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White House says Donald Trump will continue to attack the judiciary

Sean Spicer intended to brush off Neil Gorsuch’s comments that Mr Trump’s attacks on the judiciary were ‘disheartening’ and ‘demoralizing’ 

Rachael Revesz
New York
Thursday 09 February 2017 21:20 GMT
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Mr Trump attacked the judiciary, and brushed off Mr Gorsuch's criticism
Mr Trump attacked the judiciary, and brushed off Mr Gorsuch's criticism (Getty)

Donald Trump has "no regrets" about appointing a Supreme Court nominee who criticised his attacks on the judiciary and the President will continue to "speak freely".

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that Mr Trump was "very proud" of his decision to appoint conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch.

He added that Mr Trump would continue to "be authentic", which was "one reason he got elected".

"The president will speak his mind. It goes back to Thomas Jefferson. Where has this outrage been for the last 100 years?" he asked reporters.

Mr Spicer insisted that Mr Gorsuch’s naming of the President’s attacks on the judiciary as "disheartening" and "demoralizing" were not specific to the President’s negative tweets.

"The judge was very clear that he was not commenting on any specific matter; he was asked about his general philosophy, so you can’t take that back and equate it to the specific," he added.

Mr Gorsuch made the comments to Democratic senator Richard Blumenthal during a private meeting on Wednesday, the day after the President had called a court hearing on his controversial immigration executive order "disgraceful".

In August of 2017, Donald Trump decried the courts' role in the travel ban

"I told him how abhorrent Donald Trump’s invective and insults are toward the judiciary. And he [Gorsuch] said to me that he found them ‘disheartening’ and ‘demoralizing’ — his words," Senator Blumenthal said in an interview.

Mr Trump told reporters before a meeting with airline executives on Thursday that Mr Gorsuch’s comments about his tweets were "misrepresented".

"Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie), now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?" Mr Trump also wrote on social media.

He offered no further explanation on the claim, but the crossed lines between the President and the Supreme Court Justice so early on do little to reassure critics of their smooth working relationship.

The President has expressed frustration that his executive order, signed 27 January, which banned travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, has been temporarily blocked by Judge Robart in Washington.

Mr Trump’s emergency appeal, filed by the Justice Department, was denied several days later.

The President sent a series of angry tweets about the rulings, including that the federal courts were being “political” instead of following the law. He also said “so-called Judge” Robart’s ruling could “put out country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system”.

Speaking to the National Sheriffs’ Association on Wednesday, Mr Trump read out the wording of the executive order to the crowd and insisted it was written "clearly" and "beautifully".

"Even a bad high school student could understand this," he said.

The ban initially entrapped visa and green card holders as well as citizens of dual nationality. It caused widespread confusion and massive protests at airports around the country.

The temporary halt by Judge Robart, and a potential reversal by the court in favour of Mr Trump, would cause national whiplash for the millions of people in the US and the seven countries who are affected by the travel ban.

The case could go all the way to the Supreme Court, regardless of how the appeals court is expected to rule this week.

Mr Trump has previously threatened to destroy the career of a Senator who did not agree with him, and he fired former acting attorney general Sally Yates for refusing to defend his Muslim ban in court.

The dispute between Mr Trump and Mr Gorsuch might, however, go some way to convincing sceptics that Mr Gorsuch will make independent, law-abiding decisions, rather than currying favour for the President.

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