This Is Not Normal, December 23, 2019 – December 29, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that newly released emails from the White House show that the administration asked its officials not to talk about the suspension of military aid to Ukraine.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that in a speech to young conservatives, the president said that he had “studied [wind turbines] better than anybody I know” and that “I never understood wind. You know, I know windmills very much. They’re noisy. They kill the birds. . . . They’re made in China and Germany, mostly. But they’re manufactured tremendous if you’re into this, tremendous fumes. Gases are spewing into the atmosphere. You know we have a world, right? So the world is tiny compared to the universe. So tremendous, tremendous amount of fumes and everything.” (Reminder that all the other countries can hear him when he talks.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president retweeted a social media post that named the whistleblower at the center of the Ukraine scandal.
  • It was a slow news week, but a busy presidential Twitter week. This week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • describe the impeachment hearings as “the most unfair trial in the history of the U. S. Congress” (it wasn’t a trial) and accusing the Speaker of the House of “breaking all rules” (she didn’t);
    • claim that the Speaker “is trying to take over the Senate, & Cryin’ Chuck is trying to take over the trial” (just no to all of that);
    • ask the rhetorical question “Why should Crazy Nancy, just because she has a slight majority in the House, be allowed to impeach the President of the United States?” (because that’s how math works?);
    • make the point several times that impeachment got “ZERO Republican votes” (this is because when a Republican indicated that he would vote for impeachment he was summarily booted out of the party);
    • complain that the Speaker’s district “has rapidly become one of the worst anywhere in the U. S. when it come [sic] to the homeless & crime. It has gotten so bad, so fast — she has lost total control” (does he . . . does he think that members of Congress are the mayors of their districts?);
    • blame the leader of Canada for having the president’s cameo cut out of Home Alone 2 on Canadian television (in reality, the cameo was cut in 2014 so that the CBC could run commercials during the movie);
    • retweet several terrible people whose accounts were later suspended for violating Twitter’s Code of Conduct;
    • attack California and New York for their “TREMENDOUS Homeless problems”; and
    • endorse multiple conspiracy theories.

This Is Not Normal, December 9, 2019 – December 15, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the outgoing governor of Kentucky pardoned a man who was convicted of murdering a father in front of  his family during a home invasion. (The man who was pardoned was the brother of a man who had raised thousands of dollars for the governor’s campaign; the two co-defendants in the case did not receive pardons, presumably because they were less well connected politically.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Senate majority leader — who would be a juror in any presidential impeachment trial — is coordinating impeachment strategy with the White House.
  • Similarly, it is NOT NORMAL that the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said that “I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here.” (Good to know.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is floating the idea of skipping the general election debates in 2020 because he expects to dislike the chosen moderator (or, you know, because he expects to embarrass himself).
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the inspector general of the Justice Department and the attorney general are publicly squabbling over the inspector general’s findings that the investigation into the president’s campaign was not politically motivated. (Of all the strange notions and wild conspiracy theories that have been floated in the past three years, the idea of the FBI as a hotbed of liberalism continues to disconcert me.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president of the United States is tweeting upwards of 100 times a day some days. But beyond that, the content of the president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • comment “Let our great soldiers fight!” on a news story about a pardoned war criminal being released from prison;
    • tweet “Witch hunt!” multiple times (occasionally in all caps);
    • refer to the opposition party as “The Do Nothing Democrats” several times over the course of the week;
    • tweet “Read the Transcripts!” because he is still apparently convinced that the transcript of the call with the Ukraine president somehow exonerates him;
    • refer to his impending impeachment as “sheer Political Madness!”;
    • complain yet again, and then retweet the complaint three separate times, about the parody of the phone call that the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee read (the parody may have been ill-considered, but it was neither treason nor fraud);
    • mock the teenage climate change activist who was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year (later the president’s communications team posted a version of the Time cover with the president’s head photoshopped onto the teenage activist’s body and how on earth they thought that made the president look good I will never understand);
    • claim that “Poll numbers have gone through the roof in favor of No Impeachment, especially with Swing States and Independents in Swing States” (they have not; poll numbers have consistently shown about fifty percent of the country in favor of impeachment and removal and about 41 percent of the country opposed to both);
    • make an obvious bid for a “wonderful” Supreme Court Justice’s sympathy, apparently in an attempt to curry favor before the hearings on Congress’s subpoena of the president’s financial records;
    • complain about Fox News interviewing “sleazebag & totally discredited former FBI Director James Comey, & also corrupt politician Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff”;
    • refer to MSNBC as “Commiecast,” which I think is a new one, refer to a CNN anchor of Italian-American heritage as “Fredo,” and claim that “Only pro Trump Fox shows do well”;
    • refer to his 2016 presidential campaign opponent as “Crooked Hillary”;
    • refer to his phone call with the Ukraine president as “PERFECT”; and
    • claim that the Democrats did not include bribery among the articles of impeachment because the Speaker’s “teeth were falling out of her mouth, and she didn’t have time to think!” (I confess this one confuses me).
  • I really only skimmed the president’s tweets this week because I apparently do not have as much time on my hands as the president of the United States does.

This Is Not Normal, December 2, 2019 – December 8, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that, after a shooting at a naval base in Florida by a Saudi military officer, the president apparently took the Saudi government’s expression of innocence at face value and defended Saudi Arabia before issuing condolences of his own.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is trying to prevent the release of his financial records to Manhattan prosecutors, despite the fact that a valid subpoena has been issued.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the attorney general suggested that communities that criticize police misconduct “may find themselves without the police protection they need.” (Police are not above criticism; treating them as if they are is incredibly dangerous to civil liberties; and this is the kind of threat that you would expect to hear from Tony Soprano, not the top law enforcement officer of the United States.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that in an attempt to defend the president, Republican Senators are repeating debunked conspiracy theories about Ukraine that most if not all of them know perfectly well are not credible.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the attorney general (who is really having a banner week) is hinting to Justice officials that he does not like the results of an inspector general’s investigation into the investigation of the president’s campaign.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president abruptly cancelled his final press conference at the NATO meeting in Britain, presumably in a fit of pique after a video of other leaders mocking him was widely circulated on social media.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • call the Democrats in Congress “Do Nothing Democrats” repeatedly, despite the fact that the Democratic House of Representatives has passed literally hundreds of bills that the Senate Majority Leader won’t bring to the floor;
    • continue to mock a former FBI agent who had an affair with another FBI agent investigating the president’s 2016 campaign;
    • complain about the Federal Reserve Board’s decision not to lower interest rates;
    • complain that the “Fake News Media is doing everything possible to belittle my VERY successful trip to London for NATO” and insist that “I got along great with the NATO leaders”;
    • again refer to his phone call with the president of Ukraine as “perfect”;
    • argue that the Speaker of the House “had a nervous fit” when she announced that the House would be pursuing impeachment;
    • tweet “Where’s the Fake Whistleblower? Where’s Whistleblower number 2? Where’s the phony informer who got it all wrong?” (again I remind you that the transcript that the White House voluntarily released lines up very well with all of the allegations that the Whistleblower made); and
    • demand a retraction of a CNN report that he uses his personal cell phone for secure calls despite warnings.
  • The president also retweeted an extraordinary number of terrible people.

This Is Not Normal, November 26, 2019 – December 1, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Republican challenger of a Minnesota congressional representative had to be booted off Twitter for hateful conduct because she said that her rival should be tried for treason and hanged.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the White House spent twenty-four hours changing its mind multiple times about whether an Army dog that that participated in the raid on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was male or female. (I still have no idea what the sex of this dog is, but this has to be the dumbest story of the week.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s personal lawyer has been actively pursuing business opportunities worth hundreds of thousands of dollars with government officials in Ukraine, while denouncing the son of a former vice president for . . . making hundreds of thousands of dollars in Ukraine.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s own justice department can reportedly find no evidence that the allegations the president has made about the FBI “spying” on his campaign are true.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that ambassador to the European Union, fresh off the president’s impeachment hearings, has now been accused of sexually harassing three women. (The ambassador to the European Union is having a bad month.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the House Oversight Committee has been forced to sue the attorney general and the secretary of commerce for refusing to turn over subpoenaed documents about the 2020 census.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be a sight to behold. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • describe pardoning war criminals as “protect[ing] our great warfighters [sic]”;
    • say that he actually wants his aides to testify, but “I am fighting for future Presidents and the Office of the President” (whatever, dude);
    • refer to the “phony Impeachment Hoax” as a “Democrat Scam that is going nowhere but, future Presidents should in no way be compromised”; and
    • tweet a picture of his head on Rocky Balboa’s body, and then have his press office push back on the idea that it was photoshopped (good lord, of course it was photoshopped, and also, I changed my mind, this is the dumbest story of the week).
  • The president also retweeted many terrible people.