Trump continues to be his own worst legal enemy. Trump’s sustained irresponsible use of Twitter has damaged our relations with NATO, damaged our relations with Great Britain, created a fake domestic wire tapping scandal, created a fake voting fraud scandal, and generally embarrassed the United States. Our standing in the world is diminished by things like the President using his Twitter account to insult (with a lie) the Mayor of London busy dealing with a terror attack.
For the record, the London Mayor was telling citizens that the increased police presence they would see on their streets was no cause for alarm.
Can you imagine the Prime Minister of Great Britain attacking the Mayor of New York the day after 9/11? Absolutely inconceivable isn’t it? Yet what our President just did, representing this entire nation while doing it, is equivalent to exactly that. It should be an outrage, but it’s treated as just the new abnormal, while Trump’s demented hard core supporters think it’s great. An astounding 70% of voters describe Trump’s use of Twitter as “reckless and distracting” with even a plurality of Republicans saying so.
Perhaps the only upside of Trump’s tweeting is that it is undermining his efforts to implement bad policy. A series of Trump tweets after the London Bridge and Pub attacks has greatly complicated the ability of his attorneys to defend his travel ban.
Trump’s directly calling it a “Travel Ban” undoubtedly made his lawyers cringe as the narrative they have been trying to sell the courts is not a “ban” but rather a suspension to allow better vetting. So what does Trump do? As he does so often when shooting himself in the foot he puts his Twitter gun on full automatic and fires again. Simply put, he doubles down on it.
From just capitalized to all caps, and an exclamation mark. Can’t get more official than that!
His next tweet then insulted his lawyers and linked the second travel ban to the original while claiming the chaos producing and facially discriminatory original ban should have stood.
Let’s be clear about this. The DOJ did not submit any version of any “Travel Ban” (inappropriately using caps requires I put it in quotes). Trump did. The DOJ just defended the second travel ban Trump created. When Trump signed the second travel ban Trump expressly rescinded the original one. Trump’s exact words were “I am revoking Executive Order 13769 and replacing it with this order.” Trump owns that “watered down politically correct version” that he expressly used to replace the original. It is all him. His signature is at the bottom, not that of some underling in the DOJ.
In this tweet Trump throws his own attorneys at DOJ under the bus while attempting to deceive the American people. It is deplorable all around.
Trump then demands that the Supreme Court expedite his case and give him authority for a much tougher version.
Thus, Trump puts the justices in the awkward position of Trump interpreting a ruling in his favor as a license to go much further. Trump caps it off with this gem.
Those opposing his travel ban are going to really love this one. The justification for the travel ban was to allow for the establishment of “extreme vetting.” If extreme vetting is already happening then there is no justification for the travel ban.
In fact, the original travel ban was imposed on January 27th and the ban was only to be effective for 90 days. That was 129 days ago. Had the original ban been allowed it would have been lifted over a month ago. Whatever extreme vetting would have been implemented in the interim should certainly have happened by now, and Trump just told us it has. He just gutted his own security related justification for the travel ban. Without that justification, what is left other than the impermissible one of religious animus?
But the wave of self destructive tweets raise an even more dark and disturbing question. Does Trump really want to win his travel ban case? I suggest that his systematic sabotaging of his case may suggest a much more sinister motive. Trump wants to lose so he can blame the courts and his opponents for any future terrorist incident in the United States. He may well believe (rightly or wrongly) that this will create a toxic political environment that will allow him to consolidate more power. His criticism of the London Mayor in response to the crisis there suggests precisely this kind of motive.