In a new Op-Ed for The Hill, Fox News regular Juan Williams pleads “”We must not become numb to Trump’s abnormality.”
How about a summer in which Americans are not allowed to travel to Canada or Europe? Seriously. That’s due to President Trump’s failure to halt the high rate of coronavirus infections in the United States.
That’s not normal.
Is it normal for an American president to stand in the White House Rose Garden and begin ranting? Trump said if presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins this year’s election, Biden will do away with the suburbs and windows.
Yes, he really said that.
There is so much that is not normal at the Trump White House that Rachel Maddow, the MSNBC host, recently spent an entire segment reading off a stunning list of scandalous acts now accepted as normal in the Trump era.
Is it normal, she asked, that Trump “put his son’s wedding planner in charge of federal housing in the northeastern United States … fired one inspector general who was investigating the secretary of State … advertised his wife’s jewelry line on the White House website?”
Any of the Trump scandals, Maddow said, would have amounted to “the biggest scandal to ever afflict any other presidency — but by virtue of the sheer number of scandals that surround [Trump] like flies around a pigpen … [they] have just become part of what we expect, right?”
And it keeps going. Here’s an example from last week.
“The Trump Administration lifted a ban on sales of [gun] silencers to private overseas buyers that was intended to protect U.S. troops from ambushes,” The New York Times reported.
And there’s an eye-opening kicker to that tale.
The Times reported the ban was lifted as a result of strenuous lobbying by a lawyer currently working in the Trump White House. That lawyer previously worked for a firearms group. Now, firearms companies might make $250 million a year in potential sales overseas, the story noted.
That’s definitely a huge scandal in any other administration, sure to stir outrage from defenders of the American military.
It’s just another day in the Trump presidency.
But what about the obvious conflict of interest in that episode?
Well, it is hard to get attention for that argument.
As the Times explained, Trump’s Cabinet features “a former coal lobbyist as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, a former lobbyist for the defense contractor Raytheon Technologies as defense secretary, a lobbyist for the auto industry at the helm of the Energy Department and a former oil and gas lobbyist as interior secretary.”
This administration is a gusher of conflicts of interest.
That’s why it is easy to become numb to the Trump administration crossing red lines that define normal, ethical behavior by people at the highest level of government.
At this point you might be scandal fatigued. You might agree that it is bad but excuse it as not the end of the world. But then you find out there is more.
How about the attorney general pressuring career prosecutors to recommend a lighter sentence for Roger Stone, an old friend of the president who had been convicted of lying to Congress?
Yes, Attorney General William Barr twisted the arm of federal prosecutors to take it easy on Stone on the basis of “political considerations,” according to congressional testimony from an assistant U.S. attorney, Aaron Zelinsky.
Read more here.