This Is Not Normal, October 14, 2019 – October 20, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president attempted to award the next G7 summit meeting to his own resort, which would be a felony if he were not the president. (I am not impressed that he huffily backed down two days later.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s personal attorney met with the head of the department of justice’s criminal division to discuss a foreign bribery case on behalf of another client. (Remember how mad everyone was when a former president and the then-attorney general ran into each other on a tarmac because of the “appearance of impropriety”?)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president has nominated a former auto executive to be the new energy secretary.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the acting White House chief of staff admitted to a Ukraine quid pro quo, adding, “I have news for everybody: Get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy.” (I am not impressed that the chief of staff attempted to walk this back several hours later.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president compared Turkey’s assault on Kurdish allies to children fighting on the playground. It is NOT NORMAL that the president said the Kurdish military was worse than ISIS. It is NOT NORMAL that the president tried to characterize giving Turkey everything it wanted in exchange for a 120-hour “pause” in the assault as a piece of brilliant diplomacy. (And for good measure, the “pause” only lasted 12 hours.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president continues to say in speeches that Democrats don’t love the country.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president summoned Congressional leadership to the White House, only to call the Democrats “third-rate politicians” and tell them that he didn’t want them there. It is NOT NORMAL that at the meeting, the president referred to his former defense secretary as “the world’s most overrated general” and claimed that he personally captured ISIS in one month.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, according to the ambassador to the European Union, the president delegated Ukraine policy to his personal attorney (this would be the one currently under investigation for campaign finance violations, not to be confused with the one currently in prison for campaign finance violations). (I know I already made that joke last week, I just couldn’t resist.) It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s attorney was given precedence on Ukraine matters over the deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, the State Department official responsible for Ukraine policy.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s personal attorney (who had quite a week) reportedly pushed the president to deport a Turkish cleric so vehemently that some White House staffers wondered if he was secretly lobbying for Turkey.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president and his staff attempted to ambush a British family whose son was killed by a diplomat’s wife in London by staging a surprise, filmed White House meeting with THE WOMAN WHO KILLED THEIR SON. (The British family refused to meet her.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president wrote a very informal and childish letter to the Turkish president that included the text “Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!” (The Turkish president reportedly threw the letter in the trash.)
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be a stream of impeachable offenses, all by itself. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • complain that the whistleblower “got my Ukraine conversation sooo wrong, not even close” (has the president read the transcript that his own staff released to the public?) and call for the whistleblower’s identity to be revealed;
    • congratulate his former press secretary’s performance on Dancing with the Stars while the Turkish military continued to assault the Kurds;
    • say that the “Fake News” media was “wrap[ping] their greasy and very protective arms around him”;
    • claim that the Fox News impeachment poll that showed 51% in favor of impeachment had “turned out to be incorrect” because of a misleading and inaccurate analysis of the poll’s methodology in the New York Post, later calling it a “FAKE SUPPRESSION POLL”;
    • claim that he had defeated “100% of the ISIS Caliphate”;
    • complain that there was “no transparency at the Witch Hunt hearings” (twice);
    • refer to a sitting Congressman as “Shifty Adam Schiff” (which still sounds anti-Semitic to me);
    • claim that “Our record Economy would CRASH, just like in 1929, if any of those clowns became President!” (no);
    • retweet a photograph showing the female Speaker of the House speaking forcefully to several white male officials, captioning it “Nervous Nancy’s unhinged meltdown!” (the Speaker does not look unhinged in the photo and in fact made it her Twitter cover photo so I am perplexed as to why the president thought it would be good politics to publicize it);
    • argue that the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee should be censured for his parody of the transcript of the call with the leader of Ukraine;
    • tweet “I am the only person who can fight for the safety of our troops & bring them home from the ridiculous & costly Endless Wars, and be scorned” (he is actually sending troops to help Saudi Arabia, so no);
    • describe the complete capitulation to Turkey as “a great day of civilization,” saying that “People have been trying to make this ‘Deal’ for many years. Millions of lives will be saved. Congratulations to ALL!”;
    • unironically describe the “deal” with Turkey as “the ultimate solution” (wow, those are words you need to stay away from when describing foreign affairs);
    • complain about “Crooked Hillary Clinton” calling “the respected environmentalist and Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, a ‘Russian Asset,'” later claiming that “Hillary’s gone Crazy!”; and
    • refer to his defense secretary Mark Esper as “Mark Esperanto.”
  • There was also a lot of retweeting and a lot of Fox News.

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