This Is Not Normal, January 20, 2020 – January 26, 2020

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president described traumatic brain injuries sustained by soldiers on a military base that was attacked by Iran as “headaches” and “not very serious.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Justice department ignored an order to remand from a federal appeals court.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that multiple Senators found it impossible to just follow the rules and sit still and listen to the testimony in a presidential impeachment trial. (If a presidential impeachment trial cannot hold their attention, what can?)
  • Similarly, it is NOT NORMAL that several Republican senators required metaphorical smelling salts after the House managers quoted a presidential aide who said that the president wanted the heads of Republicans who voted against him “on pikes.” And if they are going to be mad at someone, logically they should be mad at the president and his staff, not the congressman quoting the president and his staff.
  • ¬†It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s defense team persists in describing presidential impeachment as an attempt to undo the 2016 election (if the president is, by some miracle, removed from office the vice-president, who was elected in 2016, will take his place).
  • It is NOT NORMAL that an associate of the president’s personal attorney, who is currently under federal indictment, released a recording of an hourlong personal conversation with the president, who at one point ordered the associate to “get rid of” the ambassador to Ukraine. (And, look, it’s not like the associate could fire the ambassador, since he held no position in government — so why was the president telling him this? What did he think the associate was going to do?)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former national security adviser, the president said he wanted to freeze aid to Ukraine until its government agreed to open investigations into members of the rival party. (Also NOT NORMAL: reportedly even moderate Republican senators do not want to hear testimony from the former national security adviser, even though it seems undeniably relevant.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Secretary of State berated and cursed at an NPR reporter for asking questions about Ukraine (i.e., doing her job) and then insinuated in a press release that she–a graduate of Harvard and Cambridge with a master’s degree in European studies–had confused Bangladesh and Ukraine.
  • The president continues to tweet a great deal, to the extent that one wonders when he does things that are not tweeting. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president
    • tweet “USA! USA! USA!” apropos of nothing;
    • refer to two Washington Post reporters who wrote a book about him as “two stone cold losers from Amazon WP,” and then segue into yet another complaint about the time a congressman satirized his conversation with the president of Ukraine;
    • tweet that “It was exactly three years ago today, January 20, 2017, that I was sworn into office. So appropriate that today is also MLK jr DAY [sic]” (it is not appropriate for the president to try to make Martin Luther King Day about himself);
    • complain that the Speaker of the House “can’t fix” the homeless crisis in San Francisco (she is not in fact the mayor of San Francisco);
    • tweet “READ THE TRANSCRIPTS!” (he continues to labor under the impression that the transcript of the “perfect phone call” somehow exonerates him);
    • complain that “They are taking the nomination away from Bernie for a second time. Rigged!” (not one vote has been cast in the Democratic primary);
    • tweet “‘NO PRESSURE’,” sans context;
    • falsely complain that the House did not allow him lawyers or witnesses (his lawyers declined to participate in the Judiciary hearings, and the Republicans did call several witnesses);
    • refer to a congressman several times as “Shifty Schiff,” which I continue to maintain is anti-Semitic;
    • tweet “Crazy Bernie takes the lead in the Democrat Primaries, but it is looking more and more like the Dems will never allow him to win! Will Sleepy Joe be able to stumble across the finish line?” (this is just so weird);
    • approvingly quote a Democratic rival saying that he (the president) would be more difficult to beat if he was acquitted by the Senate, only to several minutes later claim that “the Impeachment Hoax is interfering with the 2020 Election — But that was the idea behind the Radical Left, Do Nothing Dems Scam attack” (don’t these two back-to-back tweets directly contradict each other?);
    • refer to his impeachment defense as “Our case against lyin’, cheatin’, liddle’ Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, Nervous Nancy Pelosi, their leader, dumb as a rock AOC, & the entire Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrat Party”;
    • tweet “Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!”, which certainly sounds vaguely threatening;
    • refer to a Nobel Prize-winning economist as “a lightweight thinker”; and
    • call a reporter “Sleepyeyes Chuck Todd.”
  • The president also retweeted many terrible people.
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This Is Not Normal, January 13, 2020 – January 19, 2020

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s legal defense team does not deny the basic facts of the case against the president but calls the impeachment articles “brazen and unlawful” (presidential impeachment is not unlawful but is in fact described in the Constitution).
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a Republican congressional candidate, the president’s personal attorney, and at least one business associate of the president’s attorney who has now been charged with multiple federal crimes were all texting each other about surveilling the American ambassador to Ukraine, with what certainly sounds like intent to do her harm. I realize this sounds far-fetched, but based on texts released by the House of Representatives this week, it appears to be accurate.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president had a meltdown during an event promoting school prayer, triggered by the impending impeachment trial, which he referred to as a “witch hunt hoax.” I regret to inform you that the president again described his phone call with the president of Ukraine as “perfect.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the administration imposed multiple requirements on congressionally approved aid to Puerto Rico, after sitting on the aid for several months.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that Republican senators are arguing that the president was not allowed to participate in the House impeachment hearings. The House invited the president’s lawyers to participate; the White House declined.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s press secretary accused Democrats of “parroting Iranian talking points, almost taking the side of terrorists” (what Democrats did was point out that the killing of an Iranian military leader was strategically questionable, not supported by our allies, and potentially a violation of international law).
  • 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 himself as “the person who saved Pre-Existing Conditions in your Healthcare” (his administration is trying to repeal the ACA, which would also repeal the pre-existing conditions clause);
    • retweet a photoshopped image of the Speaker of the House and the Senate minority leader wearing Arabic clothing;
    • gleefully comment on a “feud” between two Democratic candidates for president, adding as a bit of a drive-by that a third candidate is “getting tiny crowds which are all leaving fast”;
    • complain that “Anything I do, whether it’s the economy, military, or anything else, will be scorned by the Rafical [sic] Left, Do Nothing Democrats!” (reminder that the Senate majority leader once said that “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president”);
    • tweet “Why should I have the stigma of Impeachment attached to my name when I did NOTHING wrong? Read the Transcripts! A totally partisan Hoax, never happened before”;
    • announce that it didn’t matter whether an Iranian attack was “imminent” because of the Iranian leader’s “horrible past” (I feel like the president would lose badly if he played Risk with my sons);
    • make a snarky, childish comment when a Democratic candidate dropped out of the presidential race;
    • approvingly retweet someone who called him a “monstrous, domineering behemoth” (the fact that both the president and the original tweeter apparently think of this as a compliment says a lot about the direction of our country);
    • tweet “I JUST GOT IMPEACHED FOR MAKING A PERFECT PHONE CALL!”;
    • repeatedly refer to a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president as “Mini Mike Bloomberg”;
    • claim that the impeachment trial is an attempt to rig the Democratic primary against Bernie Sanders (I will give him this, that is at least an original and unexpected argument–also, it could not be more obvious that the president is dying to run against Bernie Sanders);
    • argue that “Your 2nd Amendment is under very serious attack in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia. That’s what happens when you vote for Democrats, they will take your guns away. Republicans will win Virginia in 2020” (no one is taking guns away in Virginia, and also the Virginia state government elections are in odd years, so the Republicans cannot win Virginia in 2020); and
    • call a book that describes a temper tantrum he had in front of high-ranking generals “Another Fake Book by two third rate Washington Post reporters”.

This Is Not Normal, January 6, 2020 – January 12, 2020

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that American citizens of Iranian descent were detained at the border for no apparent reason.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Senate Majority Leader will not commit to calling witnesses or hearing evidence at the president’s impeachment trial.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a senator from the president’s party said that the administration’s briefing on the assassination of an Iranian military leader was the worst briefing he’d ever seen.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, according to reporting by the Wall Street Journal, the president’s decision to assassinate the Iranian military leader was partially motivated by his desire for support from conservative Senators in his impeachment trial.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president lied about the military assistance to Ukraine that is at the heart of his impeachment trial: contrary to what the president said, the aid was not delivered earlier than expected.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president told a Fox News reporter that Iran had planned to attack “four embassies” in the Middle East, a statement contradicted by his own defense secretary and not backed up by the intelligence shared with Congress.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is being sued by a writer because he allegedly raped her (not to be confused with the other sexual assault case brought by a former contestant on the president’s reality show).
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the former ambassador to the United Nations claimed that Democrats were “mourning the loss of Soleimani,” nor that a Republican congressman accused Democrats of being “in love with terrorists.” In fairness, the congressman later retracted his statement and apologized.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the administration apparently accidentally sent a letter to Iraq saying that the United States would withdraw its troops. How does that happen?
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • tweet “All is well!” immediately after Iran launched missiles at American military bases (I am sure this was meant to be reassuring; I was not reassured);
    • continue to try to make “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT” happen;
    • refer to the Speaker of the House as “Crazy Nancy Pelosi” and call the Articles of Impeachment “another Democrat fraud”;
    • claim that the Speaker of the House “will go down as perhaps the least successful Speaker in U. S. History!”;
    • claim that Democrats had “spent the last 3 days defending the life of Qassem Soleimani” (it is not defending the life of someone to point out that it was strategically unwise to assassinate him);
    • claim that he had a 53% approval rating, to which he wanted to add “7 to 10 percent because of the Trump ‘thing'”. (I cannot find any poll showing an approval rating greater than 48%; the current average is 41.8%);
    • tweet a request to a journalist to ask the Speaker of the House “why she allowed Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff to totally make up my conversation with the Ukrainian¬† president & read his false words to Congress and the world, as though I said it? He got caught! Ask why hearing was most unfair & biased in history?” (it was a parody, everyone knows it was a parody, the only person who thinks it was not a parody is apparently the president);
    • tweet “Why did Nervous Nancy allow corrupt politician Shifty Schiff to lie before Congress? He must be a Witness, and so should she!” (that’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works);
    • whine about having “the stigma of impeachment attached to my name” (he’s been committing impeachable acts since before his inauguration);
    • refer to one of the contenders for the Democratic nomination as “Crazy Bernie Sanders”; and
    • claim that “Many believe that by the Senate giving credence to a trial based on the no evidence, no crime, read the transcripts, ‘no pressure’ Impeachment Hoax, rather than an outright dismissal, it gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have. I agree!” (So what I am hearing here is that the president is worried about what would come out in a trial.)
  • The president also retweeted many terrible people.