In a meeting with senators, Neil Gorsuch – who was nominated for the high court by the president – criticized Trump’s invective against the courts over Trump’s legal battle against his immigration order.
Donald Trump has upset his own supporters, and criticism has begun to appear within his own private circle. In a private meeting this Wednesday with senators on Capitol Hill, Gorsuch – the judge whom the president himself recommended for the Supreme Court – described Trump’s recent invectives against judges as “disheartening and abhorrent.”
His words were quoted by one of the senators present at the meeting, Democrat Richard Blumenthal, and were later confirmed by NBC through a spokesperson on Gorsuch’s transition team, whose confirmation to the Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States, depends on Senate approval.
“Gorsuch said to me that he found these attacks on the judiciary by the president to be disheartening and demoralizing,” Blumenthal revealed. Gorsuch attended this meeting in Washington as part of his efforts to gain the support of the necessary number of senators.
The very same Wednesday morning, Trump again attacked the judiciary, saying that to him the courts seemed to be “so political.”
Last Friday, federal District Judge James L. Robart, who was appointed by George W. Bush, halted the new president’s controversial executive order that temporarily blocked the entry of immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries and indefinitely blocked the entry of refugees.
The following day, from his weekend mansion and elite club in Florida, Trump left the country astonished when he diverged from the fixed principle of the separation of powers and presidential respect toward the judiciary, and branded Robart a “so-called judge.” This Wednesday, he defended his executive order, based on what Trump said was its supposed advantage in preventing terrorist attacks from abroad, saying that it was “written beautifully,” and adding that even a “bad high school student would understand this.”
Trump’s administration appealed the judge’s ruling that halted the executive order and which allowed the entry of people with visas into the United States who had been affected. A Court of Appeals will decide this week whether to grant the government’s appeal or confirm Judge Robart’s ruling.*
The disclosure of Gorsuch’s negative opinion about the president’s attitude reveals the extent to which Trump is tightening the cord of institutional common sense. Never before has a president of the United States publicly insulted a federal judge, or created an antagonistic relationship with the courts: “We’re going to win,” said Trump about the ongoing dispute.
*Editor’s note: On Feb. 9, 2017, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Robart’s decision to issue a temporary restraining order against the Jan. 27, 2017 travel ban.