After the horrific London terror attacks Sunday that took the lives of seven innocents and wounded nearly 50 more, President Trump took to Twitter to condemn political correctness, suggest that the mayor of London is in over his head, and chatting about the uselessness of gun control. All of that was ill-advised in terms of timing and style, but much of it was at least correct in terms of content.
Then President Trump watched Morning Joe.
Here’s Trump this morning on Twitter:
People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2017
The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2017
The Justice Dept. should ask for an expedited hearing of the watered down Travel Ban before the Supreme Court - & seek much tougher version!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2017
In any event we are EXTREME VETTING people coming into the U.S. in order to help keep our country safe. The courts are slow and political!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2017
Then he flipped over to Fox and Friends and tweeted for good measure:
.@foxandfriends Dems are taking forever to approve my people, including Ambassadors. They are nothing but OBSTRUCTIONISTS! Want approvals.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2017
At some point, the president’s intent doesn’t matter as much as his level of competence. Right now, his second travel ban executive order is sitting before the Supreme Court. The empty rationale used by the leftist courts to strike it down was this: that Trump didn’t actually want to ban travel from terror-rich countries, but that he was imposing a de facto Muslim ban, thanks to the illegal first executive order, which they said was based on that premise and then imitated in the second travel ban.
So Trump immediately takes to Twitter to reinforce that rationale?!
And rips his own press secretary, Sean Spicer, who refused to call the travel ban a travel ban, in the process?!
And rips his own Department of Justice – remember, Attorney General Sessions works for him – in the process?!
And blames the DOJ for the second executive order, when he signed that order?!
And links his “extreme vetting” – which we need! – with an executive order on the verge of being struck down, providing the legal groundwork for the ACLU and company to challenge the vetting process as a backdoor enforcement of a travel ban they argue was a backdoor Muslim ban?!
And blames the Senate for not moving on his nominees, even though he’s left 90 percent of vacancies without nominees?!
I agree with Trump that we need better vetting. I also agree with Trump that the courts are ridiculous for striking down the second travel ban. But it is his job to effectuate policy, not to act as a commentator on Morning Joe. Mistaking the latter for the former means that policy won’t get done, but Trump will get to comment on it.
So either Trump is being dumb, or he wants the executive order struck down so he can complain to his base about it. Either way, the policies we need won’t be put into action. And that’s a competence problem, not a principle one.