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The Incredible Shrinking Presidency: The More Trump Speaks, the Weaker He Gets

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The more President Donald Trump articulates his dangerous, extreme and dystopian view of America, the weaker he gets as a president. Yesterday, two different federal judges ruled against the Trump Administration’s second attempt at a Muslim and refugee ban, citing that the public statements of candidate and President Trump and his advisers made clear the unconstitutional nature of their religious bigotry.

Said Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice Education Fund:

The American system of checks and balances has kicked in, once again, to keep Trump from completely destroying our country. Not even Trump’s long history of insulting and denigrating the courts can get in the way of our Constitution’s separation of powers working as designed.

To watch this president is to witness the incredible shrinking Presidency. Yesterday Trump’s rhetoric ran – once again – into the reality of our judicial system holding him accountable for his actions and words. Instead of showing leadership, his comments in Nashville last night just served to make him look petty and weak. Trump’s narcissism is the hallmark of his presidency, and his behavior in the face of multiple early losses has only broadcasted his extreme weakness as a leader.

Judges: Trump’s order is clearly a Muslim ban

Ironically, the President’s and his advisors’ own public statements have actively undermined their prospects in court. As the New York Times summarized: Judge Derrick K. Watson, a federal judge in Hawaii, yesterday “rejected the government’s argument that a court would have to investigate Mr. Trump’s ‘veiled psyche’ to deduce religious animus. He quoted extensively from the remarks by Mr. Trump that were cited in the lawsuit brought by Hawaii’s attorney general, Doug Chin. ‘For instance, there is nothing ‘veiled’ about this press release,’ Judge Watson wrote, quoting a Trump campaign document titled ‘Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.’”

Meanwhile, the ruling from U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang in Maryland federal court made the same point, with Judge Chuang writing, “The history of public statements continues to provide a convincing case that the purpose of the Second Executive Order remains the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban.”

Trump again weakens his own case

Reacting to the judicial setbacks at a rally last night in Nashville, President Trump again weakened his legal case by railing against the ruling and riffing on his true intentions: “Let me tell you something. I think we ought to go back to the first one and go all the way,” he said, referring to a potential Supreme Court challenge. Trump then stated, “The danger is clear, the law is clear, the need for my executive order is clear” (actually, the danger and need are not clear, according to national security experts and even DHS’s own analysis, and the law seems to be clearly not on your side either, Mr. President, given that court after court keeps ruling against you).

Trump’s advisors also keep emphasizing the true rationale of the ban and weakening the legal position of the Trump Administration in the process. For example, White House adviser Stephen Miller said in February regarding the revised Muslim ban, “[T]hese are mostly minor, technical differences. Fundamentally, you are still going to have the same, basic policy outcome for the country.”

Added Tramonte, “Trump is a weak and unpopular president pushing radical and unpopular ideas, surrounded by a contingent of extreme, unqualified advisers. The losses for this shrinking presidency are piling up and for very good reason.”