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Calling Trump’s Twitter a “Distraction” Is Letting Him off the Hook Too Easily

Donald Trump

Over the weekend, Donald Trump got all up in arms about his Muslim Ban again due to attacks in London. His initial response to the tragic events was predictably awful, self-serving, and misleading, but this morning, he’s fallen back into other old patterns: making brash public statements that undermine the very things he’s trying to accomplish.

Late last week, the Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court of the United States to allow the ban to go into effect immediately, while waiting to hear arguments on its possible legality in the fall. That’s not fast enough for Trump, though, who instead took to his instant gratification machine this morning to fire off more off-the-cuff words on a subject where his past statements have already come back to haunt him in a legal capacity—you know, strategic multi-dimensional chess stuff.

He also, just as predictably, directly contradicted a past defense of the ban, which had Sean Spicer insisting that it was not, in fact, a ban:

But beyond making Sean Spicer weep into his Corn Flakes on yet another morning, that floats dangerously close to vindicating the reason the ban has been shot down in court already—not nearly as close as this tweet, though:

So here he is, admitting that this really is just a “politically correct” version of his administration’s first attempt at the ban, which was, itself, just an attempt at turning his anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric into legally defensible policy—despite how that clear intent has been the basis for its legal downfall so far. For some reason, he still believes he can publicly say different things to different groups of people and expect not to be held accountable.

Maybe that’s because some people still try to ignore his Twitter feed as though it’s not a stream of public statements from the president. It’s not a coincidence that his own staff and fellow Republicans try to brush off his tweets with a derisive tone. They can’t stop him from tweeting, so they’re hoping they can use a perception that social media is frivolous to convince people to sweep his self-inflicted wounds under the rug. They’re happy for him to have the enormous megaphone social media provides while simultaneously using it as a shield from scrutiny, and ignoring his tweets as a “distraction” enables that.

Or maybe it’s because, more simply, he already has largely gotten away with being this brazenly duplicitous. Voters were apparently willing to let him get away with it, since this is far from new behavior on his part, but at least we can hope that the Supreme Court won’t. If that fails, we’ll have to deal with an even more upsetting explanation for why he acts as though he’s above accountability: he is.

(image: Shutterstock/a katz)

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