Wednesday, October 31, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He attacked Paul Ryan on the subject of birthright citizenship.

Trump desperately needs Republicans to somehow retain control of the House for his own political and legal safety. To that end, he claimed yesterday that he was going to use an executive order to change the provisions of the Constitution that guarantee citizenship to all people born in the United States.

One of the many people to point this out was outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), prompting Trump to lash out on Twitter today: "Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about!"

It's unlikely that Trump actually believes his own position, coming as it does less than a week before Election Day. But it's not quite right to say that Trump himself "knows nothing" about birthright citizenship, because he makes money off of it. His Florida properties are hot tickets for an industry catering to ultra-wealthy Russian "birth tourists," who stay at them while taking advantage of American hospitals—and the American citizenship granted to their children.

Why should I care about this?

  • The Constitution says what the president can do, not the other way around.
  • It's bad to make up policy on the spot as a last-ditch campaign tactic--even fake policies that will never be enacted.