Does Trump know that executive orders are legal documents and not corporate memos?
Kevin Drum has an interesting post, from which I take just a part:
Yesterday President Trump made good on his campaign promise to halt immigration of Muslims into the United States “until we know what’s going on.” An explicit ban on Muslims would be illegal, of course, even considering the president’s broad authority over immigration, so instead he picked seven Muslim countries and banned their citizens from entering the US for 90 days—by which time, presumably, Trump will have figured out what’s going on. He also banned refugees from everywhere for 120 days. The result has been rampant chaos and pointless suffering.
A friend writes: “I’m amazed at how badly Trump, et al. have been handling the executive orders they’ve been churning out. Don’t they know the orders are legal documents, not corporate memos?” That’s a good question. As near as I can tell, Trump is treating his executive orders the same way he treats his tweets: they’re designed as communiques to his fans, and that’s about it. The actual consequences hardly matter.
I think Drum’s right: President Trump thinks of executive orders as super-tweets: they get more press, they send a stronger message, and they bring lots of attention to him, who needs it more and more.
Doesn’t it seem we’re heading for a meltdown? The volume of tweets and executive orders and feuds and all: it’s at a manic level, and it seems to be picking up. And of course the skids are greased by the spinelessness and lack of principle personified by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, but seen throughout the GOP Congress. The Senate has some who show principled opposition: John McCain and Lindsay Graham. Maybe others will appear, but they’re certainly biding their time.
Things are going to come to a head pretty soon. The stories of the human cost of President Trump’s hasty implementation of an executive order—no notice whatsoever, so everything has to be made up as you go along, and illegal to boot (thus the Federal judge granting the emergency stay). This is striking. And it does sound as though he thinks the executive orders are just tweets, or else that they will operate in a frictionless world in which regulations can be changed overnight, with no preparation or working out and resolving problem situations before they occur.
This is gaslighting. By god it is.
Later in Drum’s column:
What else can you make of this latest bumbling fiasco? Consider:
Not a single Muslim extremist from any of the seven designated countries has ever committed an act of terrorism on American soil.
But residents of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, and other US “allies” are exempt, even though their citizens have committed acts of terrorism here. By coincidence, these are also countries where Trump has commercial interests.
The executive order mis-cites the relevant immigration statute. Ed Whelan wonders if this means the Office of Legal Counsel is out of the loop:
If this error signals that White House is bypassing ordinary OLC review of EOs, that would be bad news. Important to get EOs right. https://t.co/iObtMa1QjK
— Ed Whelan (@EdWhelanEPPC) January 28, 2017
The refugee ban is heartbreaking, especially for folks who have sold everything and were literally in the airport waiting to board a plane when they were turned back. But the order also applies to green card holders. These are legal residents. If they were overseas at the time the ban went into effect, they can’t return home.
There’s no excuse for this. The EO could have exempted green card holders. At the very least, it could have gone into effect for them after a warning period. But nobody in the White House gave a damn. So now our airports are jammed with legal residents who are trying to return home to their families but are being denied entry.
The Secretaries of State and Homeland Security are allowed to issue exemptions on a case-by-case basis. Does this mean either of them can, or that both have to sign off? Because there is no Secretary of State right now.
Republicans are mostly too callous, or too craven, to speak up about this debacle. I don’t need to bother checking to see what Breitbart and Ann Coulter think. I’m sure they’re thrilled. But even mainstream conservatives are largely unwilling to speak up about this. The Wall Street Journal editorial page has been unable to rouse itself so far to express an opinion. Ditto for the Weekly Standard. I thought the same was true of National Review, but no: they roused themselves to mostly approve of what Trump is doing. Paul Ryan, who once thought this kind of thing was terrible, is also on board. So is Mitch McConnell. And Mike Lee. And most of the rest of the GOP caucus. This is how we got Trump in the first place. Is it really worth it just for another tax cut?
So now airports are jammed with stranded travelers. People who have lived in the US for years are unable to return to their homes. Nobody knows if any exceptions will be forthcoming from our Secretaries of State or Homeland Security. It’s chaos everywhere.
And for no reason. . .
But read the whole thing.