This Is Not Normal, January 9, 2018 – January 15, 2018

This is your weekly reminder that this is not normal.

  • It is NOT NORMAL for an official on the National Security Council to propose withdrawing U.S. troops from Eastern Europe in order to “reframe our interests within the context of a new relationship with Russia.”
  • It is NOT NORMAL that a man who repeatedly endorsed the birther slander against the previous president, failed to investigate hundreds of sex crimes, routinely mistreated the inmates under his care as sheriff, misused public funds, framed someone for attempted murder, and was ultimately convicted of criminal contempt when he refused to stop racial profiling after being ordered to do so by a court is apparently a viable candidate for the Senate in Arizona.
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to need to be reminded of his own policy positions during a public meeting with Congress on immigration policy. Further, it is NOT NORMAL that the president’s seeming agreement with a Senator who proposed a different policy was omitted from the White House transcript.
  • It is NOT NORMAL, and should be deeply concerning, for the president to give a rambling and at times incoherent interview to the Wall Street Journal. In particular, it is NOT NORMAL for the president to say that “I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un of North Korea,” to whom he has not spoken and whom he has dubbed “Little Rocket Man.” It is also NOT NORMAL for the president and his press secretary to vehemently insist that the president was misquoted and continue to do so several hours after the Wall Street Journal posted an audio clip from the interview that clearly demonstrates the accuracy of their transcript. (To be fair, some people have listened to it and think they hear the “d.” I’ve tried and I just don’t hear it. This may be a question of the ear of the beholder.)
  • It is NOT NORMAL for the president to call African nations “shithole countries,” and how sad it is that we are at the point at which that has to be stated explicitly. (And ordinarily I wouldn’t use profanity on my page, but it’s a direct quote from the president of the United States, so here we are.) It is NOT NORMAL for the president to be so openly racist that he asks why Congress would propose accepting immigrants from Haiti and Africa rather than Norway. It is NOT NORMAL that the president said “Why do we want people from Haiti here?” It is NOT NORMAL that the African Union and African ambassadors to the United Nations have had to demand an apology from the president of the United States for his overt racism and xenophobia.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that two Senators from the president’s party claim to “not recall” the president’s language even though others in the room had gone on the record about the conversation. It is particularly NOT NORMAL that these two Senators are reportedly basing this tenuous defense of the president on the premise that he may have said “shithouse” as opposed to “shithole,” which (a) isn’t actually an improvement in any way and (b) is not a word people typically use.
  • It is NOT NORMAL that the president reportedly paid an adult film star $130,000 so that she would not talk to the press about a sexual encounter.
  • The presidential Twitter feed continues to be NOT NORMAL. To be specific, this week it was NOT NORMAL for the president to
    1. complain about an executive order being overturned by the Ninth Circuit;
    2. dub a Senator “Sneaky Dianne Feinstein”;
    3. charge that it was “possibly illegal” to release the transcript of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee (spoiler alert: it wasn’t illegal);
    4. refer to the investigation into his campaign’s contacts with Russia as a “the single greatest Witch Hunt in American history”;
    5. repeatedly tag a cable news shows that run stories of which he apparently approves;
    6. tout the fact that 66% of Americans are happy with the economy and omit the fact that most Americans credit Obama for it;
    7. criticize the upcoming House vote to extend the FISA Act, even though members of his own administration had gone to Capitol Hill to lobby for it, and then walk back his criticism two hours later after a talk with the Speaker of the House;
    8. repeatedly complain about the Democrats’ immigration policy;
    9. claim that he was cancelling his trip to London because he was upset about the “Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for ‘peanuts'” when in fact he is most likely cancelling because of protests and the move of the U.S. embassy was planned by the Bush administration for security reasons;
    10. deny that he said “anything derogatory” about Haiti;
    11. use his Twitter feed to fight with the author of a book about his administration and the staff of the Wall Street Journal; and
    12. begin Martin Luther King Day with a long tweet quoting himself about immigration.


To quote Brandon David Wilson on Twitter: “The second we aren’t nonplussed by this, it’s over.”


Hawaii Ballistic Missile False Alarm, January 13, 2018

It is NOT NORMAL that the entire state of Hawaii was erroneously notified that a ballistic missile was headed their way. It is further NOT NORMAL, and equally concerning, that the president did not interrupt his golf game to provide the people of that state with any reassurances and in fact, had still failed to address concerns about the incident but had managed to tweet about “Fake News” several times. Look, I don’t care how much the president plays golf,  but I don’t think it’s asking too much that he pause his game to deal with an unfolding situation. And I don’t think his lackluster response to this situation sends a good signal to Kim Jong Un or any other world leaders about how the United States might handle a real crisis. (I am also baffled by the White House statement that the mistaken alert was a “state exercise,” when the state itself is saying it was just an accident, and I would really like someone to clear that up.)

Source: the Washington Post.