Trump uses Twitter to judge judges (and attack Nordstrom)

Commentary: As an appeals court deliberates his immigration order, the president tweets commentary and also criticizes Nordstrom over his daughter's fashion line.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

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"Come on, judges!"

Pool, Getty Images

Not too long ago, Donald Trump insisted that, once he's president, he'll be "restrained" on Twitter.

That hasn't happened just yet.

Instead, he appears to use the site in attempt to restrain others from doing things he doesn't like.

On Wednesday morning, for example, he offered commentary on the San Francisco federal appeals court that's currently examining his executive order temporarily banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

"If the U.S. does not win this case as it so obviously should, we can never have the security and safety to which we are entitled. Politics!" he tweeted.

Politics, indeed! The way it infiltrates our legal system, some might think, is reprehensible. For example, when one president or another attempts to appoint a Supreme Court justice of the president's personal bent.

Incidentally, the tech industry is keeping a close eye on the case. Silicon Valley heavyweights have voiced strong opposition to the ban and have even filed a legal brief against it. They worry it will inflict harm on their companies, which employ many immigrants.

The president seems to want to use Twitter to pressure judges deciding the case. Last weekend, he referred to Judge James Robart -- the Seattle-based judge who ruled against his order -- as a "so-called judge."

Some will surely detect a whiff of "do as I say or else."

Moreover, there's an implication in Wednesday's tweet that the courts will somehow be responsible should a terror attack occur. This reflects another weekend Trump tweet, again targeting Robart, that read: "Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!"

The alleged badness, though, isn't confined to the courts system. Retailer Nordstrom has also taken a place in the president's axis of evil.

"My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person -- always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!" tweeted the president.

What has Nordstrom done to be not merely bad, but terrible? It's decided not to buy any of Ivanka Trump's fall collection, a decision some will see as political. Or, indeed, "Political!" The retailer insisted this was a business decision because the previous collection wasn't selling well.

"Over the past year, and particularly in the last half of 2016, sales of the brand have steadily declined to the point where it didn't make good business sense for us to continue with the line for now," said Nordstrom in a statement. "We've had a great relationship with the Ivanka Trump team. We've had open conversations with them over the past year to share what we've seen and Ivanka was personally informed of our decision in early January."

The company's share price dropped briefly before recovering.

One can imagine that presidents in the past attempted to influence courts in a slightly more cloak-and-dagger manner. Some might find it heartening, therefore, that the president chooses to express his needs openly.

I wonder how many of the US Circuit Court of Appeals judges are on Twitter.

Update, 1:50 p.m. PT: Adds comment from Nordstrom.

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