Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Last Word

He's so butch!

I'm willing to accept this interpretation of the Trump-Axios interview:

Contrary to most media coverage, the “proposal to end birthright citizenship” is not a proposal at all, let alone a draft memo or executive order, but merely continued deliberation on the part of White House staff.

It wasn’t not a scoop – it was a setup. As you can see in the video, Trump was noncommittal on the actual proposal – “It’s in the process,” he said – but concluded by complimenting Axios’ reporter Jonathan Swan on knowing about it.

“I didn’t think anybody knew about that but me. I thought I was the only one. Jonathan. I’m impressed.”

“Good guess,” Swan said, tapping at his head.

Even though it presumes a level of competence and best practices that we have yet to see from the Trump White House.  Another article elsewhere pointed out the proposal would have to go through the DOJ and Homeland Security before it could be rendered as an executive order, which explains the stunning success of Trump's order separating children and parents at the border.  Not only was that a public relations debacle, it was clear the government had no idea what to do with the children or the parents, and was scrambling to do something because Trump demanded it.  There was not, in other words, any evidence of careful preparation, one more reason the whole policy collapsed in a shambles while the world watched.

Besides, further in the Axios interview (or earlier, I'm not checking that carefully), Trump said:

It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don't," Trump said, declaring he can do it by executive order.

When told that's very much in dispute, Trump replied: "You can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. But now they're saying I can do it just with an executive order."

"We're the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States ... with all of those benefits," Trump continued. "It's ridiculous. It's ridiculous. And it has to end." (More than 30 countries, most in the Western Hemisphere, provide birthright citizenship.)

"It's in the process. It'll happen ... with an executive order.

Cherry-picking parts of the interview doesn't really strengthen the argument this is purely a stunt.  Then again, this is Trump; he seldom knows what's really going on, and insists that what he wants is real, especially when it isn't.  All available evidence points to Trump being this dumb, not to Trump being as crazy as a fox.  On the other hand, it's not purely accidental:

Of course, the bluster is also sure to enrage people like Cezar Sayoc, Gregory Bush, and Robert Bowers, all of whom attempted or committed xenophobic mass-murder in the last seven days alone. The timing is appalling.

It does appeal to certain good people on both sides:

NBC News reported that Andrew Anglin of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website lauded the president for the proposed executive order that would, if enacted, bar the children of non-citizens from becoming citizens themselves if born on American soil.

“Master race president remains the master of races,” Anglin wrote.

On the other hand, maybe they aren't all quite as stupid as Trump:

NBC News noted that white supremacists online appeared to agree with liberals who consider the proposed executive order to be a political stunt meant to rally Trump’s base for the midterms.
In 2015,  Trump told Bill O'Reilly birthright citizenship could be changed with an act of Congress. Three years later he thinks he can do it himself. That's entirely in keeping with his ignorance and his hubris.  This was probably set up for Axios by the White House. That doesn't mean Trump doesn't mean it.

Still, following the massacre in a synagogue with language like this is grotesque.  The shooter explicitly targeted that synagogue because of its work with immigrants and refugees.  Now Trump is basically saying the killer's method was wrong, but his heart was in the right place.  Every time you think he can't sink lower, he finds a way.

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