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.

This Is Not Normal, January 23, 2018 – January 29, 2018

This is your weekly reminder that this is not normal.

  • It is NOT NORMAL for a presidential appointee in  the Department of Housing and Urban Development to refer to a White House reporter as “Miss Piggy.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to ask the acting FBI Director how he voted in the 2016 presidential election. It is also NOT NORMAL for the president to be angered by the fact that the acting FBI Director’s wife received money from a political action committee affiliated with the minority party during a run for the Virginia state Senate two years earlier.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for members of the House of Representatives to plan a meeting with the leader of an extreme-right Polish political party.  The politician in question has called for the banning of Islam, and the parliamentary secretary of his party has called for the gassing of Jews, gays, and Roma. (The meeting was cancelled due to the government shutdown.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to order the firing of the special counsel who is investigating the links between his campaign and Russia.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for a member of Congress to write a memo based on classified information from the Justice Department, tease it repeatedly in public, and then refuse to show the memo to either the Justice Department or Senators from his own party. It is NOT NORMAL for the president to call for the public release of the memo despite objections from the Justice Department. And it is NOT NORMAL for an administration to target a Deputy Attorney General from its own party because he is suspected of not being personally loyal to the president.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the sham voter fraud commission instituted by the president to specifically request records of Texan voters with Hispanic surnames.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for a Senator to accuse the FBI of having a “secret society” targeting the president based on a single text from an FBI agent that, when released publicly, proved to be an obvious attempt at humor.
  • 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 a journalist as “Crazy Jim Acosta”;
    2. call a technical glitch that resulted in the temporary loss of texts by FBI agents “one of the biggest stories in a long time”;
    3. twice refer to a sitting U.S. Senator as “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer” (in other words, the president of the United States is mocking someone for tearing up when speaking about his relatives who died in the Holocaust);
    4. claim that he offered a deal on DACA in order to “show that Democrats do not want to solve DACA, only use it!”; and
    5. call out a rapper who criticized him by name.

Speech at FBI’s National Academy, December 15, 2017

It is NOT NORMAL for the president to call the FBI “disgraceful” on the way to give a speech at the FBI’s National Academy. (Just imagine the conservative ire if the previous president had said something like that.) It is also NOT NORMAL for the president to use the speech to describe a visa lottery process that bears no resemblance to reality, nor for the president to refer to those who came to the United States on a lottery visa as the “worst people.”

Sources: the Washington Post, Vox.