Update on the Kulturkampf: the Trump family’s war on Muslims and the Courts

Donald Jr. retweeted the following yesterday: “When it’s revealed that the #QuebecShooting terrorists are Muslims, Trump will have a tremendous spike in political capital. #MuslimBan.” This is nakedly instrumental propaganda of bigotry (in case you’ve been watching Fox News, it turns out that the shooter was a white racist and a Trump fan, while the Muslim man in reports was actually a witness, not a suspect). It is a preview of how the Trumps and Bannon will exploit every terrorist incident over the next four years, and how they will lie and mislead to fan hatred of Muslims. Note the repeated use of #MuslimBan: Donald Jr. also personally tweeted, “If @JustinTrudeau cared about the safety of Canadians he’d follow @realDonaldTrump’s lead with a #MuslimBan #QuebecShooting” The Bannon/Trump team know exactly what they are doing. The Trump base wants a Muslim ban as an explicit message against Islam. Again and again, they are telling the base that it is a ban against Muslims. But as Giuliani admitted, they changed the wording just enough to make a formal argument that it is about specific countries, not religion. Here is the win-win for their culture war: they want the base to understand that it is the Muslim ban they demand, they want to give the cowering elite GOP a flimsy excuse that it’s not formally a Muslim ban, and they also want the courts to strike it down so the Trumpers can go to war against the judiciary. This is why we have to vigilantly defend immigrants and the judiciary for the next four years.

Author: Jed Shugerman

Legal historian at Fordham Law School, teaching Torts, Administrative Law, and Constitutional History. JD/PhD in History, Yale. Red Sox and Celtics fan, youth soccer coach. Author of "The People's Courts: Pursuing Judicial Independence in America" (2012) on the rise of judicial elections in America. I filed an amicus brief in the Emoluments litigation against Trump along with a great team of historians. I'm working on "The Rise of the Prosecutor Politicians," a history of prosecutors and political ambition (a cause of mass incarceration), and "The Imaginary Unitary Executive," on the myths and history of presidential power in America.

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