We’re reviving Norms Watch, our series tracking President Donald Trump’s divergence from democratic norms, as well as the ways norms are sometimes discarded in reaction to the Trump administration. While the original version of Norms Watch was published on a weekly basis, our new edition seeks to provide a quick summary of the most significant breaks with democratic traditions that have occurred each month. Here’s Norms Watch for June 2018. Let us know if you think we missed any.
Separating children from their parents at the border
The Trump administration continued its “zero-tolerance” policy of prosecuting everyone who is caught crossing the border illegally, which in turn has led to the separation of thousands of children from their parents without any apparent plans for reuniting the families. Trump administration officials have described family separation as a tool for deterring future migrants from coming to the United States.
Here are the administration officials who have said that family separation is meant as a deterrent — the Washington Post’s Philip Bump
Listen to Children Who’ve Just Been Separated From Their Parents at the Border — ProPublica‘s Ginger Thompson
Separated immigrant children are all over the U.S. now, far from parents who don’t know where they are — Washington Post’s Maria Sacchetti, Kevin Sieff and Marc Fisher
At least 3 tender age shelters set up for child migrants — AP’s Garance Burke and Martha Mendoza
Trump Retreats on Separating Families, but Thousands May Remain Apart — New York Times’ Michael D. Shear, Abby Goodnough and Maggie Haberman
Exclusive: Navy Document Shows Plan to Erect ‘Austere’ Detention Camps — Time’s Philip Elliott and W.J. Hennigan
Pruitt racks up more scandals (which helps precipitate his resignation in July)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt faced at least 14 federal investigations by late June.
Scott Pruitt Has Spent a Total of $4.6 Million on Security, New Disclosures Show —Including $1,500 on “Tactical Pants” — The Intercept’s Lee Fang, Nick Surgey
Scott Pruitt had aide do various personal tasks, including hunt for a used Trump hotel mattress — Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin, Josh Dawsey and Brady Dennis
Pruitt faces another probe for employee retaliation allegations — POLITICO’s Emily Holden
Scott Pruitt enlisted an EPA aide to help his wife find a job — with Chick-fil-A — Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis and Josh Dawsey
A Courtside View of Scott Pruitt’s Cozy Ties With a Billionaire Coal Baron — New York Times’ Steve Eder, Hiroko Tabuchi and Eric Lipton
EPA’s Pruitt spent $1,560 on 12 customized fountain pens from Washington jewelry store — Washington Post’s Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin
Commerce secretary faces accusations of insider trading
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross also faced new allegations of ethics violations, including a potential case of insider trading. Ross called the allegations “completely false.”
Lies, China And Putin: Solving The Mystery Of Wilbur Ross’ Missing Fortune — Forbes’ Dan Alexander
Senators Ask SEC To Launch Insider Trading Investigation Into Wilbur Ross — Forbes’ Dan Alexander
Watchdog group calls for investigation into Wilbur Ross’s financial dealings — Washington Post’s Steven Mufson
Concern over Trump’s use of the presidential pardon power continued, especially in relation to its potential use in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and even the dramatic claim that the president could pardon himself.
Trump says he has ‘absolute right’ to pardon himself of federal crimes but denies any wrongdoing — Washington Post’s John Wagner
President Trump ‘probably does’ have the power to pardon himself: Giuliani — interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos
Rudy Giuliani says Mueller probe ‘might get cleaned up’ with ‘presidential pardons’ in light of Paul Manafort going to jail — New York Daily News’ Chris Sommerfeldt
Trump expresses his affinity for dictators while scorning traditional U.S. allies
In June, Trump attended the G7 Summit in Canada before flying to Singapore for his much anticipated meeting with Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea. Trump left Quebec alienating America’s closest allies with his pursuit of punishing trade policies, rejecting a joint communique he initially agreed to, and leveling personal attacks against the Canadian prime minister. This stood in stark contrast to his treatment of Kim, whom he praised repeatedly. Trump said that Kim Jong Un “speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.” Trump later said, in response to a reporter’s question, that he was being sarcastic.
‘Dictator envy’: Trump’s praise of Kim Jong Un widens his embrace of totalitarian leaders — Washington Post’s Philip Rucker
A Fox News anchor argued with Trump about Kim Jong Un’s human-rights violations while Trump praised his leadership — Business Insider’s David Choi
Trump faces backlash after saluting North Korean general — POLITICO’s Rebecca Morin
Donald Trump calls for G7 to readmit Russia ahead of summit — Guardian’s Julian Borger and Anne Perkins
Trump Refuses to Sign G-7 Statement and Calls Trudeau ‘Weak’ — New York Times’ Michael D. Shear and Catherine Porter
Peter Navarro says ‘there’s a special place in hell’ for Justin Trudeau — CNN’s Eli Watkins
Concerns grow over U.S.-NATO and U.S.-E.U. relations
Trump’s public outreach to Russia and his negative commentary on members of NATO and U.S. allies raised alarm.
As Summit Nears, NATO Allies Have One Main Worry: Trump — New York Times’ Steve Erlanger
Trump-Putin meeting to follow NATO gathering at tense moment — AP’s Jonathan Lemire and Catherine Lucy
Scoop: Trump’s private NATO trashing rattles allies — Axios’ Jonathan Swan
Trump is trying to destabilize the European Union — Washington Post’s Josh Rogin
Trump Leaves Door Open to U.S. Recognizing Russia’s Crimea Grab — Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev and Toluse Olorunnipa
Trump told Macron EU worse than China on trade — CNN’s Matt Korade and Elise Labott
New York Attorney General files civil suit against Trump for misuse of charity funds
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood filed a civil suit against Trump and his charity, the Trump Foundation, as well as Trump’s three eldest children, who have been official board members of the foundation for several years. The suit alleges, among other things, that Trump repeatedly misused his charity’s funds, including to benefit his presidential campaign, to pay off his creditors and decorate one of his golf clubs.
New York files civil suit against President Trump, alleging his charity engaged in ‘illegal conduct’ — Washington Post’s David A. Fahrenthold
Sanders, Trump publicly condemn a private business over its treatment of the press secretary
On June 23rd, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders used her official government twitter account to complain about being asked to leave the Red Hen restaurant, a private business in Lexington, Virginia. Two days later, the president also criticized the restaurant over Twitter.
Debate over the role of civility in politics and public discourse is renewed
Sanders, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen and White House adviser Stephen Miller were met with personal protests in June over the migrant family separation policy. A public feud also erupted between Trump and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who urged her supporters at a rally, “If you see anybody from that [Trump] Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”
The decision by the Red Hen owner and Rep. Waters’ remarks launched a national debate about civility. The Council on Foreign Relations’ president Richard Haass said the action of the restaurant owner “violates the spirit” of the Civil Rights Act.
Public shaming of Trump officials sparks debate over protest and civility — PBS Newshour’s William Brangham
White America’s Age-Old, Misguided Obsession With Civility — New York Times op-ed by Thomas J. Sugrue
Sometimes There Are More Important Goals Than Civility – The Atlantic’s Vann R. Newkirk II
The civility debate may be a distraction, but it’s also a symptom of an ideological rift — Columbia Journalism Review’s Mathew Ingram
Maxine Waters isn’t standing down: “If you shoot me, you better shoot straight” — Vox’s Emily Stewart
Trump advances his immigration policy with racially charged tactics
In June, Trump continued to use dehumanizing language and false criminal statistics to characterize migrants and undocumented immigrants. He and other anti-immigration advocates also called attention to Europe’s migrant crisis, suggesting the US could face a similar fate.
Trump Says Democrats Want Immigrants to ‘Infest’ the U.S. — The Atlantic’s David A. Graham
FACT CHECK: Trump, Illegal Immigration And Crime — NPR’s Scott Horsley
The dark history behind Trump’s inflammatory language — Washington Post’s Anne Applebaum
Trump falsely claims rising German crime rate as he pushes immigration debate — CNN’s Betsy Klein
Congressman Steve King Retweets a Nazi Sympathizer — New York Times’ Sheryl Gay Stolberg
There Is No Immigration Crisis — The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart