"The key to restoring the rule of law is to blunt Trump's aggression and put him on the defensive," says Bob Ferguson, an internationally rated chess master and the attorney general for Washington State. He says Trump's opening move as president -- a Muslim ban -- was like the King's Gambit, "the most aggressive opening in chess." It's a poor choice in chess and politics, and Trump has been playing defensively ever since.
First, we studied Trump's moves and prepared. During his campaign, Trump said he wanted to create "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." His adviser Rudy Giuliani explained to Fox News, "When he first announced it, he said, 'Muslim ban.' He called me up. He said, 'Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.'" Like White sacrificing a pawn on the second move, the President telegraphed his intent to act aggressively. Once Trump told the nation he wanted the travel ban, we marshaled our resources and prepared arguments for the move we knew was coming.
Second, we did not accept Trump's playing field as he presented it. We blunted his action by moving the field of battle to the courtroom. In that setting, Trump was on the defensive. After all, it isn't the loudest voice that prevails before a federal judge--it's the Constitution.
Third, we capitalized on the weaknesses created by Trump's early moves. For example, Trump's team did little, if any, vetting of the travel ban. They failed to ask their own executive agencies to review the Executive Order. In short, it was sloppy.
Image used for collage: Michael Vadon