This Is Not Normal, June 3, 2019 – June 9, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the White House trumpeted what it portrayed as concessions as Mexico, claiming that Mexico had caved to its demands out of the fear of the surprise tariffs the president announced on Twitter, even though the actions Mexico agreed to were settled several weeks ago, before the tariff announcement.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Senate Majority Leader is blocking bipartisan attempts to secure elections in the United States.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is hijacking the capital’s Independence Day celebration, traditionally a nonpartisan event, making a speech to the nation from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and effectively turning it into a political rally for himself. (In the past presidents have either left D.C. during the festivities or hosted guests at the White House to watch the fireworks.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president called the Speaker of the House “a disgrace” and “a nasty, vindictive, horrible person” in an interview, also alleging (with no apparent evidence) that her home district has “drugs and needles all over the place” and that “it’s the most disgusting thing what she’s allowed to happen to her district.”
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • argue that “Democrats can’t impeach a Republican president for crimes committed by Democrats” (there  is no evidence of “crimes committed by Democrats”; even if there were, that would be a separate issue from the multiple instances of obstruction of justice detailed in the special counsel’s report);
    • assert that the mayor of London “has done a terrible job” and “reminds me very much of our dumb and incompetent Mayor of NYC” and, oddly, criticize the mayor’s height while landing at Heathrow;
    • ask AT&T to “do something” about CNN, which is “All negative and so much Fake News” and, in a subsequent tweet, suggest that people stop using AT&T in an attempt to influence them to “make big changes at CNN” (to be clear, it is very unusual for a president to suggest a boycott of an American company, particularly when overseas);
    • claim to have seen “Tremendous crowds of well wishers” but no protests in his visit to the United Kingdom (this does not appear to be accurate on either score);
    • claim that “If the Corrupt Media was actually fair, I would be up by 25 points”;
    • tweet that “Nervous Nancy Pelosi is a disgrace to herself and her family for having made such a disgusting statement [the Speaker of the House allegedly told her caucus in private that the president should go to prison for his actions in office]” (I am fascinated that it took this long for him to come up with a nickname for her);
    • tweet that “For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon – We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!” (I am willing to grant that even the president is aware that the Moon is not actually a part of Mars, but why doesn’t he want NASA to talk about the Moon if it a Moon landing is a step on the way to ultimately landing on Mars? I do not understand the purpose of this tweet);
    • tweet that “MEXICO HAS AGREED TO IMMEDIATELY BEGIN BUYING LARGE QUANTITIES OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCT FROM OUR GREAT PATRIOT FARMERS!” (I am not the first person to say this, but this sounds disturbingly like one of those transparently false P.R. releases from North Korea);
    • call his new North American trade deal (USMCA) “spectacular & very popular” and the previous North American trade deal (NAFTA) “the worst Trade Deal in the history of the U.S.A.,” despite the fact that the bills are very similar and USMCA is more of a slight upgrade than an actual policy change;
    • call a television personality who has been critical of him “a disaster” and “a total Loser” and claim that he and another news personality from the same network “used to BEG me to be on episodes of the Apprentice (both were bad)” (granted, I don’t have any way of knowing this for sure, but given the president’s track record, I am extremely skeptical); and
    • argue that “Twitter should let the banned Conservative Voices back onto their platform, without restriction. It’s called Freedom of Speech, remember.” (first, Twitter handed out temporary and permanent bans to accounts that span the political spectrum for behavior that violate’s the site’s terms of service; secondly, Twitter is a private company so any regulation they do on their own site is not a violation of freedom of speech, which THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES SHOULD REALLY UNDERSTAND).
  • The president was very worked up about the media this week so lots of Fake News and at least one Witch Hunt, but no Crooked Hillary and no Angry Democrats.
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This Is Not Normal, May 27, 2019 – June 2, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president, in the run-up to a state visit to Britain next week, has publicly told the country “walk away” from making a deal with the European Union, thrown his support behind Boris Johnson in his quest to become the next prime minister, and referred to the newest royal bride as “nasty” because she criticized him in 2016. (For those of you who don’t pay a lot of attention to foreign policy, this is not generally how diplomacy works.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Department of Justice is defying a judge’s order to release transcripts of conversations between the former national security adviser and the Russian ambassador.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president abruptly announced tariffs on Mexico because he was angry that, in his opinion, Mexico is not doing enough to prevent migrants from entering the United States.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that White House staff members sought to hide a Navy ship in Japan named after former senator John McCain from the president’s view because they were concerned about the president’s reaction to it. Try as I might, I cannot decide whether this or the nasty royal princess story is dumber. It’s a game of inches.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that documents found on hard drives belonging to a deceased Republican strategist revealed that the party pursued adding a citizenship question to the census specifically to deter immigrants (including legal immigrants) from participating in the census, thus lowering the population count of areas that are believed to largely support the Democratic party.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president insisted again in an interview that the special counsel was biased against him (ostensibly because he did not appoint the special counsel to be the FBI directory) while also insisting that the special counsel’s report showed that his campaign did not collude with Russia and that he himself did not obstruct justice.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a former Alabama judge, who has been credibly accused of preying on teenage girls as a thirtysomething lawyer, is pursuing a Senate seat despite even the president warning him not to do so.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that our reading comprehension, as a nation, is so absymal that the special counsel felt compelled to give a statement in which he repeated explicitly that “if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” That means that he and his team believe the president did commit a crime. You may disagree with him, as is your right, but saying that the report’s stance was “no obstruction” is simply not accurate.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the transportation secretary, previously known as the “good” cabinet member, has failed to divest herself of stock options in one of the country’s largest supplier of highway construction materials, despite the obvious conflict of interest and the document she signed agreeing to do so.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the press secretary said that the president and North Korea’s brutal authoritarian dictator “agree in their assessment of former Vice President Joe Biden.” That is a deeply weird thing to say.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is awarding the Medal of Freedom to an economist who wrote a flattering book about him (not to be confused with his recent pardon of the author of a different flattering book about him).
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • claim that he shouldn’t be impeached because he had “created perhaps the greatest Economy in our Country’s history, [rebuilt] our Military, [took] care of our Vets (Choice), Judges, Best Jobs Numbers Ever, and much more” (none of this is accurate);
    • argue that “Anyone associated with the 1994 Crime Bill will not have a chance of being elected” (again, this is mortifyingly transparent — apparently the president is very worried about a Biden ticket);
    • claim that “I was actually sticking up for Sleepy Joe Biden while on foreign soil. Kim Jong Un called him a ‘low IQ idiot,’ and many other things, whereas I related the quote of Chairman Kim as a much softer ‘low IQ individual.’ Who could possibly be upset with that?” (you know what, I was wrong earlier, THIS is the dumbest story of the week);
    • continue to try to make “Presidential Harassment” a thing (appropriate Congressional oversight and law enforcement investigations are not harassment);
    • claim that “highly conflicted Robert Mueller would have brought charges, if he had ANYTHING, but there were no charges to bring!” (in fact, Mueller brought many, many charges, just not any against the president, because Justice Department policy says that the president cannot be charged);
    • argue that “I never called Meghan Markle ‘nasty.’ Made up by the Fake News Media, and they got caught cold!” even though there is tape of him saying “I didn’t know she was nasty”; and
    • refer to a former Reagan speechwriter as “the simplistic writer for Trump Haters all . . . stuck in the past glory of Reagan” who “has no idea what is happening with the Radical Left Democrats, or how vicious and desperate they are” (I’m not going to lie, being forced to defend Peggy Noonan is a real low point for me).
  • “Witch Hunt” is back, “Fake News” is back, but I didn’t notice “Crooked Hillary” nor any number of angry and/or conflicted Democrats.

This Is Not Normal, May 20, 2019 – May 26, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s former communications chief is facing the “existential crisis” (according to the New York Times) of deciding whether or not to honor a Congressional subpoena. You would think that the self-appointed party of law and order would insist that everyone honor subpoenas.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president gave the attorney general (the same attorney general who distorted the findings of the special counsel’s report) the unilateral right to selectively declassify documents relating to the investigation into the president’s campaign’s ties to Russia.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president refused to meet with congressional leaders on infrastructure until they dropped all investigations of his administration.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president invoked executive privilege to prevent his former White House counsel from testifying on the obstruction of justice allegations outlined in the special counsel’s report.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that in 2016 and 2017, legal entities controlled by the president and his son-in-law engaged in several financial transactions so alarming to Deutsche Bank that the in-house anti-money-laundering specialists recommended they be reported to a financial crimes watchdog agency.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a freshman legislator held up a disaster relief package that was already delayed because it omitted funding for the president’s border security plans.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a Chicago bank chair has been indicted on charges of arranging a sixteen million dollar loan to the president’s former campaign chairman in exchange for a senior role in the administration. (The bank chair was not ultimately offered a position.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s first secretary of state told Congress that the president was less prepared for his meeting with the Russian president than the Russian leader was, and that the president had asked him to do things that were illegal.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be something to behold. In particular, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • allege, when complaining about the media, that the New York Times would “pass away when I leave office in 6 years”;
    • claim that he didn’t do business with banks because “I didn’t need money” (this is not accurate–also, see above);
    • call the media “an enemy of the people” because he doesn’t like what they say about him (John Adams, the second president: “The liberty of the press is essential to the security of the state”);
    • argue that the Democrats “would have a whole new future open to them” if they would only investigate Hillary Clinton (for, I believe, the eighteenth time?) and the “phony Russian investigation”;
    • declare that one of the Democratic contenders is “history” because “Sleepy Joe Biden” is pulling ahead, adding “China wants Sleepy Joe BADLY!” (this is so transparent I am embarrassed for him);
    • complain that Mexico is going “virtually nothing” to stop undocumented migrants from reaching the border and that the immigration laws are “totally flawed & broken” because of the Democrats;
    • whine incessantly about the Democratic investigations of his administration, while lying about how much the special counsel investigation cost as well as its findings;
    • continue to try to make “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” happen;
    • claim that “without the ILLEGAL Witch Hunt, my polls numbers, especially because of our historically ‘great’ economy, would be at 65%” (no, they would not);
    • refer to his first secretary of state (whom he appointed, remember) was “‘dumb as a rock’ and totally ill prepared and ill equipped to be Secretary of State”;
    • push back twice against allegations that he threw a temper tantrum over the investigations of his administration in front of Democratic congressional leaders (nothing says “I am so calm” by repeatedly insisting on your own calmness and calling on various members of your administration to back you up);
    • claim that CNN ratings have gone down because of their coverage of him;
    • complain that Twitter “viciously shut down” several “popular Conservative Voices” (Twitter did ban both liberal and conservative accounts this week for various violations of the terms of service);
    • complain that a Democratic senator “should not be allowed to take ‘command'” of the Senate Intelligence Committee;
    • complain that the judge who ruled against his administration the border wall was an “activist Obama appointed judge” and that the ruling favored “crime, drugs and human trafficking”;
    • criticize the handling of a case involving an actor who lied about being attacked in Chicago;
    • tweet that “North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Bidan [sic] a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?” (where to start? don’t conduct foreign policy on Twitter; don’t speak warmly of brutal authoritarian dictators; don’t approvingly cite said dictator’s criticism of an American political leader, whether or not it actually happened; don’t use derogatory nicknames for American political leaders, even if you don’t like them; especially don’t do any of these things while visiting an important ally in direct opposition to said dictator; and don’t make me defend Joe Biden); and
    • claim that “Numerous Japanese officials told me that the Democrats would rather see the United States fail than see me or the Republican Party succeed” (this is nonsense and everyone knows it, including–deep in their hearts–the president’s own supporters).
  • This week saw a bumper crop of “Fake News” and “Witch Hunt,” as well as at least one “Crooked Hillary” and one “18 Angry Democrats” reference.
  • A sixth migrant child has died while in U. S. custody after been separated from his parents. Nothing surprises me more than supporters of the president who think they will someday face God’s judgment but don’t think they will be judged for this.

This Is Not Normal, May 13, 2019 – May 20, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is considering pardoning members of the military accused of war crimes, including some who murdered unarmed civilians.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the attorney general has tapped a federal prosecutor to review the FBI investigation of the president’s campaign, which the attorney general insists on referring to as “spying on Americans,” a framing that the FBI director, who was appointed by the president, rejects. A federal investigation is not spying.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of the treasury refuses to comply with a House Ways and Means Committee subpoena of the president’s tax returns.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president has proposed that immigrants must pass a civics exam to get a green card, which is (a) an onerous and unprecedented requirement for a green card and (b) not something I believe the president himself would pass.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a review of the travel expenses of the former head of the Environment Protection Agency revealed $124,000 in inappropriate expenditures.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the White House refuses to comply with yet more document requests from the House of Representatives. It is also NOT NORMAL that in court this week, the president’s legal team argued that any investigation of the president by the House of Representatives was not permitted by the Constitution. Under this theory, neither the investigation into Watergate nor the one into Whitewater would have been allowed, and legislative requirements to preserve presidential records and release presidential financial disclosures would be invalidated.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president pardoned someone who wrote a flattering book about him.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Senate was forced to subpoena the president’s son because he kept canceling scheduled hearings.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • attempt to conduct trade negotiations and diplomacy via social media (if I live to be a thousand, I will never understand why we can’t get bipartisan agreement on this one simple point);
    • call the Democratic Party “a sad JOKE!” because members of the party referred to his continual obstruction of House attempts to investigate his administration as a Constitutional crisis;
    • continue to call the special counsel investigation of his campaign a “hoax” and a “witch hunt” even as he erroneously claimed that he and his campaign were exonerated (reminder that the special counsel’s report literally said the president was not exonerated);
    • refer to a potential 2020 opponent as “Sleepy Joe Biden”;
    • use a bad-faith out-of-context interpretation of something a newly elected congresswoman said about Palestine to claim that the congresswoman was anti-Semitic (the president’s repeated conflation of Jewish Americans with Israeli Jews is more anti-Semitic than anything this congresswoman has said);
    • refer to migrants at the border as “bad ‘hombres'” (they are largely mothers and children, and I will leave you to judge the president’s repeated use of ‘hombres’ when talking about Latinos);
    • claim that the people who “spied” (i.e., legally investigated) his campaign deserved “long jail sentences” for “TREASON”;
    • bring up the freaking emails yet again;
    • complain that no one told him that his former national security adviser was under investigation, when in fact it has been well-established that he was told several times; and
    • complain about a Republican congressman who said the special counsel report revealed impeachable conduct, calling him “a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents [sic] hands!”
  • “Witch hunt,” “fake news,” and (to my great regret) “Crooked Hillary” all made appearances this week. “Crooked Hillary” actually happened twice, in case you thought the president might have moved past an election that he actually won.
  • We are now up to five migrant children who have died in the custody of the United States Border Patrol, and the administration said this week there might be an additional 1700 who were separated from their parents.

This Is Not Normal, May 6, 2019 – May 12, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is resisting an emergency relief bill for farmers and communities hit by natural disasters because it offers aid to Puerto Rico, which incidentally is part of the United States, not a foreign country.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the House Ways and Means Committee has been forced to subpoena the president’s tax returns because he refuses to release them after promising to do so for several years. It is also NOT NORMAL that the secretary of the treasury and the IRS commissioner continue to resist House requests for the tax returns even though there is a law explicitly allowing the Ways and Means committee to request returns for any reason.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the acting defense secretary (who coincidentally was finally nominated to be the official defense secretary late this week) has notified Congress that he is shifting $1.5 billion to build the president’s wall.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s allies are attacking a fellow Republican because he has subpoenaed the president’s son to discuss his meeting with a Russian lawyer during the campaign.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that Georgia and Alabama have enacted draconian and unconstitutional abortion laws, including provisions that lead to women suffering miscarriages to be treated as criminals and charging women with falsely reporting a crime if their rapists are not convicted. (FYI, the conviction rate for rape is quite low, and is not necessarily indicative of a false accusation.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a contractor for the president’s inaugural committee who was fired because of financial irregularities is publicly accusing the White House of throwing her under the bus and calling on the inaugural committee to release her from her non-disclosure agreement so she can testify freely.
  • I am quite sure that the president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL, but I am skipping it this week on the grounds that no one should have to read such a thing on Mother’s Day.

This Is Not Normal, April 29, 2019 – May 5, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president discussed with special counsel’s report with the president of Russia, but did not discuss the possibility  of future Russian interference in American elections.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the attorney general defied a congressional subpoena to provide the unredacted special counsel’s report to Congress.
  • It is also NOT NORMAL that the attorney general made numerous false and misleading statements to the Senate in his testimony on the special counsel’s report.
  • It is also NOT NORMAL that the attorney general’s letter summarizing the special counsel’s principal conclusions drew criticism from the famously reticent special counsel for mischaracterizing his findings.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the former vice president’s younger son stood to benefit from the former vice president’s diplomacy in Ukraine. It is also NOT NORMAL that the president and members of his staff are pushing for investigations into the vice president’s younger son’s involvement in Ukraine for political reasons.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the speaker of the House is openly  concerned that the president may refuse to recognize the 2020 election results if he does not win.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to:
    • complain that the NRA is “under siege” by the governor of New York;
    • refer to the former vice president, who is now running for president as “Sleepy Joe” and complain that the media is “pushing [him] hard”;
    • claim that Democrats no longer like the special counsel because he found “NO COLLUSION & NO OBSTRUCTION” (this is not accurate) early in the week, only to decide by the end of the week that the special counsel should not testify before Congress because his report was written by “18 Trump Hating Angry Democras [sic]”;
    • complain that the New York Times has not apologized to him, which is, refreshingly, true and an about-face from his usual claim that the New York Times was forced to apologize to him;
    • make numerous terrible, irresponsible, and false posts about immigration;
    • conduct foreign policy on Twitter, this time chastising European countries for not helping enough with ISIS prisoners;
    • refer to the leaders of a firefighters union as “dues sucking” (with various capitalizations) several times, apparently because one union has endorsed the former vice president;
    • retweet (by my count) no fewer than sixty Twitter users supporting his criticism of the firefighters union (shouldn’t the president have better things to do?);
    • claim that the special counsel’s report shows that Russians were “rebuffed at every turn in attempts to gain access” to his campaign staff (this is not at all accurate, and I urge you to read the special counsel’s report);
    • continue to refer to the idea of Russia interference in the 2016 election as the “Russian Hoax” when even his own attorney general says he has accepted the special counsel’s conclusion that the Russians did in fact interfere in the 2016 election;
    • retweet and offer his personal support to a well-known far-right Islamophobic conspiracy theorist who was banned from Facebook for hate speech;
    • praise the brutal authoritarian dictator of North Korea;
    • complain about the treatment of an actor who was banned from Twitter until he agreed to remove a post calling for opponents of the president to be hanged;
    • complain that the Kentucky Derby’s disqualification of the ostensibly winning horse was “not a good one” and caused by political correctness (first, this is a weird thing for a president to weigh in on, and second, even if the disqualification was incorrect–I have no idea–I highly doubt it was motivated by political correctness);
    • retweet a well-known evangelical leader who said “Trump should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back [sic] for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup” (dear evangelicals, get it together, this is embarrassing); and
    • complain that “Despite the tremendous success that I have had as President, including perhaps the greatest ECONOMY and most successful first two years of any President in history, they have stollen [sic] two years of my (our) Presidency (Collusion Delusion) that we will never be able to get back. The Witch Hunt is over but we will never forget. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
  • “Witch Hunt,” “Fake News” and all those angry Democrats showed up in the social media posts this week, but I saw no mention of Hillary Clinton.

You guys, I am so tired of all the winning.

This Is Not Normal, April 22, 2019 – April 28, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the White House has tried to block multiple congressional subpoenas of staff members and requests for papers and other information. Congressional oversight of the executive branch is a key feature of the separation of powers established in the Constitution, as you probably remember from fifth-grade social studies.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, in the ongoing saga of the president’s nominees to the Federal Reserve Board, one of the wildly unqualified picks has been found to make a series of sexist statements in the National Review, including suggestions that women should only be allowed to cover men’s basketball if they were attractive and wore halter tops and complaints that women were “sooo malleable” because his then-wife had voted for a Democrat. (It will not shock you to learn that he and his wife have since divorced.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the members of the president’s party in the Senate called the special counsel’s findings that the president had both obstructed justice and attempted to obstruct justice on several occasions merely “unflattering” and “inappropriate.” It is worth noting that many of these Senators voted to remove a former president from office for less blatant obstruction.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the governor of Kentucky blamed striking teachers for the shooting of a seven-year-old who was at home due to school closures.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the former homeland security secretary was instructed not to mention efforts to prevent Russian interference in the 2020 election to the president.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be ridiculous. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • claim that he couldn’t be impeached because he had not been accused of any crimes, which is a misreading of both the special counsel’s report and the Constitution;
    • retweet several tweets from pundits and politicians criticizing the special counsel, going back as far as a year (my working theory is that his lawyers told him not to criticize the special counsel personally, and he seized on retweeting as a loophole);
    • call a writer for the New York Times “obsessed with hatred, just as others are obsessed with how stupid he is,” apparently because he was critical of the president’s economic policy;
    • falsely claim that the New York Times had been forced to apologize for its coverage of him in 2016, saying “On this one they will have to get down on their knees & beg for forgiveness-they are truly the Enemy of the People!”;
    • lament that “In the ‘old days’ if you were President and you had a good economy, you were basically immune from criticism” (no president has ever been immune from criticism; this is kind of the point of the First Amendment);
    • offer reviews of several morning political shows (Fox & Friends is “by far the best”; “Morning Psycho (Joe)” is “Angry Dumb and Sick”; CNN is “beyond disaster”);
    • threaten that Congress will “get involved” with Twitter, apparently because many of his bot followers were removed;
    • argue that he should not be impeached because the stock market was at its peak (that is not really how that works);
    • start up the caravan talk again, for which I have no patience whatsoever;
    • claim that the special counsel’s report “didn’t lay a glove on me” (that is not true) and that “If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the Supreme Court” (again, that is not how that works);
    • falsely claim that “there has NEVER been a President who has been more transparent” (scroll up to see the first item on this week’s list, and bear in mind that this president has yet to release his tax returns);
    • falsely claim that he never told the White House counsel to fire the special counsel (the special counsel’s report provides evidence that he did);
    • tweet “DRAIN THE SWAMP!”, which is big talk from someone presiding over arguably the most corrupt Cabinet in American history;
    • refer to a former vice president of the United States, who has entered the race for the Democratic nomination as “Sleepy Joe” and claim that his intelligence is “long in doubt” (so on top of everything else this president has done, he has now forced me to defend JOE BIDEN);
    • refer to a Democratic donor and funder of impeachment ads as “Weirdo Tom Steyer”;
    • praise the number two pick in the NFL draft but not the number one pick, finishing up his congratulatory tweet with “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” (this *might* be racist but it is unquestionably weird); and
    • refer to another Democratic candidate for the presidential nomination as “Crazy Bernie Sanders” and suggest that he is going to “get screwed” by the Democratic National Committee.
  • Lots of “fake news” and “angry Democrats” (also he seems to have settled on 18 as the exact number of angry Democrats). No references to Crooked Hillary or, unless I just missed one, to a witch hunt, although he did declare the special counsel’s investigation illegal several times. Baby steps.

This Is Not Normal, April 8, 2019 – April 14, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that disaster relief for several states is stalled in Congress because the president doesn’t want to offer money to Puerto Rico and the Republicans in Congress don’t want to challenge him.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the attorney general accused the Justice Department of “spying” on the president’s campaign. (It is difficult to think of another context in which a conservative law enforcement official would refer to a legal investigation as “spying.”)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of the treasury is refusing to turn over the president’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee despite a clear statutory requirement to do so when requested.
  • It is NOT NORMAL, and it should alarm you, that the president purged several homeland security officials, including the director of the Secret Service.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the administration is floating ideas such as military-run migrant detention camps, closing the southern border of the United States, and shipping immigrants to sanctuary cities as an act of political retribution, to deal with a pretend security crisis. (It IS a humanitarian crisis. It is NOT a national security crisis. You are in much more danger from homegrown white supremacists than you are from migrants.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president reportedly offered pardons to Homeland Security officials if they broke federal law in implementing his immigration policies.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for various representatives of a political party to engage in bad-faith attacks  on a congresswoman, leading to death threats against her. It is not anti-Semitic to call a blatantly white-nationalist White House advisor a white nationalist, even if he is Jewish. It is not dismissive of the 9/11 terrorist attack to point out that mainstream Muslims were disproportionately stigmatized in the aftermath.
  • The president’s Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    • complain about judicial rulings against his various anti-immigration policies;
    • tweet that “The Mainstream Media has never been more inaccurate or corrupt than it is today. It only seems to get worse. So much Fake News!”;
    • approvingly quote a conservative pundit, twice, who accused the congresswoman above of “targeting” and “assaulting” Jewish people;
    • claim that “Everybody is now acknowledging that, right from the time I announced my run for President, I was 100% correct on the Border” (as part of “Everybody,” I object to this statement);
    • argue that his innocence in the Russia scandal was conclusively proven by the special counsel investigation, while maintaining that the special counsel’s report should not be released;
    • call Democrats “TREASONOUS” for opposing his draconian, authoritarian, and counterproductive immigration policies (as a country, we really need to stop throwing around the word “treasonous”);
    • approvingly crow about the indictment of a former Obama lawyer on “very serious charge” which stem from the lawyer’s post-White House work with the president’s campaign manager, whom the president maintains is an innocent victim of a witch hunt (my head hurts);
    • brag about his close personal relationship to the brutal authoritarian dictator who runs North Korea;
    • claim that the New York Times had to apologize for its false coverage of  him (this never happened);
    • complain that the New York Times story on his idea to ship illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities was “knowingly wrong on almost every fact” and then, three tweets later, suggested that he might ship illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities; and
    • claim that “If the Fed had done its job properly, which it has not, the Stock Market would have been up 5000 to 10,000 additional points, and GDP would have been well over 4% instead of 3%  . . . with almost no inflation” (the president chose four of the five Fed members, and you would be hard-pressed to find an economist who would sign on to his prediction about the stock market and the GDP).
  • This week saw references to Crooked Hillary, Fake News, the Witch Hunt, and various numbers of Angry Democrats. On a positive note, the president is very, very happy about the Tiger Woods Masters win.

This Is Not Normal, April 1, 2019 – April 7, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that at a meeting of Jewish Republicans,  a former senator led a recitation of Dayenu, a traditional part of the Passover seder, which was adapted to refer to the president instead of God. This is both sacrilegious and incredibly gross. (I usually don’t include former elected officials in this list but this is so offensive I am making an exception.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, at the same event, the president referred to the prime minister of Israel as “your prime minister.” For those of you keeping score, this is exactly the same kind of statement that caused so many people–including the president and at least a few people attending this meeting–to scream for the head of a newly elected congresswoman. A little intellectual consistency is all I’m asking for.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is refusing to turn over his tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee, despite a very clearly worded law that states the House Ways and Means Committee has the right to request the review of any tax returns.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that, for the second time in two weeks, the president’s nominee to the Federal Reserve board is both unqualified and is dogged by accusations of sexual misconducted.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the department of education is delaying federal loan relief for students who were deceived by fraudulent universities, failing to approve any applications in the second half of 2018 despite receiving nearly two thousand applications per week.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s nominee to lead the department of the interior continued to lobby on behalf of at least one client after taking a position as deputy interior secretary and several months after he filed papers asserting he had stopped lobbying.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the chairman of the majority party in North Carolina has been indicted for bribery on behalf of a major donor, who was also indicted.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a Chinese national carrying four mobile phones and a thumb drive with malware gained access to the president’s Florida resort.
  • 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 migrants entering the United States as a “major National Emergency” (it isn’t);
    • insist that it is “all important” to ask a question about citizenship on the census (citizenship has not been included on the census in previous years and including it will most likely depress participation, which is most like the reason why the president is eager to include it–this is not a “Radical Left” position);
    • obliquely argue against the release of the special counsel’s report on his campaign by asserting that “No matter what information is given to the crazed Democrats from the No Collusion Mueller Report, it will never be good enough”;
    • claim that he is working with Republicans to develop a new health care plan with “far lower premiums (cost) & deductibles than ObamaCare” which will be voted on after the 2020 election (this is laughably transparent, comparable to his assertions that he would be announcing a plan to reduce taxes on the middle class right after the 2018 elections);
    • complain repeatedly (and inaccurately) about providing aid to Puerto Rico, calling the mayor of San Juan “crazed and incompetent” and arguing that the territory’s leaders “spend the money foolishly or corruptly, & only take from the USA,” finally concluding that “The best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico is President Donald J. Trump” (Puerto Ricans are American citizens, and the president is racist);
    • argue that the “Dems don’t even acknowledge [the] name” of the special counsel and “would like to go through the whole process again” (what the Dems actually want is to see the report that the special counsel — to whom they seem to bear no animus — filed);
    • threaten to close the southern border of the United States, finally offering Mexico a “one-year warning”;
    • tweet, apropos of nothing, “THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS THE PARTY OF THE AMERICAN DREAM!” (nope);
    • call Democratic requests for the special counsel’s report “the highest level of Presidential Harassment in the history of our Country!” (nope again, and also, presidential harassment is still not a thing);
    • claim that the New York Times simply made up their story that many of the investigators on the special counsel’s team believed that the attorney general’s summary of the special counsel’s report was misleading and left out the most damaging findings (the New York Times has not been “forced to apologize” for its reporting on the president);
    • tweet a parody video of a Democratic presidential contender who has been accused of being too handsy, but who, unlike the president, has not been accused of sexual assault;
    • claim that “I’ve employed thousands of Electrical Workers. They will be voting for me!”;
    • claim that “The press is doing everything within their power to fight the magnificence of the phrase MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” and refer to the press as the “ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”;
    • pretend that previously scheduled fencing on the border is actually part of his border wall;
  • No Crooked Hillary this week but lots of Fake News and Witch Hunts.

This Is Not Normal, March 25, 2019 – March 31, 2019

This is your weekly reminder that this is NOT NORMAL.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s nominee to the Federal Reserve Board is widely regarded by economists as not having the expertise for the job and also was held in contempt of court for failing to pay his ex-wife court-ordered spousal and child support.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the secretary of education eliminated funding for the Special Olympics in her budget proposal, defending the elimination of funding in a congressional hearing, and then, when undercut by the president’s announcement that he had ordered his “people” to restore funding, issued a press release claiming that she’d been arguing for Special Olympics to be funded the whole time and she was happy  that the president had taken her recommendation.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president and many of his allies proclaimed the Attorney General’s four-page summary of the special counsel’s three-hundred-plus-page report to be a “total exoneration” when the summary literally included the phrase “does not exonerate him.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the administration announced that it would no longer defend any part of the Affordable Care Act, against the express recommendation of several Cabinet members, including the Attorney General.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president, speaking at a rally in Grand Rapids, referred to the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee as “Little pencil-neck Adam Schiff.” (As a rule, I do not comment on anyone’s personal appearance because it isn’t relevant to their political behavior, but I will say that the president is no position to mock the physical appearance of others.)
  • It was also NOT NORMAL that at the rally in Michigan, the president–among many other lowlights–continued to talk about his not-at-all special Electoral College margin, lied about the number of people who have attended his rallies, claimed that the former president had spied on his campaign, claimed that wind energy does not work because “if it doesn’t blow you can forget about television for that night” (this is nonsense), and referred to a Senator as “Pocahontas.”
  • 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
    • attack the media as “corrupt and FAKE” and “the Enemy of the People and the Real Opposition Party!”;
    • threaten to close the southern border of the United States;
    • announce that he was going to have the FBI investigate an actor who falsely reported a hate crime;
    • demand that the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee resign from Congress;
    • argue that the 3% GDP would be higher “Had the Fed not mistakenly raised interest rates” (most economists dispute this);
    • claim that the media’s coverage of the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia was “100% NEGATIVE and FAKE!” (this is not true); and
    • tweet that “Everybody is asking how the phony and fraudulent investigation of the No Collusion No Obstruction Trump Campaign began. We need to know for future generations to understand. This Hoax should never be allowed to happen to another President or Administration again!” (honestly, if I were the president or one of his allies, I would hold off on the gloating until people other than the Attorney General have seen the actual report).
  • “Witch Hunt” and “Fake News” both appeared in the Twitter feed. I did not see “Crooked Hillary” on Twitter but he did use this phrase in the Grand Rapids rally.