The President’s team had months to prepare this signature immigration initiative. And they produced…an amateurish, politically self-immolating effort that humiliated the country, provoked international retaliation, and failed to withstand theÂ obvious federal court challenge on its very first day.
Given the despicable nature of this effort, I’m happy it has become a political fiasco. It also makes me wonder how the Trump administration will executeÂ the basic functions of government. This astonishing failure reflects our new President’s contempt for the basic craft of government.
Author: Harold Pollack
Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect, tnr.com, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.
View all posts by Harold Pollack
19 thoughts on “The Muslim ban fiasco….”
At least Hitler bothered to pass the Enabling Act before he tried to dictate any orders. Not even Stalin could rule without Beria and his bureaucracy. A certain someone needs to read up on dictators and how they operated if he is to get anything actually done.
One of the millions banned from entering the USA is a British Tory MP, Nadhim Zahawi, who happens to have been born in Iraq and has adult children studying in the USA. Theresa May (not, pace the White House press office, Teresa May, a British porn star) handed Trump an invitation to London for a state visit. This has provoked a political backlash, and the visit would almost certainly be met with large and vociferous protests from Londoners. The Mayor of London. Sadiq Khan, is Muslim and will do nothing to stop them. Does Trump really want to be booed through the streets? Elizabeth II may put her foot down. I suspect the invitation will now meet insurmountable scheduling difficulties.
This may look a trivial part of the damage done by Trump and Bannon's oprichnina governance. But perhaps it's not trivial. Trump's overweening vanity and insecurity makes him crave occasions for reassurance of his unearned power and fragile dominance. Having a state dinner with the Queen is valuable to him, and its withdrawal wounding.
The same goes for other state visits. Other governments are noting May's problems and rethinking any plans for invitations. Is anybody keeping track of those sent to Trump, compared to Obama in 2009? My prediction is that Trump will be treated generally like Yitzhak Shamir in London: invited to talks in Downing Street, but not Buckingham Palace.
The petition to Parliament calling for the invitation to be withdrawn currently stands at 350,000 signatures. I think it was launched today.
One petition – posted months ago, and calling for a general ban on Trump's visiting the UK – has now been closed, with 586,930 signatures. There is now a new one up, specifically on the state visit. Current total 451,021, but it changes by the second. Oops. 452,138. Oops again, 458,422. Update 30 January, a day later: 1,442,660 and still spinning. May is in trouble here. That’s 2.2% of the UK population.
The current one goes on about avoiding embarrassing the Queen. It occurs to me that she might have dropped a hint. (460,000)
The wording is skilful. "Embarrassing the Queen" is just an empty formula. But a specific complaint could be solved by a tactical concession; Mr Zahawi is now un-banned. May can't IIRC say "But the Queen would be delighted to meet Mr Trump"; E-II-R is entitled to her own private opinions, just as Trump cannot ask for a photo-op with the telegenic Prince George.
Sir Humphrey has now weighed in, in the persona of Lord Ricketts, former PUS (chief civil civil servant) at the Foreign Office, and through the quaintly traditional method of a letter to The Times. The invitation is "premature" and against precedent in the first year of a US Presidency. The Queen will I guess have dental appointments on the dates suggested by the White House.
Poor, poor Zahawi. https://twitter.com/JonathanRomelle/status/825674…
Trumpspeak to humanspeak translator: "Take us seriously, not literally" means "Shut Up" [while the trumpspeaker thinks, with a sly grin seeping through, "It's going to be worse than you can imagine."] "Alternative facts" means "Shut Up" [while the trumpspeaker thinks, with a sly grin distorting his/her face, "You're the enemy. You'll never get a straight answer out of me."] "I'm like, a smart person" means "Shut Up." "People are saying" accompanied by a word salad of innuendo, insinuation and nonsense means "Shut Up."
The Prime Minister of Ireland is usually guaranteed an hour's "face time" (often more) with the US President on St Patrick's Day. Trump has extended the invitation, it has been accepted, but the pressure is on here for the PM Enda Kenny to cancel. I do not think he will, but this imbroglio now means the meeting will be a bit fraught, "… more than just exchanging shamrocks and good wishes …" as one Gov minister put it on TV today.
Incidentally, the UK petition numbers mean that it must be debated by the House of Commons.
BTW, there was a story in the London "Sunday Times" today that Trump's minions were trying to cut Prince Charles off from meeting the President, in case he had the temerity to lecture The Great Man on climate change. In which case, it was said, "Trump would explode".
Go for it, Charlie!
Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas. Therefore, we do want Trump to explode. There might be a way to capture the methane if Trump slouches off this mortal coil, in which case, as the saying goes, they could bury him in a shoebox. (I'm hoping for a best case scenario where the shoebox isn't hung from a lamppost in lieu of proper burial.)
America has a provisional government, whose membership rotates every four years or so, and a permanent government, whose membership remains stable for decades. This is pretty much a shopworn cliché but there are some observations to be made.
It appears this morning that the heads of the new provisional government (Trump, Steve Bannon) are trying to bypass the permanent government (Pentagon, CIA), and expects the permanent government to take it all lying down. Even "normal" heads of the provisional government (like Obama) rarely gain much traction against the permanent government. And that is when they do not insult them, cut them out of the loop, and otherwise slap them metaphorically in the face.
This morning Robert Gates, former CIA director and Defense Secretary, who has served under eight presidents, said that it was a "big mistake" to cut the Director of National Intelligence and the Joint Chiefs out of the National Security loop.
We shall soon see whether the permanent government lets this happen without pushback. "Big mistake" sounds like code for something. Not exactly a horse's head in the bed, but a warning. He who hath ears, let him hear.
It is also revealing that Gates was mild and cautious in expressing his reservations about the immigration policies that hurt people and families. But in expressing his disapprobation of the provisional head of state messing with the prerogatives of the permanent state, he was unequivocal.
The permanent government is not amused. Not one bit.
Comments are closed.