U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a visit to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Langley, Virginia U.S. January 21, 2017. REUTERS...
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Does Donald Trump understand his own executive orders?

Donald Trump is clearly aware of the controversy surrounding his Muslim ban – the president watches a lot of television – and this morning he responded to the international outrage with his favorite form of communication: a series of poorly written tweets.

Most of his multi-part message rambled, and included many of the signature elements that make up nearly all of Trump’s online missives: needlessly capitalized words, an overreliance on exclamation points, misused ellipses, etc. But there was one tweet that stood out as significant for substantive reasons:
“If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the ‘bad’ would rush into our country during that week. A lot of bad ‘dudes’ out there!”
For now, let’s put aside the fact that Trump doesn’t seem to understand how quotation marks work. Let’s instead focus on the president’s apparent confusion about his own policy.

At face value, Trump seems to be saying he had no choice but to unveil his Muslim ban without advance notice, keeping it secret from Congress and even his own cabinet agencies: letting the public know this policy was coming would’ve encouraged dangerous foreigners to rush into the country before the directive took effect.

And while that may sound coherent, it’s not. For one thing, Trump announced his Muslim ban last year, and by the president’s own reasoning, those who intended to do us harm could’ve tried to reach American soil after his election in early November.

But looking past this, the more important problem with the argument is that applying for a new visa takes a lot more than a week and seeking entry into the United States as a refugee takes a lot more than a year. Indeed, the screening for refugees includes a 20-point vetting process that, by some measures, can take up 24 months.

So here’s the question for the White House: is there any evidence to suggest the president understands the basics of his own policy? Or did some of his political aides clumsily throw together an executive order that Trump signed without reading it?