This Is Not Normal, February 20, 2018 – February 26, 2018

This is your weekly reminder that this is not normal.

  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s unqualified daughter, who has still not received a security clearance, briefed the president of South Korea about the U.S.’s sanctions against North Korea.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Republican National Committee has been paying expenses formerly paid by the president’s own campaign committee for several months, an arrangement that began when the RNC stopped paying the president’s personal legal bills due to public pressure.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is considering appointing his personal pilot to head the FAA.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president is publicly threatening North Korea with a strike that would be a “very rough thing” and “very, very unfortunate for the world.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president of Mexico cancelled his visit to the United States because the president would not commit to refraining from talking about the border wall during the visit.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has removed language calling the United States a “nation of immigrants” from its mission statement.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the Veterans Affairs secretary’s response to being caught taking a taxpayer-funded European trip with his wife is to call himself a victim of “subversion” by Veterans Affairs employees and claim that he has permission from the White House to remove those employees.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to claim that he would have “run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon” if he were at a school during a shooting.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that an aide who helped run the president’s election campaign and worked on the presidential transition just pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the lieutenant governor of Georgia is threatening to retaliate against a private company because it has stopped offering a discount program to the members of the National Rifle Association. I was under the impression that conservatives think companies should be free to run their businesses as they see fit.
  • The presidential Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    1. refer to his opponent in the presidential election as “Crooked Hillary,” which means it has once again been zero weeks since he brought up the election and his opponents;
    2. complain multiple times that Democrats want to do nothing about DACA (the DACA deal is languishing for multiple reasons, among them a Republican filibuster);
    3.  call for Pennsylvania Republicans to challenge the redrawn congressional district map in the Supreme Court;
    4. say, without providing any substantiation, that he had been “much tougher on Russia than Obama”;
    5. complain that the “Fake News Washington Post” was running a story about a sexual assault allegation against him;
    6. subtweet his Attorney General for not investigating Democrats;
    7. argue in the first half of a tweet that he never said “give teachers guns,” only to spend the second half of the tweet, and a few following tweets,  explaining why he thinks that arming teachers would be a good idea;
    8. tout a CPAC straw poll giving him a 93% approval rating;
    9. misquote a Fox News report in such a way that it sounded as though the report was criticizing a congressman, when in fact it was simply quoting him; and
    10. once again refer to the Russia investigation, which has yielded three guilty pleas and dozens of indictments, as a “Witch Hunt.”
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This Is Not Normal, February 13, 2018 – February 19, 2018

This is your weekly reminder that this is not normal.

  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to continue to hold onto assets that receive rent from government entities (such as the U.S. Postal Service) and large foreign businesses (such as the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China and the Bank of India). This is a textbook conflict of interest. A reminder: we made Jimmy Carter give up his peanut farm.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s inaugural committee paid a newly formed company established by one of the First Lady’s close friends 26 million dollars for no one seems to know what.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to take a European vacation with his wife, which was paid for by the government even though half the trip was spent sightseeing.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that yet a third White House official has left the administration because he can’t qualify for a full security clearance. While we’re on the subject, the president’s son-in-law still hasn’t qualified for his security clearance after more than a year as a senior adviser, and he is reportedly still seeing a great deal of top-secret information. Meanwhile, the son-in-law is still making changes to his financial disclosures.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the official White House story about Rob Porter, the former White House aide accused of domestic abuse, was directly contradicted by the FBI director while under oath. The FBI director, by the way, was appointed by the current president.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a White House official referred to a school shooting in which fourteen students and three teachers were killed as “a distraction or a reprieve.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president’s son, who is not a member of the administration, is giving a “foreign policy speech on Indo-Pacific relations” while on a private business trip to India.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that thirteen Russian nationals and three Russian companies have been charged with meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
  • The presidential Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    1. falsely claim that his infrastructure plan “has received great reviews except for, of course, the Democrats”;
    2. complain yet again that the Democrats are refusing to make a deal on DACA and that DACA recipients had been “totally abandoned” (remember that the only reason DACA is an issue in 2018 is because the president rescinded the DACA executive order);
    3. imply that the “neighbors and classmates” of the Florida school shooter were somehow at fault for failing to report “bad and erratic behavior” (in fact, he had been reported at least twice);
    4. insist again that the Russian meddling in the election had no impact on the results (which is impossible to know) and that his campaign had not colluded with them;
    5. criticize the “Fake News Media” for not reporting that the Russians had started planning for the 2016 election in 2014, before he began his run for president (he actually registered his slogan and made some other preparations for a presidential campaign in 2012);
    6. blame the lack of gun control legislation on the Democrats;
    7. use the school shooting as an excuse to call for the FBI to abandon its investigation into his campaign;
    8. subtweet his own national security adviser for saying that Russia had meddled in the election without adding the president’s belief that Russia colluded with his opponent or referring to “Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems . . . the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!” (we are, alas, back to zero weeks without a “Crooked Hillary” reference);
    9. complain that “Obama was able to send $1.7 Billion Dollars in CASH to Iran and nobody in Congress, thte FBI or Justice called for an investigation!” (this was money that the United States owed to Iran because of a legal claim);
    10. refer to a sitting congressman as “Liddle’ Adam Schiff, the leakin’ monster of no control”;
    11. falsely argue that “I never said Russia did not meddle in the election” (he did);
    12. argue that the government should stop investigating Russia’s meddling in the election because Russian wanted discord in the United States (why would the president not want to figure out how to prevent a foreign country from meddling in our elections?);
    13. finish up his meltdown over the Russia indictments by retweeting a bot, because irony is dead;
    14. criticize Oprah Winfrey for her interview of a panel of voters; and
    15. wonder aloud why the former  president did not do more to prevent Russian meddling (which might be a fair question if the current president had taken any steps to prevent such meddling or condemned Russia for meddling in the first place, but he has done neither). Also, I regret to inform you that the president has still not learned how to thread tweets.