Editorial: Trump's words matter
Donald Trump's bigoted campaign rhetoric has now come back to bite him in the butt - as two federal judges looked at his latest travel ban order and saw in it a violation of the First Amendment's religious protections.
Judge Derrick K. Watson, hearing the case in Honolulu, found the order was "issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously neutral purpose."
When the White House argued that the judge would have to examine Trump's "veiled psyche" to determine any religious animus, Watson had only to point to a campaign document "calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States."
In Greenbelt, Md., U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang reached the same conclusion yesterday for much the same reason, calling Trump's own statements "highly relevant."
Despite some changes, including the elimination of Iraqis from the list of banned travelers and removing a waiver for Christian refugees, "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," Chuang wrote.
The order remains on hold.
The president reacted with his usual bluster at a rally Wednesday night in Tennessee, calling the Hawaii ruling "political," berating the 9th Circuit generally and adding, "This ruling makes us look weak, which, by the way, we no longer are, believe me."
Memo to President Trump: That's the sort of thing a despot unaccustomed to abiding by the rule of law would say.
What the president needs to do is get back to first principles. What he promoted as a "temporary ban" was supposed to simply buy time for U.S. officials to come up with a better plan for vetting all immigrants and refugees to truly keep America safer from terrorism. Nearly two months into this administration you'd think there would be something on the drawing boards other than the blunt instrument of the much-disputed "ban."