There has been much discussion of Trump’s flouting of longstanding democratic and political norms. He didn’t release his tax returns; he has refused to divest from his businesses or place them in a blind trust; he is openly racist; he called on another country to hack the emails of a political rival—the list goes on and on. But Trump has also shown a talent for using those norms for his own gain. Take this tweet, which was sent on Thursday morning:
This is not true. Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton “complained” about Russian interference during the election, particularly down the stretch. But one possible reason the White House didn’t act was because of a norm that dictates that government agencies should not interfere in elections. In fact, if the White House did order an investigation of the hacking, Trump and his allies in conservative media would have howled for weeks about the White House tipping the scales in Clinton’s favor. (Trump, of course, also benefited from a similar departure from norms: the now infamous Comey letter.)
For all the talk about Trump steamrolling norms, he is using this one for political cover.