Monday, February 06, 2017

Emperor Trump and his clothes

Trump tweets continued to express outrage and, with it, the same sort of contempt that Trump heaped last year on a judge of Mexican heritage who presided over a series of actions on Trump's dodgy university.

In quick succession, Trump wrote:

  • "The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!"
  •  "When a country is no longer able to say who can, and who cannot, come in & out, especially for reasons of safety & security – big trouble!"
  • "Interesting that certain Middle-Eastern countries agree with the ban. They know if certain people are allowed in its death & destruction!"

Together they are classic Trump. Apart from his contempt for the judge, he seemingly figures that the executive branch alone is the "country" and he offers no proof of his claim that countries in the Middle East support his migration crackdown.

Amidst a sea of numbers in various reports, it seems that the Robart decision has cleared the way for tens of thousands of refugees and other visa holders from the seven countries to enter the US – but the court ruling did not address the fate of 60,000 or more whose visas had been revoked in the crackdown.

Taken by the states of Washington and Minnesota, the Seattle court action claimed that Trump's order was "separating families, harming thousands of the States' residents, damaging the States' economies, hurting State-based companies, and undermining both States' sovereign interest in remaining a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees".

The White House countered: "The President's order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people."

But in trying to sell the order to sceptics, the administration has failed to address the order's most glaring shortcoming – in the 40 years to 2015, not a single American was killed on  US soil by citizens from any of the seven countries targeted, according to research by the conservative-leaning Cato Institute.

Trump claims to be motivated by the horrific September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, but the countries of which the 19 aircraft hijackers were citizens are not on the list – most came from Saudi Arabia and the rest from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon. Also absurdly absent are Pakistan, Turkey and Afghanistan.

In language that would infuriate the king … sorry, that should be President, Washington state Attorney-General Bob Ferguson told reporters from the steps of the Seattle court: "We are a nation of laws. Not even the President can violate the constitution. No one is above the law, not even the President.

"This decision shuts down the executive order immediately – shuts it down. That relief is immediate – happens right now. That's the bottom line."

Perhaps the real bottom line is this – the Supreme Court is likely to make the final decision on this business. And within the logic of Trump's tweets and the US Constitution, that does represent the country being able to say who can, and who cannot, come in.

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