President Trump came out swinging on Monday morning after several “clever” news writers pointed out that the president had accidentally undermined his own case by saying a couple of days earlier that the travel ban was, in fact, a travel ban. Trump made it clear on Monday that he had made no accident.
“People, the lawyers, and the courts can call it whatever they want,” Trump tweeted, “but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!”
The executive order is currently on its way to a Supreme Court emergency review after being blocked by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Government lawyers have been arguing that the ban isn’t a ban, but merely a temporary measure meant to give the feds time to put an “extreme vetting” system in place. In his tweetstorm on Monday, Trump also expressed his disgust over the new executive order, which replaced one that had been struck down earlier in the year.
“The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.,” he wrote. “The Justice Dept. should ask for an expedited hearing of the watered down Travel Ban before the Supreme Court – & seek much tougher version! 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!”
Of course, there’s a difference between rousing rhetoric on Twitter and the kind of careful, measured discussion that can grease the legal wheels. As Trump well knows, the courts are taking his public comments into consideration when making these rulings. In fact, if it weren’t for his proposition of a halt to Muslim immigration on the campaign trail, it’s hard to imagine how either the Ninth or the Fourth Circuit Courts could have justified their rulings. Well, it’s hard to imagine anyway, but that really would have left them with no leg to stand on.
Will Trump’s comments hurt the Justice Department’s case before the Supreme Court? Unfortunately, the answer is probably yes. As we’ve seen in recent years, the high court is as susceptible to political trends as any other branch of the judiciary, and the Justices no doubt will resent the president’s accusation that the courts are “slow and political.” The truth, after all, really hurts.