US President Donald Trump ramped up his criticism of a federal judge who blocked a travel ban involving seven mainly Muslim nations, saying the courts were making border security harder.
In a series of tweets Sunday that broadened his attack on the judiciary, Trump said Americans should blame US District Judge James Robart and the court system if there is a terrorist attack.
He added that he had told the Department of Homeland Security to “check people coming into our country VERY CAREFULLY. The courts are making the job very difficult!”, Reuters reports.
The Republican president labeled Robart a “so-called judge” on Saturday, a day after the Seattle jurist issued a temporary restraining order that prevented enforcement of a 90-day ban on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and a 120-day bar on all refugees.
A US appeals court later on Saturday denied the government’s request for an immediate stay of the ruling.
Vice President Mike Pence defended Trump earlier on Sunday, even as some Republicans encouraged the new president to tone down his criticism against the judiciary.
“The president of the United States has every right to criticize the other two branches of government,” Pence said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program.
It is unusual for a sitting president to attack a member of the judiciary, which the US Constitution designates as a check on the power of the executive branch and Congress, Reuters noted.
Senator Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, was quoted as saying that Trump seems intent on precipitating a constitutional crisis.
The ruling by Robart, coupled with the decision by an appeals court to deny the government’s request for an immediate stay of the ruling dealt a blow to Trump barely two weeks into his presidency.
It could also be a precursor to months of legal challenges to his push to clamp down on immigration, including through the construction of a wall on the US-Mexican border, the report noted.
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