Hawaii’s congressional delegation fired back at Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday for saying that a federal judge who blocked President Donald Trump’s immigration order hailed from “an island in the Pacific."
“The suggestion that being from Hawaii somehow disqualifies Judge Watson from performing his Constitutional duty is dangerous, ignorant, and prejudiced. I am frankly dumbfounded that our nation’s top lawyer would attack our independent judiciary. But we shouldn’t be surprised,” Sen. Mazie Hirono said in a statement.
U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, who presides in Honolulu, ruled against the Trump administration's revised travel ban last month, halting the administration’s attempt to limit immigration for a second time.
“I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the President of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and Constitutional power,” Sessions said in a radio interview with conservative Mark Levin on Tuesday.
CNN first reported on the comments.
“I wasn't diminishing the judge or the island of Hawaii, that beautiful place. Give me a break," Sessions said in an interview on MSNBC on Friday. "I was just making the point, that’s it’s very real one judge out of 700 has stopped the president of the United States from doing what he believes is necessary to protect our safety and security."
But his apparent belittling of the 50th state, which caught wind on social media, prompted Hawaii's Congressional delegation to fire back.
“Mr. Attorney General: You voted for that judge. And that island is called Oahu. It's my home. Have some respect,” Schatz tweeted.
Sessions was one of 94 senators who voted to confirm Watson in 2013. No senators voted against him.