“It’s working out very nicely”

“You see it at the airports. You see it all over. It’s working out very nicely and we’re going to have a very, very strict ban, and we’re going to have extreme vetting, which we should have had in this country for many years.”-President Donald J. Trump.

Here’s the thing:  either he doesn’t understand the chaos and human suffering he has created, or he thinks that the chaos and human suffering equals the policy “working out very nicely.”

Neither option speaks well of him.

Also stellar governance here:

Before the President issued the order, the White House did not seek the legal guidance of the Office of Legal Counsel, the Justice Department office that interprets the law for the executive branch. A source said the executive order did not follow the standard agency review process that’s typically overseen by the National Security Council, though the source couldn’t specifically say if that included the decision to not have the order go through the Office of Legal Counsel.

Separately, a person familiar with the matter said career officials in charge of enforcing the executive order were not fully briefed on the specifics until Friday. The officials were caught off guard by some of the specifics and raised questions about how to handle the new banned passengers on US-bound planes.

The good news is that reports are now that Green Card holders are not banned from re-entry, but they may still face heightened security upon return to the United States.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, US Politics, ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. michael reynolds says:

    That heightened security apparently involves questioning people on their opinions of Trump and insisting on seeing their social media profile.

    Setting everything else aside, have none of the baboons currently infesting the White House ever seen the mess that is JFK passport control? Now I have to wait while some guy scrolls though everyone’s Facebook?

  2. Gustopher says:

    Here’s thing: either he doesn’t understand the chaos and human suffering he has created, or he thinks that the chaos and human suffering equals the policy “working out very nicely.”

    I’m going to go with Cleek’s Law on this: conservativism is defined as whatever pisses off liberals, updated daily.

    It’s the only metric by which this can be reasonably be “playing out nicely”. The implementation has been a disaster.

  3. Hal_10000 says:

    My late great co-blogger Lee, during the Bush years coined the term “Brownie Moment”.

    A Brownie moment can be defined simply as the moment when a supporter of President Bush is smacked in the head by reality and loses any and all faith in the president from that moment forward. As you may have surmised the term comes from Bush’s recent comment regarding former FEMA head Michael Brown’s leadership in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.”

    This was my Brownie moment. I understand that in the world of politics leaders often have to say things they don’t mean, or shake hands with dictators and scumbags, and do a lot of morally repugnant stuff. But when Bush said that I realized that after surveying the impotent, incompetent response of the federal government he truly, honestly believed that Brownie was doing a heck of a job. That sealed it for me. I’d been turning sour on Bush for a while, but I was still generally supportive of him. When I heard him make that remark, however, that was it. That was my Brownie moment.

    I bring this up in light of the Miers nomination. There are a whole lot of head-scratching Republicans gazing at each other wondering what the hell just happened. Could Bush really have nominated this woman to the Supreme Court? Yes, my friends, he just did. I imagine there are a whole lot of conservatives out there today who have just had their very own Brownie moment.

    I think a lot of people are having Brownie Moments right now, realizing just how incompetent and crazy this man is. The only problem is that his party has no courage to stand up to him.

  4. James Pearce says:

    The good news is that reports are now that Green Card holders are not banned from re-entry

    From a NY Times story posted today:

    A top White House official appeared to reverse a key part of President Trump’s immigration order on Sunday, saying that people from the affected countries who hold green cards will not be prevented from returning to the United States.

    But the official, Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, also said that border agents had “discretionary authority” to detain and question suspicious travelers from certain countries.

    So while Green Card holders may not be banned from re-entry, there is in place a completely arbitrary mechanism by which to do that, euphemistically known as “discretionary authority.”

    What a joke.

  5. @James Pearce: And a bad, distasteful joke at that.

  6. Ratufa says:


    I’m going to go with Cleek’s Law on this: conservativism is defined as whatever pisses off liberals, updated daily.

    That’s Kevin Drum’s theory — the chaos is seen as a feature by Trump/Bannon, since it appears to put the media and liberals on the side of potential terrorists. If there is another incident of domestic terrorism, it also gives Trump an opportunity to say that he tried to take steps to prevent domestic terrorism, but the usual suspects (liberals, liberal judges, and the media) stopped him.

    It’s hard to choose between the above theory and simple incompetence.

  7. James in Bremerton says:

    What blind luck the Democrats have. The GOP is mated to whatever happens with the man-child President, and Democrats have virtually no institutional responsibility for it, either in D.C. or across the country. They bravely sat out the Clintons, exorcising the 20th century from their midst, knowing what was to come. There were no illusions about the man-child President.

    Mitch McConnell has ruled out both filibuster and electoral college reform. He must act quickly to get any of the GOP’s agenda across the finish line, and the quicksand has arrived perhaps sooner than he would like. There’s likely a great many other things Mitch will be forced to rule out since the children in the White House have no clue how government or governing actually work.

    When Mitch is confronted with 3am insults via twitter for daring to count to 60, the impeachment wheels shall be greased, rank nepotism in the man-child’s cabinet aide. The threat posed to the GOP’s viability has grown beyond existential.

  8. Stormy Dragon says:

    @michael reynolds:

    insisting on seeing their social media profile

    That was a policy change by the previous administration from last June:


  9. CSK says:

    I’m going with a third theory: Trump quite literally sees whatever he wants to see and hears whatever he wants to hear, with the all-important proviso that in his mind, it makes him look good.

    I doubt he’s even read the executive order that Bannon crafted, since he lacks the attention span to absorb that much printed material. Bannon told him the EO was swell, that it was working out swell, and most of all that Trump himself is swell. That’s all he needs to know.

  10. Gustopher says:

    @Ratufa: I don’t believe that the Trump,administration is playing three dimensional chess, three dimensional checkers, or even plain simple checkers.

    I think they just want to piss off liberals out of spite. It’s just a secondary goal. Along the lines of “Here’s a policy, can we piss off liberals while we do it?”

    Perhaps not even a goal, perhaps just a welcomed side effect.

  11. Ratufa says:


    I think Trump’s political advisers (Bannon, Kellyanne) are perfectly capable of trying to manipulate the media, at least to the point of playing checkers. Policy is a secondary (or tertiary) goal. The primary goal is throwing red meat to their base, not just because Trump likes cheering crowds, but because having the GOP base on Trump’s side means that Republicans in Congress will be reluctant to cross Trump in fear of being Cantor-ed out of their seat.

  12. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @CSK: I was going to go in the same basic direction, with the inclusion of the concept of “fluffing,” but I see that I don’t need to.

  13. reid says:

    It should also always be pointed out that we HAVE had very strong vetting in place for refugees. Don’t let that lie slide. The ignorant Trump supporters probably think we’re letting in millions of random terrorists from the Middle East, just like millions of Mexican rapists are streaming over the border.

  14. In honesty, I don’t think that the administration is trying to piss off liberals. I do think a lot of their supporters will support the administration because their actions will piss off liberals.

    I think Trump has a crude, simplistic view of world that he is willing to try (e.g., the EO we are discussing). I also think/fear that Bannon has actual ideological goals that he can convince Trump to pursue.

  15. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    As I said on another thread, Bannon thinks he’s Cardinal Richelieu.

  16. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I would go one step further, if they don’t piss off liberals, I think a lot of people in the Trump administration are going to assume they haven’t gone far enough. Lefty outrage is a clear sign that they have the right policy.

    Now, they could have fashioned this EO in a way that was less transparently cruel and ineffective, and hit that spot where a lot of people on the left would have disagreed with it, but not actually been outraged. But, then they wouldn’t have gotten their fix of outrage. And it would have required competence.

    If you can get the outrage, without having to bother with competence, then it’s a win-win.

    (A less offensive policy might contain:
    – people in the last stages of coming have nothing change (i.e., if they are already scheduled to arrive in the next 30 days), but will face stricter scrutiny after they arrive.
    – a 90-120 day halt for everyone else so we can create new, tougher guidelines (which then slowly expands), people don’t lose their place in line (even as we move out to 180 days, and then 250…)
    – process for people who have aided us to get in with their families quickly
    – anyone, citizen or legal resident, regardless of religion or ethnicity who travels to these areas will face stricter scrutiny, interviews, etc (affected people can have their lawyers present)
    – include Afghanistan, Lebanon, and other obviously missing countries
    – quietly pay Australia or somewhere to take more refugees

    There’s lots of stuff there to be opposed to, but not much to be outraged by)

  17. MarkedMan says:

    I’m beginning to think Trump will go out under Article 25 Section 4 (removing a president who cannot perform their duties due to health issues – mental health, in this case) rather than impeachment. It’s much faster and avoids a lengthy investigation and trial in Congress. More and more Trump seems disconnected from reality. Did you see his comment about the White House telephones? Or about what is ‘registering’? What does he even mean? And I think it will only get worse as he realizes people are laughing at him. When everything was turning into a sh*t storm on his Muslim ban, he was watching “Finding Dory”. It’s callous, but his supporters won’t mind that. What even they will mind though is that it’s goofy and that is more deadly in politics than being disliked.

    And has anyone seen the meme going around that Trump is afraid of stairs? Something like that can take on a life of its own.

  18. al-Ameda says:

    I know it is far too early, but, Trump is showing signs of being a worse president than George W. Bush. I say that with humility and a bit of trepidation because Bush was genuinely bad but people gave him a second term to show us that it can always get worse.

  19. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @CSK: But he may turn out to be Cinq-Mars (how’s that for historical arcana)?

  20. Pete S says:

    After an eventful first week of the Trump era, I have been trying to figure out why this seems familiar. I think the new president has established the following as his guiding principles:

    A Malevolence – of this there is no doubt, judging by the suffering he has caused “working out very nicely”.
    B Incompetence – his signature action this week, supposedly designed to protect Americans from terrorism, would not have prevented the entry of a single person who has actually committed an act of terrorism on American soil.
    C Thin skinned and petulant – see the stupid actions resulting from unhappiness at inaugural crowds and the loss of the popular vote.
    D Enriching his family at the expense of the nation
    E Getting rid of advisers who are not sycophants – Joint Chiefs of Staff no longer automatically at Security Council meetings.

    Congratulations America. You elected King Joffrey. On purpose.

  21. @al-Ameda:

    I know it is far too early, but, Trump is showing signs of being a worse president than George W. Bush.

    Sadly, not too early. I was pretty sure of that once he won 270 EVs.

    Congratulations America. You elected King Joffrey. On purpose.

    There is something to that comparison.

  22. CSK says:


    Hmmm. That would cast Jared Kushner in the role of Richelieu.

  23. SenyorDave says:

    Judge a man by the company he keeps. Look at his most trusted advisers:

    Steve Bannon – a smart klansman in a rumpled suit
    Roger Ailes – a sexual harassment machine, lifelong bigot
    Conway – almost in another world how seamlessly she lies, I am actually starting to think of her as Kellyann Goebels
    His kids – Ivanka almost seemed like a human being compared to his sons, Uday and Qusay, but I guess she is now redefined as the “let them eat cake” girl after her tweet over the weekend

    I hate Pence’s policies, I think he’s a crazy homophobe and I’ve heard he’s kind of a dope (I believe some people nicknamed him Mike Dense), but I’m praying for something to happen where Trump is removed. Trump and his people are dangerous. Have we ever had a president who surrounded himself with people who are so malevolent?

    To those who say calmly “we’ll survive this”, there are a lot of people who won’t. Large numbers of people will die because of a Trump presidency.

  24. CSK says:


    What was Ivanka’s Tweet? I missed that one.

  25. SenyorDave says:



    Bad timing mostly and maybe she doesn’t quite deserve the shitstorm it caused, but in her case I would have to say TFB. The TRump klan is pure evil (and yas, the k is intentional).

  26. dmhlt says:

    Echoes of Barbara Bush’s tone-deaf quote on Hurricane Katrina victims forced to evacuate to the Houston Astrodome:


    “And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them.”


  27. dmhlt says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Actually your link was a Request for COMMENTS WRT a potential policy change.
    It does not say it was adopted.
    Any links to document it went in to effect?

  28. CSK says:


    B!tch stole my Reynolds Wrap.

  29. grumpy realist says:

    Well, we’re already making it impossible for a whole bunch of Iranian scientists to visit the US or work with people here, the Iranians who emigrated to the US aren’t probably very interested in hanging around, and we’ve got a Budgetary critter who wants to get rid of government funding of basic scientific research entirely.

    The Chinese must be laughing their asses off and preparing the welcome mat for a whole bunch of Iranian scientists and mathematicians. In a few years, I suspect the welcome mat will be out for the rest of us from other ethnic backgrounds. (So learn Chinese ASAP.)

    I just talked this morning with my portfolio manager on how to Trump-proof my chunk of change and he admitted that they’ve been following things closely and working on how to hedge the uncertainty.

  30. Pete S says:

    Did I understand Trump’s comments this afternoon to mean that his policy would have prevented the mosque shooting in Quebec? I thought he claimed he was keeping out terrorists, not victims. He has established himself to be stone deaf and shameless, but wow.

  31. grumpy realist says:

    When Justice Department attorneys go into court to defend the policy, they will not be able to maintain that this policy reflects careful review of the relevant security concerns or that administration lawyers gave due consideration to potential objections and relevant legal or constitutional constraints on the executive branch’s conduct. They won’t be able to say those things because they are not true — and judges will notice. Issuing orders that can upend people’s lives without conducting the most basic review is practically the definition of “arbitrary and capricious” government action.

    )Washington Post)

  32. Blue Galangal says:

    Apologies if this has been noted elsewhere, but it occurred to me over the weekend that now we know why the senior State Dept. officials resigned en masse.

  33. Stormy Dragon says:


    Any links to document it went in to effect?

    Yes, it went into effect in December: DHS is now asking some foreign visitors about their social media

    I was posting the original announcement to make clear that it was a train that began rolling well before the election.

  34. flat earth luddite says:

    Fluffer! Where the bloody hell’s my bloody fluffer! I need my fluffer NOW!

  35. flat earth luddite says:

    The background music at the White Heffellump seems to be
    “I have to believe it’s getting better… it’s getting better all the time”
    “better… better… better… all the time”

  36. dmhlt says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Except that is NOT what you said:

    “That was a policy change by the previous administration from last June:”