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Trump Approvingly Plugs Blog That Called His Travel Ban ‘Incompetent Malevolence’

Still reeling from an appeals court ruling that keeps his travel ban on ice, President Donald Trump posted an early-morning Twitter message Friday deriding the decision as disgraceful.

Notably, the presidents tweet appears to make a statutory argument in favor of the ban premised on a law Department of Justice lawyers contend gives the nations chief executive near-unfettered authority to exclude from the country any non-citizen hed wish.

More notably, Trumps tweet cites the excellentLawfare blog,which on Thursday night published a postby its editor-in-chief guiding readers on what the appeals ruling against Trumps travel restrictions means.

Long story short: Trump almost certainly didnt read the post, in which its author, Benjamin Wittes, very clearly noted that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reached the correct decision plus his inescapable observation that the presidents executive order targeting Muslims was implemented with incompetent malevolence.

But Wittes point was broader: There are important statutory questions that the appeals panel didnt wrestle with namely, the tension between the ample authority Congress has given the president to oversee immigration policy, and the problem of arriving at a policy with malevolent, discriminatory intent.

The Constitution, as the 9th Circuit suggested, disallows that.

But theres another point to the ruling and the Lawfare post: The ruling is indeed quite narrow, focusing on whether the travel ban should remain blocked for now, while the merits of its legality are fought out in lower courts.

So why did Trump ignore all of that and cherry-pick Lawfares line that the 9th Circuit didnt bother to address the statute? The Huffington Posts social media maven, Ethan Klapper, may have figured it out:

Trump apparently saw that line quoted on MSNBCs Morning Joe and then tweeted a version of it confirming reports that the president, even in the White House, maintains a healthy cable news diet, which he then shares with his tens of millions of Twitter followers.

Wittes, for his part, is elated that Trump has drawn attention to Lawfares work, and has gone on a Twitter campaign of his own to promote other essays he has written that are highly critical of the travel ban and Trumps presidency.

So thanks, Mr. President, for endorsing my work, Wittes tweeted Friday. Youve found the only sentence in it congenial to your views.

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