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“What’s Going On?”

January 30, 2017

While I blogged almost 2  weeks ago about the possibilities of some positive changes in America’s economic policies under a Trump Administration, I am not exactly encouraged with the way Trump has conducted policy in just his first eleven days. These missteps make me very worried as to how he will conduct policy going forward. The most egregious example is the recent executive order which suspended entry from 7 Middle Eastern countries for 90 days and for Syrian refugees indefinitely. The Wall Street Journal had an excellent editorial this morning which condemned the order.  See http://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-refugee-bonfire-1485735021. I highly recommend that you read it as I could not have said it any better:

“President Trump seems determined to conduct a shock and awe campaign to fulfill his campaign promises as quickly as possible, while dealing with the consequences later. This may work for a pipeline approval, but the bonfire over his executive order on refugees shows that government by deliberate disruption can blow up in damaging ways.

Mr. Trump campaigned on a promise of “extreme vetting” for refugees from countries with a history of terrorism, and his focus on protecting Americans has popular support. But his refugee ban is so blunderbuss and broad, and so poorly explained and prepared for, that it has produced confusion and fear at airports, an immediate legal defeat, and political fury at home and abroad. Governing is more complicated than a campaign rally.”

The editorial goes on to point out that the order was rolled out late Friday with “barely an explanation to the public” or “apparently even for border agents or customs officials”. This included the green card screwup which led to green card holders “already with permanent legal residence” being detained for many hours at airports until the Administration finally clarified that they weren’t included in the order on Sunday morning. But more disturbing was the nature of the ban which though it was not a “Muslim ban” per se, did focus on 7 Muslim-majority nations and almost assured that it would be viewed in that light. The WSJ editorial notes:

“The U.S. is in a long war with jihadists that is as much ideological as military. The U.S. needs Muslim allies, while the jihadists want to portray America as the enemy of all Muslims. Overly broad orders send the wrong signal to millions of Muslims who aren’t jihadists but who might be vulnerable to recruitment if they conclude the U.S. is at war with Islam, rather than with Islamist radicals.”

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In my view, the Trump Administration should immediately replace the current executive order with an order that require a review and improvements of current vetting and screening processes over the next 90 days.  In the meantime, he should lift the entry bans and recognize that we already have a number of protections in place which won’t allow known terrorists or terrorist supporters from entering the U.S. unfettered. I am fairly convinced that we already have a pretty lengthy vetting process for Syrian refugees in place as well (see recent 60 Minutes story) but the 90 day review could also include improving our current vetting processes for Syrian refugees. These reviews would allow the Trump to fulfill his campaign promise but at the same time remove his “blunderbuss” executive order and perhaps salvage some respect from Muslim countries and the international community.

Having said this, I would be shocked if Trump does this. Historically, many Presidents have trouble admitting they have made a mistake, but someone as stubborn as Trump admitting he is wrong has, historically at least, been an impossibility.

Lets hope at least that Trump learns his lesson as he tackles other issues such as international trade, foreign affairs and the economy. Sharp elbows may be good in basketball pick-up games (or campaigns) when no one is calling the fouls, but not so good otherwise.

 

 

From → Public Policy

4 Comments
  1. Robert Carey permalink

    The mistake you are making here is that all of these actions are deliberate, and they are coming from Bannon, not Trump. They are not mistakes (from the adminstration’s perspective). There is no problem with the current vetting process. These are deliberately racist and xenophobic actions. He has to be impeached.

  2. Robert Alan Carey permalink

    The 90 day policy has already killed one elderly woman.

    • Robert Carey permalink

      And an 8 year old American girl.

  3. Robert Carey permalink

    Hmm. It won’t let me edit previous comment. The policy wasn’t responsible for the 8 year old’s death, but Trump was.

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