Trump's Tweets, Not Muslims, Should Be Subject To 'Extreme Vetting'

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
Screenshot: The Simpsons

President Donald Trump is firing off tweets again.

Many, including the husband of Kellyanne Conway, have been quick to criticize the tweets, implying that el presidente is tweeting out of his [expletive] again and that his tweets are causing harm to his impending case before the United States Supreme Court.

According to his tweets this morning, Donald Trump is doubling down on his travel ban in the wake of the London attacks:

A world leader needs to show tact in all public communications

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: A leader of a nation needs to think tactfully and carefully about everything that he or she says. A leader’s comment set the tone for the country, both internally and on a global stage. Bad public statements could have many repercussions, including foreign relations, a weakening of the United States’ position, and difficulty in passing internal laws.

Trump’s tweets hurt his case before SCOTUS

Trump’s use of the word “travel ban” and the fact that he tweeted his intent to dupe the Supreme Court will not bode well in his favor.

A background on the travel ban

Earlier this year, the Trump administration rolled out a “travel ban” via an executive order. For those unfamiliar with what an executive order is, it’s essentially a law that the president signs into effect, without going through the Houses. Of course, it doesn’t exempt the president from the Constitution.

The original travel ban said that people who came from any of seven nations would not be allowed in to the United States for a period of 90 days. These banned countries were the majority Muslim nations of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen.

Several federal courts struck down the original executive order, saying that it was essentially a “Muslim ban.” Under the Constitution, a law that singles out a particular religion is problematic. The Trump administration argued that it was not a “Muslim ban,” but rather, “extreme vetting” of those entering the country.

In response, the Trump administration rolled out a second executive order, which removed some of the potentially problematic issues from the original one.

That, too, was struck down by federal courts for many of the same reasons.

Last week, the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to review the cases.

Why Trump’s choice of words could hurt his case

Words have power. In court, they can also be used effectively against someone, to show (or camouflage) their true intent.

One of the key points will be whether the executive order is drafted narrowly enough to protect a national interest (in this case, national security) without trampling on the religious rights of others. Much of this decision could hinge on the true intent of the Trump administration— are they looking to carefully protect national interests or are they looking to push a discriminatory law?

Furthermore, by indicating that he saw the second ban as a “watered down” version, Trump is showing his intent to impose a harsher version of the order if the Supreme Court strikes down the lower court rulings.

In the past, courts have used Trump’s own rhetoric to show his true intent.

Here’s the big problem— “extreme vetting” is a phrase that shows careful thought on an existing national security practice. An all out “travel ban” is extreme and shows a broadly swooping law, which doesn’t carve out proper constitutional exceptions.

Even Sean Spicer was quick to correct the public when they used the word “travel ban” in the past, making sure that the press covered it as something less extreme.

Many have been quick to criticize Trump’s tweets, including George Conway, the husband of Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.

Trump’s internal steam of consciousness shows the world his Achilles heel

A president who fires off tweets without thinking is sending the world a message— that he acts impulsively and that he is a live wire. This exposes his true vulnerabilities to the more tactful and calculated world leaders, who can easily look to exploit the weakness of their tweeting counterpart.

Furthermore, in the wake of a global crisis, the president’s communications should be focused on support and sympathy, not on angry attacks against his own judiciary.

Or attacks against the mayor of the besieged city, which he did on Twitter this weekend as well, when attacking London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan.

Again, his tweets show the Supreme Court what his next moves may be, should they allow his executive order. No president or leader should announce their next moves so transparently. Even a child chess player could tell you that.

But as we’ve seen over and over again, there is really no vetting or oversight on what comes out of the president’s mouth (or on social media, for that matter). This lack of control over the president is problematic. It puts his own policies at risk and it puts the country’s national security at risk.

At this point, the nation shouldn’t be examining the idea of extreme vetting of immigrants. For the sake of national security, we need extreme vetting of the president’s tweets.

Popular in the Community