Trump slams the courts, and his court nominee hits back

Trump slams the courts, and his court nominee hits back

President Donald Trump's extended criticism of the judiciary prompted a rebuke from his nominee for the Supreme Court, who told a senator the president's comments were "demoralizing and disheartening."

Judge Neil Gorsuch, who was nominated by Trump to the nation's high court last week, made the comments Wednesday after Trump accused an appellate court considering his immigration and refugee executive order of being "so political."

Over the weekend, the president labeled a judge who ruled on his executive order a "so-called judge" and referred to the ruling as "ridiculous."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut first relayed Gorsuch's remarks on Wednesday following a meeting with the judge. Trump's own confirmation team for Gorsuch later confirmed he had made those remarks.

But Trump suggested that Blumenthal had misrepresented Gorsuch, tweeting early Thursday, "Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie), now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?"

Blumenthal faced criticism in the past for saying he had served in Vietnam.

Blumenthal served in the Marine Corps Reserves during Vietnam. He apologized in 2010, saying he regretted his misstatements.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for clarity on how Gorsuch's comments were misrepresented. Gorsuch's comments came at the end of a week of meetings with members of the Senate, which is considering his nomination.

His response may have been aimed at drawing a line of separation from the new president, who has been a politically polarizing figure among Democrats in a highly charged partisan fight over the court.

Prior to the judge's meeting with Blumenthal, Trump criticized the court that is deliberating his immigration and refugee executive order, telling a group of police chiefs his immigration order was "done for the security of our nation."

He quoted from the portion of the immigration law that he said gave him the power to enact the ban, calling it "beautifully written" and saying, "A bad high school student would understand this."

"Courts seem to be so political and it would be so great for our justice system if they would be able to read a statement and do what's right," he added. "And that has to do with the security of our country, which is so important."

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is weighing the appeal of his executive order on immigration, including a temporary travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries. In a hearing Tuesday, judges on the appeals court challenged the administration's claim that the ban was motivated by terrorism fears, but also questioned an attorney's argument that it unconstitutionally targeted Muslims.

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