The impending presidency of Donald J. Trump presents a challenge for those who study and comment on politics because it is a challenge to keep up with the conflicts and scandals. Take the last week, for example.
On Tuesday, Buzzfeed published a dossier with flimsy but damning allegations that inspired the hashtag #goldenshowers. Trump responded with a meltdown about the irresponsibility of news outlets publishing #fakenews, an interesting response from a man who “won” the White House through careful construction of a fake news environment. As Samantha Bee points out, it is not normal that few bat an eyelash at news of #goldenshowers and the president-elect.
What may have been missed in the urine hubbub is the revelation that the FBI was investigating whether the Trump camp was in direct contact with the Russian government in order to throw the election.
On Wednesday, Trump held a press conference to which he brought his own cheering section, and in which he reiterated that he would not put his holdings in a blind trust. Experts believe this puts Trump in violation of the Constitution the day he takes office. Trump closed the presser by shouting “You are fake news!” to CNN’s Jim Acosta, a chilling message from the President Elect to the free press. None of this is normal.
We also learned this week that the Trump’s national security adviser, Mike Flynn, phoned with the Russian ambassador multiple times on the day that President Obama issued sanctions against the country for tampering with the election. There is nothing normal about an incoming administration usurping a sitting president.
On Thursday, Representative Jason Chaffetz, the head of the House Oversight Committee, threatened action against Walter Shaub, the director of the Office of Government Ethics. Shaub has publicly questioned Trump’s obvious conflicts of interest and expressed concern that they are not being resolved prior to Trump taking office. Chaffetz’s attempt to silence a civil servant carrying out his job responsibilities is not normal.
On Thursday, Trump took to Twitter to encouraged his backers to shop at L.L. Bean, a clothing company facing a boycott fromGrab Your Wallet for a board member’s financial contribution to Trump. Consumer activism has become a popular new tool in politics in recent years, but it is not normal or ethical for an incoming president to use this tool to hurt or help companies.
Trump is bending and breaking so many rules so quickly that it is impossible to keep up with his infractions. Maybe that’s the point.