Minutes before President Trump was to take the stage in Nashville last week to make his case for the health care overhaul he had promised, he received some unwelcome news that shifted his script.
A Federal District Court judge in Hawaii had just placed another stay on his ban on travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries, dealing his order a second legal setback in two months. As a country music duo crooned in an auditorium still filling with adoring supporters of Mr. Trump, the president fumed backstage and huddled with his staff for a hasty redrafting of the speech.
When Mr. Trump emerged, he decided to relegate the health care overhaul, which he has identified as a top domestic priority, to a brief mention more than halfway through the speech. He instead replaced its prime billing with an angry diatribe against the travel ban ruling and the judge who had issued it. “I have to be nice, otherwise I’ll get criticized for speaking poorly about our courts,” he said. But he could not help himself: The president soon suggested that the court that had just ruled against him should be destroyed. “People are screaming, ‘Break up the Ninth Circuit!’ ”
Once again, Mr. Trump’s agenda was subsumed by problems of his own making, his message undercut by a seemingly endless stream of controversy he cannot seem to stop himself from feeding.