Sunday, February 5, 2017

Take Responsibility!

On Sunday afternoon President Trump tweeted: "Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!" The Judge he's referring to, of course, is U.S. District Judge James Robart, who has temporarily blocked the Trump administration's poorly executed ban on travel into the U.S. from selected majority-Muslim countries.  A day earlier Trump, angry about the temporary halt, referred to Robart as a "so-called Judge," resulting in broad criticism for the President's lack of respect for the legal process.  Naturally, that criticism failed to stop him from further demonstrating his lack of understanding of the U.S. legal system works.

It is quite a reach to claim that a temporary halt to Trump's ban will "put our country in such peril." Extensive vetting of applicants for regular visas and for refugee status has already been in place for years. Judge Robart's order hardly flings open the door. It just removes some of the extra locks put on the door by Trump. The Judge's order simply will not result in "people pouring in."

More importantly, Trump and his administration are failing to take responsibility for the mess they created. If they don't take responsibility for their mistakes they're unlikely to get better at avoiding them in the future.

As a practical matter the President has broad powers to control immigration into the U.S. There is a good chance that Trump's ban, or at least large portions of it, will eventually be upheld by the courts. Had the administration implemented the ban with greater deference to the skilled and experienced people within the State Department there never would have been a legal challenge. Stranding people in airports, forcing people off of planes they're boarding, dashing research plans at universities and work plans in corporations, and failing to give airport and border security personnel the guidance they need, all produced the "irreparable harm" to which multiple judges have now responded. Trump and his gang of incompetents have only themselves to blame for the resulting law suits and any security breakdowns that result.

This lack of nuance, this basic lack of skill, seems already to have become an established habit of the new administration. Welcome to the Trumpocene!

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