President Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates Monday night, after Yates ordered Justice Department lawyers Monday not to defend his immigration order temporarily banning entry into the United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world....I agree that this is a horrible executive order. I just wonder how the Yates situation will play with most Americans. I don't think they'll focus on it for very long -- the Trump administration is determined to create a new form of chaos every day or two, so I think this act of refusal and this firing will be all but forgotten within a week -- but for the moment I suspect Trump's position might seem reasonable to a lot of ordinary Americans, even those who are finding many of the victims of the executive order sympathetic.
Earlier on Monday, Yates ordered Justice Department not to defend President Trump’s immigration order temporarily banning entry into the United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world, declaring in a memo that she is not convinced the order is lawful....
“At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the Executive Order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the Executive Order is lawful,” Yates wrote. She wrote that “for as long as I am the Acting Attorney General, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the Executive Order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so.”
A lot of Americans will reason that Trump is the president and therefore he deserves accommodation of his actions by other government officials. It's true that the attorney general is supposed to maintain independence from the White House, but I don't think most people grasp that. They know Trump has appointed an attorney general, and they probably think Jeff Sessions should be allowed to get on with his work -- except among progressives, there regrettably doesn't seem to be any national outrage at Sessions. But until the confirmation process is concluded, I'm guessing most Americans will think that Trump deserves some deference from government officials.
Also, after a week of wild, flailing administration activity, we have Trump being the guy everyone knows from TV. Headline at Fox News:
SHE’S FIRED! Trump ousts acting AG over refusal to defend refugee orderHeadline at Breitbart:
You’re Fired: Trump Fires AG for ‘Betrayal’For the moment, this lets Trump seem like the decisive CEO rather than the impulsive brat leading a government full of other impulsive brats, all of whom enjoy kicking hornets' nests just to see what happens.
Maybe I'm wrong about how this will be perceived. But in any case, this won't be an enduring story. There'll be new chaos any minute now.