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3/16/17

US - The White House: Trump and his advisers can’t keep quiet — and it’s becoming major problem - by John Wagner and Matt Zapotosk

"Oh! What a tangled web we weave, 
when first we practice to deceive"
In blocking the administration’s second attempt at a travel ban from terror-prone countries, a federal judge in Hawaii laid the blame squarely on President Trump and his advisers, who had suggested the policy was aimed at barring Muslims.

A different politician might have expressed disappointment and moved on. But Trump, taking the stage barely an hour later at a rally Wednesday night in Nashville, let loose on the “terrible ruling” — and doubled down on the sentiments that got the policy into trouble in the first place.

“The order blocked was a ­watered-down version of the first order,” Trump thundered, adding later: “Let me tell you something. I think we ought to go back to the first one and go all the way.”

The episode was just one of numerous examples of Trump and his advisers pushing incendiary language and unfounded claims, even in the face of opposition from federal judges and top lawmakers of both parties.

On Thursday — for the 12th day in a row — the White House defended Trump’s unfounded claim that his predecessor, Barack Obama, ordered wiretaps of Trump’s New York City offices during the presidential campaign, despite a growing chorus of declarations from intelligence officials and members of Congress that nothing of the sort happened.

 President Trump and his aides have made some very clear public statements about his two travel ban orders — and sometimes, those statements are later used against them in federal court cases about the bans. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)

“Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016,” the Democratic and Republican chairmen of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Thursday in a statement.

“He stands by it,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said of Trump’s original claim.

Trump boosters say his freewheeling rhetoric, in person and on social media, is a large part of his appeal and has kept him in good stead with his political base. But it is also making governing more challenging.

In recent weeks, Trump has pledged that he would provide “insurance for everybody” at a lower cost, setting an impossible standard for congressional Republicans as they seek to craft a bill to scale back Obama’s signature health-care law.

But perhaps nowhere have Trump’s words been as damaging as his attempts to implement the travel ban — which may have been damaged further by Trump’s remarks at his Nashville rally. Trump inflamed controversy during the campaign by calling for a temporary ban on all foreign Muslims from entering the United States, then later shifted to vague pledges to ban people from countries with a history of Islamist terrorism.

Read more: Trump and his advisers can’t keep quiet — and it’s becoming a real problem - The Washington Post

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