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  • Article: The "politically correct version": What Donald Trump's Recent Tweet and Previous Use of the Term "Politically Correct" Tell Us About His Revised Executive Order By David Isaacson

    The "politically correct version": What Donald Trump's Recent Tweet and Previous Use of the Term "Politically Correct" Tell Us About His Revised Executive Order


    Donald Trump weighed in earlier today via Twitter regarding the litigation about his travel-ban executive orders, tweeting among other things that “The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.” It is, as others have pointed out, a bit odd that Mr. Trump, to whom the Justice Department ultimately reports given his current status as President of the United States, is expressing his disagreement with them via Twitter. These tweets also, as the media has noted, undermine the Administration’s court defenses of the ban.

    One point that does not yet seem to have been made is that Mr. Trump’s reference to the current version of the travel ban being “politically correct” has special significance in light of his past usage of that term. ACLU attorney Omar Jadwat, quoted by the LA Times, did observe that the reference to political correctness undercuts the government’s arguments:

    Lawyers for the government “have made a diligent effort to demonstrate that this was not about religious animus,” he said, no[r] was it an effort to fulfill Trump’s campaign pledge to enact a “Muslim ban.” But Trump’s tweets show the president’s belief that scaling back the travel order reflected “political correctness,” and not his true intent.

    The New York Times, as well, has observed that “in calling the revised order ‘politically correct,’ Mr. Trump suggested that his goal was still to make distinctions based on religion.” This usage of the term “politically correct” would indeed be indicative of religious animus even if Trump had not used the term previously, but it is especially telling in context.

    In the usage of those at Donald Trump’s end of the American political spectrum, to say that something is “politically correct” is generally to say that it is unnecessarily or inappropriately tailored to avoid speaking of a minority group in a way that liberals would consider offensive. Donald Trump himself has indicated this understanding of the term “politically correct” in at least one of his own past tweets, and has done so specifically in the context of Islam. As he tweeted on July 4, 2016, https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/749989709275885568 :

    With Hillary and Obama, the terrorist attacks will only get worse. Politically correct fools, won’t even call it what it is – RADICAL ISLAM!

    That is, to Donald Trump, it is “politically correct” to avoid using the term “RADICAL ISLAM” in reference to terrorist attacks. It would appear to follow that the revised travel ban Donald Trump criticizes for being “politically correct” has, in his view, refrained from using those terms to avoid being offensive. His Justice Department and revised executive order will not, to use his words, “call it what it is”—and what it is, in reality, is his attempt to act against Islam.

    This is, to say the least, problematic for the government’s position in the travel ban litigation. The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld an injunction against the ban in IRAP v. Trump on the basis that even the revised ban “in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination.” The President’s position, as evidenced by his latest tweets read in the context of his earlier tweets, appears to be that the revised ban has not made its religious animus clear enough.

    This post originally appeared on The Insightful Immigration Blog.

    About The Author

    David IsaacsonDavid Isaacson is a Partner at Cyrus D. Mehta & Associates, PLLC where he works on immigration and nationality law matters. David's practice includes a variety of family-based and employment-based applications for both permanent residence and nonimmigrant visas, as well as waivers, naturalization and citizenship matters, asylum cases, other removal proceedings such as those stemming from criminal convictions or denied applications for adjustment of status, and federal appellate litigation.

    The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -
      The Justice Department is now left with only one argument - that the Supreme Court has no power to look beyond the face of the six-country executive order itself, but that it is bound by the express language of that document. Based on Mandel and Kerry v. Din, there might arguably be such a presumption, but presumptions can be overcome, especially when the president himself is shouting as loudly as he can over Twitter that the "four corners of the document" argument is itself drenched in the most egregious kind of bad faith.

      As I have argued in some of my own Immigration Daily comments, the DOJ's contention that the six-country ban is not intended to discriminate on the basis of religion could even, arguably, constitute an attempt to perpetrate a fraud upon the court.

      Roger Algase
      Attorney at Law
    1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
      ImmigrationLawBlogs -

      Why are you interpreting comments about Islamic extremists as if they apply to the entire Muslim population?

      The term "Islamic extremist" refers to a small segment of the Muslim population.

      According to the dictionary that came with my computer's operating system:

      extremist |ikˈstrēməst|
      a person who holds extreme or fanatical political or religious views, especially one who resorts to or advocates extreme action: political extremists | [as modifier] : an extremist conspiracy.
      Do you know who the terrorist organizations are? See the State Department's list of
      Foreign Terrorist Organizations at -- https://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm

      Nolan Rappaport
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