This Is Not Normal, September 16, 2019 – September 22, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • As a Michigander of 23 years, believe me when I tell you it is NOT NORMAL that the vice president brought a motorcade to Mackinac Island. (Do they not realize that Michigan is a swing state? Nate Silver should be factoring this incident into his 2020 model.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president reportedly pressured the president of Ukraine eight separate times in a single phone call to reopen an investigation into the son of a former vice president who is now vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. It is also NOT NORMAL that the president was reportedly attempting to tie the release of foreign aid dollars that Congress had already approved to such an investigation.

    (Faithful readers of the NOT NORMAL list know that I am a Hunter Biden–and, indeed, a Joe Biden–skeptic, but the Bidens’ role in the corruption of a Ukrainian energy company has been investigated and they have been cleared.)

  • It is also NOT NORMAL that the president’s personal attorney–who does not have any foreign policy role–met with aides to the Ukrainian president to discuss such an investigation.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president appointed a Los Angeles attorney with little foreign policy experience to be the national security adviser. (The president reportedly believes that the new national security adviser “looks the part.”)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a former campaign manager for the president’s 2016 campaign tried to claim executive privilege during congressional testimony about the president’s attempted interference with the special counsel investigation. It is also NOT NORMAL that two former White House aides refused to appear in the hearings because of a request from the administration.

    It is also NOT NORMAL that in the campaign manager’s limited testimony, he admitted that the president asked him (a private citizen with no role in the administration) to order the then-Attorney General give a speech declaring that the president had been treated badly and that he would put limits on the special counsel’s investigation.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Transportation Secretary is being investigated for using her position to funnel millions of dollars to a shipping company owned by her father and sisters.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be both exhausting and NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • repeat the “ZERO COLLUSION, ZERO OBSTRUCTION” lie (everyone who read the Mueller Report knows that is not what the special counsel found);
    • complain about the former president’s book deal and deal with Netflix (these were lucrative, but not illegal — to be fair, the former president does contribute large amounts of money to good causes);
    • complain about the Federal Reserve’s refusal to initiate a “Big Interest Rate Drop”;
    • urge the Supreme Court Justice who has been credibly accused of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and lying to Congress to sue his accusers, and call for “the Resignation of everybody at The New York Times involved in the Kavanaugh SMEAR story”;
    • claim that he is losing “BILLIONS OF DOLLARS” by being president (this is nonsense, and also, please feel free to resign);
    • tweet that the New York Times’s coverage of the accusations against the Supreme Court Justice and the president’s own campaign have “taken the Old Grey Lady and broken her down, destroyed her virtue and ruined her reputation. She can never recover, and will never return to Greatness, under current Management. The Times is DEAD, long live The New York Times!” (this paints quite a picture, and also doesn’t the last sentence contradict the rest of it?);
    • tweet “I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!” (that is not the job of the Secretary of the Treasury, and I feel like that is something the president should know–also, please don’t conduct foreign policy on Twitter);
    • ask the rhetorical question, “is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially ‘heavily populated’ call” (in fact, I believe with all my heart that he would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader because there is documented evidence that he has done so several times);
    • try to make “Presidential Harassment!” happen;
    • document for posterity his approval of Maria Bartiromo’s contract negotiations;
    • chortle at the news that the mayor of New York had ended his presidential campaign;
    • whine repeatedly about the “Failing New York Times,” the “Fake News Media,” and the “LameStream Media”; and
    • call his phone call with the president of Ukraine “pitch perfect!”
  • There are also numerous retweets of terrible people.