Consistency Check

Donald Trump, objecting to the President’s post-Orlando call for stricter gun control, says that the president has “no clue”. Why? Because “The shooter was licensed…So he would have passed the test that the president would have thrown up there”.

Instead, Mr. Trump tells us that the lesson of Orlando is “We can’t let people in”. Of course, the Orlando murderer was a natural-born U.S. citizen, so he would have passed the test that Mr. Trump would have thrown up there.

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16 Responses to “Consistency Check”


  1. 1 1 JamesFromPittsburgh

    Trump’s already challenged birthright citizenship. Extrapolating from his past remarks, it’s wholly possible he only believes that persons directly descended from one of the original colonists in Jamestown or Plymouth count as citizens.

  2. 2 2 Roger

    The shooter was the son of Moslem Afghan refugees, had made a couple of trips to Saudi Arabia, and got the attention of the FBI for allegations that he threatened violence. Vote for Clinton, and the USA will be importing more Moslem terrorists. Vote for Trump, and he promises to do something about it.

  3. 3 3 Steve Landsburg

    Roger: Your comment above seems to me to be at least borderline off-topic, as it does not address the key point that the shooter would have “passed the test that Trump threw up there” no less than the “test that the president threw up there”. Such comments are subject to deletion without notice according to my whims, but always without regard to whether I agree with them.

  4. 4 4 thomasblair

    It’s not off-topic in that the parents wouldn’t have been here in the first place.

  5. 5 5 Roger

    No, the shooter would not have passed the test. Here is Trump’s statement, so the reader can judge.
    https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/donald-j-trump-statement-regarding-tragic-terrorist-attacks

  6. 6 6 Khodge

    Consistent? No.
    But…
    1. Is there an answer?
    2. Is there an answer that a candidate can give?
    (Bonus question: Is there an answer that Prof. Landsburg can offer that would not rile up the usual critics?)

  7. 7 7 Henri Hein

    Roger @5:

    I read and I judged and I did not notice a test.

    There’s also this: “we will have no way to screen them, pay for them, or prevent the second generation from radicalizing”

    There is a way to screen them. We don’t have to pay for them; in total they will pay for themselves. We cannot prevent second generations from radicalizing, but that does not distinguish the second generation; we also cannot prevent third or fourth or fifth generations from radicalizing.

  8. 8 8 Advo

    @Steve:

    I don’t see Trump’s statement as inconsistent. While “not letting Muslims in” would not affect any potential Muslim terrorist who is already in the US (and a US citizen), this policy would have certainly prevented this terror attack had it been in place decades ago and if it had prevented the shooter’s parents from entering the US.

    I feel kind of unclean for defending Trump on any point, put there you go…

  9. 9 9 Jim W K

    Steve,

    To me, the question of optimal gun laws is best considered as an intrinsic question in itself, not in reaction to tragic events. In fact, just after a tragic event is when politicians are least likely to make the most balanced, carefully considered decisions.

    But what do you think would be a good economist approach to the issue of gun illegality in terms of the trade off between number of incidences and gun illegality? In other words, would a continually increased number of shootings be the measure by which an economist might eventually conclude that the cost of gun ownership outweighs the benefits of gun legality, or if gun illegality was ever supported by a plausible economic argument, would it be a different argument to increased incidences of shooting?

  10. 10 10 Ken B

    @Steve 3
    This is agree with Roger day I guess. Roger’s point is Mateen’s parents were immigrants of a decidedly anti-American stripe, and that the children of such parents, if radical, would represent a serious threat precisely because they will be born here. If this is a likely occurrence then this is a real threat. He is not off topic at all.

  11. 11 11 Ken B

    Trump also wants to end birthright citizenship. He could very well say that the children of those expelled are not citizens then, if that change becomes law. So by that standard Mateen likely would not have passed Trump’s test.

  12. 12 12 Henri Hein

    I guess it is disagree with Ken B day. If you go to second-order effects, Obama could also claim that having stricter gun control would reduce the demand for guns, which would reduce the amount of gun shops, which would reduce the chance that Mateen had access to them or could afford them, even if not barred by background checks.

    I am deeply skeptical of this radicalization screening. How would this work? “Ms Mateen, are you are a radical?” “Yes.” “Do you understand that means your son will not get birthright citizenship?” “Oh, OK then.” There are so many problems here. Many radicals are children of moderate parents. Even if they do hold radical views, how do you detect them? How would a parent know that their radical views become actionable? How can stripping some children of their birthright naturalization possibly be in the public interest? What would we do with them and when? Summary deportation when they turn 18? Or maybe even 15? Where would you deport them to? Are you comfortable with that?

  13. 13 13 Ken B

    I guess it’s Henri cannot read day. Nothing I said endorses Trump’s position. I disagree with Steve when he says Roger is off topic. Roger is disputing that Mateen would pass Trump’s test.

  14. 14 14 neil wilson

    Trump doesn’t have any test that can be consistently applied.

    In any event, massive discrimination against Muslims would probably increase the likelihood that the Muslims who remain would have a legitimate grievance against the USA and that might increase the Muslim terrorism in this country.

    I am guessing that the only way to reduce terrorism is to better integrate people into American society. I have no clue how to integrate people who believe that American society is wrong and corrupt.

  15. 15 15 Travis Buck

    The afghan father would not have passed the test, so it’s spawn would not have been here to begin with. (Unless they flew to Mexico and waltzed over)

  16. 16 16 Henri Hein

    Ken B, my esteemed friend, there are plenty of those kinds of days. In this case, you are still talking about second-order effects, and I still maintain that is pretty thin.

    My second paragraph in #12 was mostly addressed to Roger and other Trump apologists.

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