U.S. President Donald Trump signs a revised executive order for a U.S. travel ban on Monday, leaving Iraq off the list of targeted countries, at the Pentagon...
CARLOS BARRIA

As Muslim ban flops again, Team Trump is its own worst enemy

Updated
Even if no one at the White House has ever been charged with a crime, members of Team Trump are probably familiar with the opening phrases of the Miranda warning: “You have the right to remain silent… Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.” When it comes to Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, it’s advice the president and his aides should try to keep in mind.

The Rachel Maddow Show, 3/15/17, 9:08 PM ET

Trump fails again with Muslim ban in court

Neal Katyal, lead attorney for the state of Hawaii’s challenge to Donald Trump’s new travel ban, talks with Rachel Maddow about the temporary restraining order a federal court has placed on the ban, preventing its implementation.
The original version of the administration’s Muslim ban failed in the courts, with judges quoting Trump and his cohorts to prove that the policy was discriminatory. Last night, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, a federal judge in Hawaii, blocked implementation of the Muslim Ban 2.0, by again citing remarks from the president and his allies.
“A reasonable, objective observer — enlightened by the specific historical context, contemporaneous public statements, and specific sequence of events leading to its issuance — would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion,” Watson wrote.

Chin said the public statements by Trump and his associates were crucial to the decision.
Indeed, the degree to which the White House was its own worst enemy is amazing. The ruling specifically notes, “A review of the historical background here makes plain why the Government wishes to focus on the Executive Order’s text, rather than its context. The record before this Court is unique. It includes significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus driving the promulgation of the Executive Order and its related predecessor.”

The ruling then points to a series of public remarks from Donald Trump himself, in which he unambiguously explains the discriminatory intent of his own policy. In an unintentionally amusing twist, the court also quoted White House Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller, telling a national television audience that the second executive order on this will “have the same basic policy outcome” as the first.

In other words, according to the White House, the first Muslim ban failed in the courts, so officials made superficial changes without altering the ban’s broader goals – which in turn made it easy for a federal court to reject the same policy.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, told reporters last night that Trump “should just continue talking, because he is making our arguments for us.”

And right around that time, Hincapié got her wish: the president told attendees at a rally in Tennessee last night that his second Muslim ban was simply a “watered-down version” of his first Muslim ban – a phrase that will almost certainly be cited as the legal process continues.

What we’re left with is a White House – a “fine-tuned machine,” according to Trump – that can’t get out of its own way. Team Trump’s own rhetoric helped derail the president’s first Muslim ban. Team Trump’s own rhetoric then exposed the fact that the White House doesn’t seriously believe this policy will improve the nation’s national security. Now Team Trump’s rhetoric has led the second Muslim ban to be blocked before its implementation, which was set to begin last night.

Making matters slightly worse, there’s new polling that suggests most Americans disapprove of this policy.

The White House will reportedly appeal its latest court defeat, but Trump and his team would be far better off just throwing in the towel, ending this ugly fiasco.

Discrimination and Donald Trump

As Muslim ban flops again, Team Trump is its own worst enemy

Updated