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 the 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 execute the basic functions of government. This astonishing failure reflects our new President’s contempt for the basic craft of government.
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.
Incidentally, the UK petition numbers mean that it must be debated by the House of Commons.
Go for it, Charlie!
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.