Saturday, June 22, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He once again decided not to do a thing only he was expecting him to do.

In recent weeks, Trump has threatened a massive deportation sweep of the nation's cities. He's claimed that "millions" of people will be deported as a result. The crackdown was supposed to have started tomorrow.

Today, Trump announced via Twitter that no such action would be taken after all while Congress works on other alternatives.

In reality, it is not physically possible for ICE or any government agency to transport "millions" of people out of the country on a time scale less than decades, any more than it would be possible to forcibly move the population of Los Angeles to New York. Even the very scaled-down real world version of Trump's supposed plan was not popular with the agency that would have to carry it out.

Earlier this week, the Trump administration argued in court that it was too much to ask of the government to provide detained children with toothpaste and soap.

Today's announcement fits a classic Trump pattern: manufacturing a crisis and then backing off at the last minute, usually while demanding credit for doing so. He did the same thing with his initial "zero-tolerance" family separation policy, where he tried to punish legal asylum seekers by forcing parents to give up custody of their children—until he started getting bad publicity over it. And earlier this year, Trump kept the government shut down for a record 35 days, costing billions of dollars and forcing the United States military to work without pay for the first time since the Revolutionary War. The shutdown ended with Trump getting essentially nothing he was demanding of Congress, but he declared victory anyway.

How is this a bad thing?

  • Competent leaders don't have to invent a crisis to make them look like competent leaders.