On Friday morning, President Trump cited a Lawfare article in an attempt to build a case that the three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit made a bad decision Thursday evening when they declined to reinstate his Muslim ban.
LAWFARE: "Remarkably, in the entire opinion, the panel did not bother even to cite this (the) statute." A disgraceful decision!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 10, 2017
Indeed, the Lawfare article in question — entitled “How to Read (and How Not to Read) Today’s 9th Circuit Opinion” — does mention that the Ninth Circuit’s opinion didn’t cite a statute pertaining to “Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President,” a statute that “forms the principal statutory basis for the executive order.”
But had Trump read the article, he would’ve seen that the author — Benjamin Wittes, editor in chief of Lawfare and a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution — concluded that the court actually made the right decision.
“The Ninth Circuit is correct to leave the [restraining order] in place, in my view, for the simple reason that there is no cause to plunge the country into turmoil again while the courts address the merits of these matters over the next few weeks,” Wittes writes.
Wittes concludes his piece by blasting the Trump administration’s “incompetent malevolence.”
“Eventually, the court has to confront the clash between a broad delegation of power to the President — a delegation which gives him a lot of authority to do a lot of not-nice stuff to refugees and visa holders — in a context in which judges normally defer to the president, and the incompetent malevolence with which this order was promulgated.”
Instead of coming across the passage he tweeted out from reading the article, it appears Trump was alerted to the Lawfare piece by watching Morning Joe.
Here’s video of the segment:
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 10, 2017
Last Sunday, the New York Times reported that Trump is “cloistered in the White House” and watches cable news to try and figure out what’s happening in the world.
“For a sense of what is happening outside, he watches cable, both at night and during the day — too much in the eyes of some aides — often offering a bitter play-by-play of critics like CNN’s Don Lemon,” the Times reported.
Lifting material from TV news for a tweet is far from unprecedented for Trump. As Fortune reported on February 2, “At least five times since he took office… Trump has tweeted about policy ideas and thoughts that seem directly related to news that was being shown on channels such as Fox News.”
Among the instances are a tweet Trump posted threatening to pull federal funding from public colleges that came minutes after a discussion of the same topic on Fox & Friends, another where the president threatened to send “the Feds!” into Chicago that came on the heels of a discussion of violence in Chicago on The O’Reilly Factor, and a tweet blasting Chelsea Manning as “ungrateful traitor” that came just minutes after she was called the same thing on Fox News.