Trump's unhinged tweeting got him elected, and it's costing him in court, bigly

Trump went full berzerker last night after a judge in Hawaii shut down his new Muslim ban before it could go into effect, but he's only got himself to blame.

The judge ruled primarily on the basis of public statements that Trump and his surrogates made during the campaign and afterward, in which they promised to enact an immigration policy that would ban Muslims from entering the USA, a religious test that plainly violates the First Amendment.

The Trump administration lost the first round of court battles over the ban, and went back to the drawing board to create a new ban that they hoped could credibly pass Constitutional muster, but the judge, on examining Trump's own statements, concluded that this was just a figleaf intended to cover up the same religious test.

Trump dismayed millions of Americans by making a series of unhinged, authoritarian, unconstitutional statements from the podium and on Twitter during the election campaign -- and emboldened millions of his most hateful supporters, carrying him to election victory. But these same statements may be his downfall, because they hand a powerful weapon to Trump's opponents: irrefutable evidence of the intent behind his policies. Since proving the government's intent is often key to convincing a judge to block its initiatives, the trove of Trumpian bloviating may be his undoing.

“There is nothing ‘veiled’ about this press release: ‘Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,'” Judge Watson’s opinion reads, quoting from the Trump campaign’s own website.

The opinion, which issues a nationwide temporary restraining order on the new ban, is littered with Trump’s own words, the words of his staffers (including author of the first ban Stephen Miller), and even a presidential tweet. All of it amounts to a virtual paper trail showing how the Trump team has stigmatized Muslims and repeatedly promised to limit their immigration to the United States. Trump acolytes like Peter Thiel often caution the press to take the president seriously, not literally. But in a court of law, taking the president’s words literally is kind of the point—even if those words are on Twitter.

Blocked Immigration Ban Proves Trump’s Tweets Will Haunt His Presidency [Issie Lapowsky/Wired]

(Image: Nicholas Longtin)

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  1. Reading about this on the Guardian this morning, I got the "What If" anxieties about this outcome of the case. I kept thinking, "what if he hadn't been so unhinged? Would there not have been a basis to challenge something like this? Really?" but then I realized that Trump is doing this all for show, all for ratings, so he couldn't, or wouldn't have ever not blabbed about it. Because the true purpose was rabble rousing, and you can't rouse rabble without big talk.

    If all you want to do is treat Muslims as second class citizens for "security reasons" without causing (as big of) a fuss, you go the Obama route of secret surveillance, quiet deportation orders and "surgical" strikes. That isn't to say that I don't think Trump is truly worse. If one (cynically) sees the treatment of Muslims in America as somewhat inevitably abusive, a roused rabble egged on by a madman is more dangerous than a cruel but smooth operator. Though there is that quotation (someone help me here, my google-fu fails me) about a democracy given permission to go to war by it's people being more dangerous than a totalitarian state...

  2. Don't report on what I said, report on what I wanted you to think I meant. Sad! Crooked! Failing!

  3. Advisor: "Mr. President, you need to be more circumspect in your remarks."
    POTUS: "I didn't say anything about foreskins."

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