Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch told a U.S. senator today that he found President Trump’s recent attacks on judges to be “demoralizing” and “disheartening.” Gorsuch made the comments during a private meeting and was quoted later by Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. Blumenthal told reporters, “He certainly expressed to me that he is disheartened by the demoralizing and abhorrent comments made by President Trump about the judiciary.”
Gorsuch has been meeting with senators in preparation for confirmation hearings. A member of the Supreme Court nomination team escorting Gorsuch through the get-acquainted meetings also confirmed the remarks to NPR’s Tamara Keith.
Trump’s attacks on the judiciary are highly unusual for a sitting president. Gorsuch has been a member of that branch of government as a federal judge since 2006. Senators will be considering whether he will remain independent should he be on the Supreme Court.
Trump began his latest attack last Friday with tweets disparaging federal Judge James L. Robart, who temporarily blocked the president’s ban on immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries. Trump first called Robart a “so-called judge,” called his ruling “a terrible decision,” and then suggested Robart would be responsible if a terrorist attack should occur.
On Tuesday, three judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments about whether to lift Robart’s temporary block on the president’s executive order.
Wednesday morning, Trump switched his attack to them, or at least one of them whom he did not name. The president told a gathering of chiefs of police and sheriffs that he doesn’t understand how any judge could rule against him.
“And I don’t ever want to call a court biased, so I won’t call it biased. And we haven’t had a decision yet. But courts seem to be so political and it would be great for our justice system if they would be able to read a statement and do what’s right,” Trump said.
The statement Trump referred to is the federal law granting a president authority to restrict who enters the United States.