How Not to Fight Trump

But what is different in this case, the Fourth Circuit judges argue, is that Trump’s campaign-trail rhetoric about Islam, his wild promise to keep all Muslims out “until we know what’s going on,” proves that this executive order is really motivated by a religious animus that conflicts with the First Amendment’s religious-freedom guarantee.

.. constitutional guarantees do not normally apply to foreign nationals. But allowing an immigration restriction motivated by religious animus, the opinion argues, would create a strong likelihood that some “constitutional harm will redound to citizens” as well. And this is enough, it concludes, to make an order that only directly affects foreigners a violation of every American Muslim’s First Amendment rights.

.. So it doesn’t matter that Trump has shifted his tone on Islam; it doesn’t matter that he spent the days before the ruling palling around with Saudis like a Bush Republican. Once a deplorable, always a deplorable

.. One of the things that Trump critics fear most is his possible response to a Manchester-type terrorist attack (or something even worse). But rather than providing a check on future anti-terror overreach, the Fourth Circuit’s overreaching opinion is likely to encourage it.

.. it’s easier to imagine the term applying, as it did in the days of Trump’s idol Andrew Jackson, to a direct clash between the White House and the courts.

.. Trump’s flaws of temperament and character make such a clash dangerously likely. But so does a judicial activism that cuts down normal legal precedent in order to go after him, and tries to pre-emptively strip away his powers without any warrant save self-righteousness.

The conservative mind has become diseased

But this failure of decency is also politically symbolic. Who is the politician who legitimized conspiracy thinking at the highest level? Who raised the possibility that Ted Cruz’s father might have been involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy? Who hinted that Hillary Clinton might have been involved in the deathof Vince Foster, or that unnamed liberals might have killed Justice Antonin Scalia? Who not only questioned President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, but raised the prospect of the murder of a Hawaiian state official in a coverup? “How amazing,” Trump tweeted in 2013, “the State Health Director who verified copies of Obama’s ‘birth certificate’ died in plane crash today. All others lived.”

We have a president charged with maintaining public health who asserts that the vaccination schedule is a dangerous scam of greedy doctors. We have a president charged with representing all Americans who has falsely accused thousands of Muslims of celebrating in the streets following the 9/11 attacks.

 .. In this mental environment, alleging a Rich-related conspiracy was predictable. This is a concrete example of the mainstreaming of destructive craziness.
Those conservatives who believe that the confirmation of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch is sufficient justification for the Trump presidency are ignoring Trump’s psychic and moral destruction of the conservative movement and the Republican Party.
.. He is shaping conservatism in his image and ensuring an eventual defeat more complete, and an eventual exile more prolonged, than Democrats could have dreamed.
.. The conservative mind, in some very visible cases, has become diseased. The movement has been seized by a kind of discrediting madness, in which conspiracy delusions figure prominently.
.. Conspiracy theories often involve a kind of dehumanization. Human tragedy is made secondary — something to be exploited rather than mourned. The narrative of conspiracy takes precedence over the meaning of a life and the suffering of a family. A human being is made into an ideological prop and used on someone else’s stage.
.. A conspiratorial approach to politics is fully consistent with other forms of dehumanization — of migrants, refugees and “the other” more generally. Men and women are reduced to types and presented as threats. They also become props in an ideological drama. They are presented as representatives of a plot involving invasion and infiltration, rather than being viewed as individuals seeking opportunity or fleeing oppression and violence.

Trump’s budget takes aim at illegal immigrants by limiting tax credits

Trump’s budget would limit eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit to recipients “who are authorized to work in the U.S.”

.. Together, changes to those two programs alone are estimated to save about $40 billion over a decade.

.. The program — commonly known as food stamps — would see a $193 billion cut under Trump’s proposal.

.. Mulvaney said the EITC and child credit would not be available to those without a Social Security number.

Watch Out World, Trump’s Coming

while visiting both Saudi Arabia and Israel is a welcome gesture, Richard Nixon tried the same thing in 1974, and nobody was distracted.

.. It’s true that during the campaign Trump suggested the Saudis were somehow involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, that they “push gays off buildings” and “kill women and treat women horribly.” On the other hand, he also told one rally that he got along “great with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.”

Whatever else you complain about, give the man credit for flexibility.

.. Peter Baker reported in The Times that as heads of state were preparing for the big trip, all of them were being primed to remember to bring up that Electoral College thing a lot.

.. Pope Francis, with whom Trump conducted a verbal war over wall-building. But that’s all over, and the president now clearly appreciates Francis as the great moral leader he is. (“I think he’s got a lot of personality.”)

.. When the meeting is over, the other people at the table often come away very pleased with themselves, unaware he has already forgotten everything they said.

.. The Vatican talk will probably be about refugees and immigration. It’s possible Francis will feel they had a real meeting of the minds. The president will recall that the pope is shorter than he is.

.. There definitely is something about him that makes people want to increase their defense budgets.

.. Trump has spent his entire political career warning Americans that “the world is laughing at us.” But now it really, really is. Europe is awash in stories about the two-to-four-minute limit on remarks during the NATO discussions.