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);
    • 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”.