompous fool” because the ambassador had criticized him in what were meant to be private memos (I feels like there’s an inherent contradiction here, but I can’t quite put my finger on it);
    • continue to conduct foreign policy on Twitter (this time it was India);
    • complain about Supreme Court decisions that did not go his way;
    • complain that the judge in the census case would not allow Justice Department lawyers to withdraw, asking “Could this be a first?” (it is not a first);
    • accuse Iran of being in violation of the “terrible 150 Billion Dollar deal” (again, there is no evidence of Iran being in violation of the deal before the president terminated it, and the United States did not gave Iran a lump sum payment as part of the deal);
    • tweet that “The White House will be hosting a very big and very important Social Media Summit today. Would I have become President without Social Media? Yes (probably)!” (I do not think the mess we are in is remotely funny, and yet that tweet cracked me up);
    • claim that “The Fake News is not as important, or as powerful, as Social Media” and say that journalism, as a practice, will “go out of business for lack of credibility, or approval, from the public” as soon as he leaves office;
    • tweet that “Could you imagine having Sleepy Joe Biden, or @AlfredNeuman99, or a very nervous and skinny version of Pocahontas (1000/24th) as your President, rather than what you have now, so great looking and smart, a true Stable Genius!” (by the way, @AlfredNeuman99 is a retired teacher and a Cubs fan who does not appear to be vying for the presidency);
    • refer to the former acting director of the FBI as a “major sleazebag” who “took massive amounts of money from Crooked Hillary reps, for wife’s campaign” (the Democratic governor of Virginia donated money to the state senate campaign, as he did to several Democratic campaigns);
    • call the former Speaker of the House “Weak, ineffective, & stupid”; and
    • complain about the coverage of the vice president’s visit to the border, simultaneously saying it got “Great reviews!” and that the “Failing @nytimes story was FAKE!”
  • The president also retweeted a bunch of terrible things, but this is already a long list, I have to go to work tomorrow, and I have to draw the line somewhere.

This Is Not Normal, July 1, 2019 – July 7, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the RNC was allocated VIP tickets for the Fourth of July celebration, which has traditionally been a non-partisan event that presidents did not attend. (The president’s speech was refreshingly non-partisan, although it did include a puzzling reference to airports during the Revolutionary War.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president falsely claimed that his predecessor in the White House sought audiences with the North Korea’s brutal authoritarian dictator but was rebuffed. The former president did not seek such a meeting because he, like other presidents of both parties, did not want to appear to endorse the regime.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, after signaling that it would accept the Supreme Court’s decision opposing a citizenship question on the census, the Justice Department did an abrupt about-face and said it was seeking new legal paths to institute such a question, apparently because of an angry tweet from the president.

    It is also NOT NORMAL that the president is reportedly considering issuing an executive order to add such a question, which could lead to a true constitutional conflict between the executive and judicial branches.

    And it is further NOT NORMAL that the president said that the citizenship question was particularly important because  of “Congress for districting,” which Justice Department lawyers had specifically denied as a rationale.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president claimed that homelessness is “a phenomenon that started two years ago” and that he ended it in Washington, D.C., by saying “you can’t do that.” (I . . . honestly don’t even know what to say about this one.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of housing and urban development hired a former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau official who had resigned earlier because of racist comments he made over a ten-year period.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • complain in a four-part Tweetstorm that the governor of New York “uses his Attorney General as a bludgeoning tool for his own purposes” and “never even looked at the disgusting Clinton Foundation” because the president’s charitable foundation is being investigated for various improprieties (There is no evidence that the Clinton Foundation handled its finances improperly);
    • praise the brutal authoritarian dictator of North Korea for looking “really well and very healthy”;
    • claim that “people are fleeing New York like never before” (although New York’s population was down 0.8% over the previous year, this is not a record) and that New York is treating “our great NRA” poorly;
    • argue that “according to the Polls, I won EVERY debate, including the three with Crooked Hillary Clinton” (according to the polls, the president’s opponent won every debate with the president, and also, two-and-a-half years on, it is really time for the president to let go of grievances from an election that he won);
    • complain about the “Witch Hunt” because the special counsel has been subpoenaed to testify before Congress;
    • end an angry tweet about the citizenship question on the census with “USA! USA! USA!”;
    • falsely claim yet again that the previous administration paid Iran as part of the Iran deal (the previous administration turned over to Iran money that it was ordered by the World Court to repay after it seized Iranian assets during the 1979 hostage crisis);
    • tweet “Glad I could help!” after the acquittal of a Navy SEAL, which makes one wonder what the president did to help and why that would be an appropriate use of executive power (to be fair, my guess is he did nothing to help and he is once again just talking);
    • claim that the concentration camps on the border that are being used to imprison children are “far better than where they came from”;
    • call a former Republican congressman who left the party over its support for the president “one of the dumbest & most disloyal men in Congress”;
    • refer to the former vice president as “a reclamation project” and say “Some things are just not salvageable” and refer to him as “Sleepy Joe Biden”;
    • complain that the “Fake News Media” is lying about the concentration camps at the border; and
    • turn on his favorite network, claiming that “watching Fox News weekend anchors is worse than watching low ratings Fake News CNN or Lyin’ Brian Williams.”