Ruling a huge blow to Trump's presidential authority

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/2/5 23:33:39

US federal judge James Robart on Friday halted the enforcement of President Donald Trump's travel ban against seven majority Muslim countries. The judge's order has come in for some strong bashing from Trump and the White House, however, various states have stopped enforcing the President's executive order. On Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security moved to halt the ban. In another twist, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals early Sunday morning denied the US government's request to reinstate the travel ban.

Trump is apparently trapped in the US' system of checks and balances, which is putting up more restrictive measures on him. The judiciary branch has significantly dampened the new president's authority, a rarity in US history.

Trump appears to be losing more in the battle for public opinion. Opinion polls suggest that those who oppose him outnumber his supporters. American mainstream media has been very harsh on him, a sentiment that is shared by their European peers. A recent Der Spiegel cover illustration portrays Trump cutting the head off the Statue of Liberty. 

This is a disastrous start for a new president, and it portends that many different forces in the US are rising up against Trump. He may face a rising tide of resistance against him. If these struggles happen repeatedly, the US will head toward a serious constitutional crisis. Anything could happen if that day comes.

The situation is telling Trump that it is unrealistic to govern the US in the same way he governs a company, in which he expects the whole executive system to implement his orders unconditionally. The US system is a result of compromises among various forces and interests. It's the same on the international stage.

Without overwhelming public support, Trump will find it impossible to bring about big change in the US. His personality, chased by media attention, cannot help him overcome obstacles. Barack Obama accomplished nearly nothing in his eight-year tenure, and his hard-fought healthcare reform will be abolished by Trump. It is the US system, rather than Obama's "cowardice" that led to this situation.

Trump seems to always believe that his temper will make the whole world surrender. This may be true in his business empire, but the situation is poles apart in the political arena.

Judge Robart has taken the power back from Trump. The blocking of the travel ban will have significant knock-on effects and is particularly inspiring to Trump's opponents.

Trump has no special political resources, and has not been accepted by US mainstream elites. He is hitting out on different fronts, poking core interests everywhere in the early stage of his tenure, so opposition and resistance against him is inevitable. For his opponents, the consequence of losing is easy to take, but to Trump, losing means a severe blow to his presidential authority.

Under this circumstance, Trump isn't able to open another front against China that he suggested he might do before assuming office. China needs to be ready for a fight if it is needed. Trump, besieged by troubles, will realize eventually that China is a good cooperator.

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