Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Thursday that he was “amazed” that a judge from Hawaii could block Donald Trump’s travel ban.
“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,” Sessions said.
The comment quickly drew backlash, with critics accusing the attorney general of speaking as if Hawaii wasn’t a U.S. state or was less important because of its location.
On Friday Sessions decided to defend his criticism after facing repercussions from it, saying that he wouldn’t have phrased it any differently.
“I don’t know that I said anything I’d want to phrase differently,” Sessions said during an appearance on CNN. “No, we’re going to defend the president’s order. We believe it’s constitutional. We believe there’s specific statutory authority for everything in that order.”
— CNN (@CNN) April 21, 2017
Sessions reassured that he stands behind the executive order, saying it was completely constitutional and permitted by law.
“I got to tell you it is a point worth making that single sitting district judge out of 600, 700 district judges can issue an order stopping a presidential executive order that I believe is fully constitutional designed to protect the United States of America from terrorist attack.”