Sessions Calls Hawaii Just 'an Island in the Pacific'
AG says he's 'amazed' a judge in Hawaii can stop Trump's travel ban
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2017 5:44 PM CDT
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Hawaii's Democratic lawmakers are criticizing Jeff Sessions after he expressed amazement on a radio show that a "judge sitting on an island in the Pacific" could stop the president's travel ban.   (AP file Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Newser) – “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,” CNN quotes Jeff Sessons as saying in a radio interview this week. The attorney general was discussing President Trump's second travel ban, which Derrick Watson, a judge in Hawaii, halted by ruling against.

Sessions was quickly called out for the comment, Politico reports. Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono says the island "has been the 50th state for going on 58 years" and "won't succumb to your dog whistle politics." Chelsea Clinton points out that "an American in Hawaii is as American as one from Alabama." And a former Justice Department spokesperson calls the comment an "extraordinary attack on a federal judge's right to do his job." The Washington Post reiterates that Watson is a federal judge, not a Hawaiian judge. It also adds Hawaii receives many international travelers and is affected by the travel ban just like the mainland US. The Justice Department issued a statement defending Sessions, arguing it's factual to call Hawaii a Pacific island, adding that it's a "beautiful" island to boot.

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