Attorney General Doug Chin of Hawaii,
who filed the lawsuit, in Honolulu on Wednesday.
Credit Hugh Gentry/Reuters
John Kahler: This ruling makes us strong. The rule of law and checks and balances, upholding the constitution, prove even the president is constrained in what he can do. THAT is freedom. THAT is what people around the world like and admire about our great country. That Trump even questions this at all, much less loudly on the world stage, questions his understanding of, much agreement with, the oath of office he took.
In response to two federal judges blocking his latest travel ban, Trump told a supportive crowd at a campaign-style rally, “This ruling makes us look weak.”
What he really meant, of course, was “this ruling makes me look weak.”
The key to understanding Trump is his overwhelming need to look strong and not appear weak. Here are his 7 methods:
1. Never admitting he’s wrong about anything -- never apologizing, confessing error, or accepting blame. After asserting that Obama had wiretapping Trump Tower, the FBI and prominent Republicans have told him he should admit he has no evidence for this bizarre claim. But he won't. He only digs himself in deeper.
2. Blaming others for anything that goes wrong. Weeks ago, when it became evident that the mission to Yemen had been botched, resulting in the death of a Navy Seal Ryan Owens, Trump blamed the military. “This was something they wanted to do. They came to me, they explained what they wanted to do ― the generals … And they lost Ryan.”
3. Being abusive toward staff. By all accounts, he yells at, denigrates, disparages, and humiliates people working for him. His White House appears to be one big abusive relationship (Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer show signs).
4. Condemning all critics. He calls the press who criticize him “dishonest scum” and “enemies of the people,” and locks them out of press conferences. He calls judges who cross “so-called judges,” and intelligence agencies who dispute him “so-called intelligence.” He also calls Americans who didn’t vote for him or have expressed negative opinions about him his “enemies,” “losers,” “pathetic,” and “sad.”
5. Being brutal and cruel toward vulnerable people. Bullies like Trump make themselves look and feel powerful by taking it out on people who can’t fight back. In Trump’s case, it’s undocumented immigrants; the poor; and Muslims from the Middle East and central Americans, who need refuge from violence.
6. Attacking the character or attributes of critics rather than the content of their criticisms. It's called an "ad hominem" attack and Trump uses it constantly. After actress Meryl Streep criticized him, for example, he called her “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood,” and “a Hillary flunky who lost big.”
7. Conjuring up a huge plot against him, intended to bring him down. He told a group of senior commanders that terrorist attacks in the United States weren’t being reported because “the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons, and you understand that.” He continues to claim, without evidence, that the 2016 election was marred by “millions” of fraudulent votes. He talks darkly of a conspiracy to link him to Russian operatives in the election.
Bullies like Trump who can't stand to look weak are deeply insecure. In reality, they feel weak and fear being exposed. The resistance must use Trump's fear of exposure.
By Alexander Burns
Hours after a federal judge blocked his revised travel ban, President Trump slammed the ruling at a rally in Nashville. By THE NEW YORK TIMES on Publish Date March 15, 2017. Photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.