It Is Not Normal, November 18, 2019 – November 24, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the administration is seeking the resignation of the navy secretary because he wanted to kick a war criminal out of the SEALs. (He’ll listen to the generals, I was told.) (I mean, I understand that the navy actually has admirals, but you get the point.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, according to internal State Department documetns, the secretary of state discussed Ukraine with the president’s personal attorney in at least one call arranged by the president’s personal assistant.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that many Republican officeholders are supporting a conspiracy theory about Ukraine and the 2016 election that originated in a Russian disinformation campaign.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, in an interview with Fox & Friends, the president accused a witness in the impeachment inquiry of making up a phone call between the president and the European Union ambassador.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a group of self-described “attorneys who would traditionally be considered conservative or libertarian” criticized the attorney general for a speech in which he argued that the executive branch should have overwhelming power without significant checks from the other two branches of government.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the ambassador to the European Union told the House Intelligence Committee that the president ordered him to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations into a Ukrainian company that employed the former vice president’s son and into a conspiracy theory about the 2016 presidential election.
  • 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
    • call the Speaker of the House “Nervous Nancy Pelosi” (which is incidentally a terrible nickname since nothing about this woman indicates any nervousness) and claim that the “Radical Left” and the “Fake News Media” are her “BOSS”;
    • tease the idea of testifying before the House Intelligence Committee;
    • complain yet again about the chairman of the Federal Reserve;
    • falsify a quote he attributed to the Speaker of the House (she did not say “it is dangerous to let the voters decide Trump’s fate”–she said that “the President is jeopardizing the integrity of the 2020 elections”);
    • declare that the “Impeachment Witch Hunt is now OVER!” during the testimony of the ambassador to the European Union;
    • tweet, of the impeachment hearings, “If this were a prizefight, they’d stop it!”;
    • complain about the way the “FAKE & CORRUPT NEWS” media covered the impeachment hearings;
    • complain about the “local New York Democrat prosecutors” conducting a “Witch Hunt” over his financial dealings;
    • yet again describe the call with the president of Ukraine as “perfect”;
    • call the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee “human scum”;
    • attack the Navy for trying to remove a war criminal from the SEALs;
    • exhort everyone to “Read the two transcripts of Ukrainian calls!” (I have);
    • announce that the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee “will be compelled to testify” if impeachment succeeds;
    • complain that a book about the recent Supreme Court confirmation hearings was “a badly written & researched disaster” (there is zero chance this man read one word of that book); and
    • tweet “The Impeachment Scam is driving Republican Poll Numbers UP, UP, UP! Thank you Shifty.”
  • To end this list on a positive note, I want to give the president credit for restraining himself from blatant witness tampering via social media this week. Because apparently that’s where the bar is now.

This Is Not Normal, November 11, 2019 – November 17, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s close adviser was convicted of seven counts of making false statements, witness tampering, and obstruction.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president was tweeting an insult at the former ambassador to Ukraine while she was testifying before Congress.
  • It is NOT NORMAL (although not remotely surprising) that the White House adviser behind the president’s draconian immigration policies promoted white nationalist theories, articles, and writers to various journalists before joining the administration.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the acting White House chief of staff defied a subpoena to testify before Congress.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president–over the objections of the Pentagon–pardoned several servicemen convicted of war crimes.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s ambassador to the European Union told an embassy official that the president didn’t care about Ukraine policy but only about things that would benefit him, such as an investigation into the 2016 election or an investigation into the company that hired the son of a Democratic candidate for the president. (Incidentally, the same embassy official overheard the president asking about whether Ukraine was willing to launch such investigations.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the White House released a transcript of the first call with the Ukrainian president that seemed innocuous, but did not match the readout of the call that was released in April. (While we’re on the subject of the first transcript, it is not usual for presidents to compliment fellow world leaders by commenting on the great beauty of their countries’ Miss Universe contestants.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president personally added his own resort to the list of potential sites for the 2020 G-7 summit, substituting it for two of the four finalists for the contract.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be both busy and NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • claim that he singlehandedly lifted the poll numbers of the Kentucky gubernatorial candidate by nineteen points with only one rally;
    • argue that any transcripts released by the House Intelligence Committee would be “doctored”;
    • demand that the whistleblower, and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, should testify (I . . . don’t think he would like Schiff’s testimony much, to be honest);
    • tweet “Read the Transcript. It is PERFECT!” (it isn’t);
    • suggest that the American public would find the transcript of the first (“and therefore more important”) phone call with the Ukrainian president “tantalizing” (maybe I’m nitpicking here, but that is a weird word to use);
    • refer to the young people covered by DACA as “no angels” and “very tough, hardened criminals” (DACA explicitly excludes anyone with a criminal record);
    • refer to impeachment hearings as a “phony showtrial” with “zero due process” (a lawyer for the president’s party had 45-minute blocks to question witnesses during the public hearings);
    • tweet “NEVER TRUMPERS!” sans context;
    • tweet “Where’s the fake Whistleblower?” multiple times;
    • insult the district of the Speaker of the House;
    • blame the former ambassador to Ukraine for the situation in Somalia when she was stationed there (the president is honestly just a terrible person);
    • complain that the conviction of his former adviser showed a “double standard”;
    • complain that “Paul Krugman has called me wrong from day one. People at the Failing New York Times are very angry at him for having “missed” by soooo much. Paul, match over!”; and
    • call an anchor for a conservative news network “nasty & obnoxious”.
  • The president also retweeted several terrible people, including himself.

This Is Not Normal, October 28, 2019 – November 3, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the state health director of Missouri kept a spreadsheet that tracked the menstrual cycles of women who visited Planned Parenthood. WHY IS THIS A THING I HAVE TO SAY?
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president referred to Democrats in Congress as “mentally violent people” at a rally in Mississippi.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a National Security Council official who was on the controversial presidential call with Ukraine said that he reported concerns about the legality and propriety of the call to his superiors and that he was told not to discuss it.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the White House continues to tell witnesses not to cooperate with the House inquiry, even as they argue in court that there is no need to order the release of documents to the House since they are already cooperating.
  • IT is NOT NORMAL that a deputy secretary of state told Congress that the president’s personal lawyer personally advanced the effort to have the ambassador to Ukraine recalled.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the White House has found a loophole that allows the president to appoint yet another acting secretary of Homeland Security who does not have to be confirmed by the (Republican-held, mind you) Senate.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president has told repeated stories about a terrorist dying cowering in fear, even as intelligence officials continue to cast doubt on the story.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s daughter and senior adviser posted a self-pitying quote by Thomas Jefferson complaining about people lying about him with the tagline “Some things never change, dad!” Fun fact: the “lies” Jefferson was unhappy about were that he was having a (nonconsensual, by definition) affair with one of his slaves and had impregnated. Which . . . was not a lie.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • refer to the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee as “Shifty Adam Schiff”;
    • claim that the impeachment inquiry “is now called the Impeachment Hoax!” (he is the only one calling it that);
    • argue that the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee should be impeached for reading a parody of the president’s phone call with Ukraine (you can’t impeach congressional representatives, and obvious satire is not an impeachable offense anyway);
    • repeatedly demand that people read the transcript of the call with Ukraine (the “transcript” was just a summary written up by the president’s own staff, and it was still so damning that it was impeachable all by itself);
    • repeatedly tweet “Where’s the Whistleblower?”;
    • tweet “I knew people were listening in on the call (why would I say something inappropriate?), which was fine with me, but why so many?”;
    • claim that “Republicans are very unified and energized in our fight on the Impeachment Hoax,” after several days of complaining about Never Trumpers, who are by definition Republican;
    • photoshop a picture of a dog over the picture of a military official receiving a medal from the president with the caption “AMERICAN HERO!” (I’m sorry, maybe this one is petty, but it is just weird, and we all know that if Obama had done such a thing it would have been a three-day story on Fox News);
    • complain about the Federal Reserve Chairman yet again;
    • tweet “The Greatest Witch Hunt in American History!” (twice);
    • mock a Democratic candidate who dropped out of the race for the 2020 presidential nomination;
    • argue, after complaining that the hearings in the House were not open to the public, that it was not good enough for transcripts to be released because “Schiff will change the transcripts just like he fraudulently made up the phone call” (again I refer you to the transcript released by the president’s own staff);
    • announce that he transferring his residence from New York to Florida because the governor “has weaponized the prosecutors to do his dirty work” (this honestly sounds like a bit of a tell to me);
    • complain about the governor of California’s forest management and threaten to withhold federal emergency funds for wildfires;
    • claim that walking into Madison Square Garden for a UFC championship “was a little bit like walking into a Trump Rally” (in fact, he was roundly booed);
    • tweet “The Angry Majority!” (I don’t think that means what the president thinks it means); and
    • complain that “The Fake News Media is working hard so that information about the Whistleblower’s Identity, which may be very bad for them and their Democrat partners, never reaches the public” (the identities of whistleblowers are supposed to be protected).
  • The president also retweeted many terrible people, including himself.