Speaking to a gathering of law enforcement officials, President Trump doubled down his attack against the Judicial branch, and went after the panel of Appeals Court judges weighing whether a court order blocking his travel ban should be lifted, arguing the judges should immediately reinstate the executive order in the name of national security, although he refrained from criticizing the appeals court directly in his speech on Wednesday.
“I don’t want to call a court biased, so I won’t call it biased,” the president said at a gathering of the Major Cities Chiefs Association in Washington. "The 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, and that has got to do with the security of our country, which is so important."
Trump further argued that his power to limit immigration shouldn’t be challenged in courts, reading aloud in a speech from a U.S. statute giving the president authority to stop the entry of "any class" of foreigner. "You can suspend, you can put restrictions, you can do whatever you want," Trump told a conference of police chiefs and sheriffs in Washington, after reading the law. "It just can’t be written any plainer or better."
Trump made clear he is frustrated that the issue is being litigated at all, and he alluded to the 9th Circuit’s reputation for liberal leanings. "Now we’re in an area that, let’s just say they’re interpreting things differently than probably 100 percent of the people in this room," he said.
The statute Trump read aloud says in part that "whenever the president finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate."
The President also vented his frustration at the legal arguments made by judges and attorneys on both sides of the case, even reading aloud a portion of immigration law he believes backs up his executive order barring the intake of refugees and people from seven Muslim-Majority countries.
“If these judges wanted to, in my opinion, help the court in terms of respect for the court, they’d do what they should be doing” Trump said, adding “a bad high school student would understand this. Anybody would understand this,” he said.
“They were talking about things that just had nothing to do this,” he said of the judges, notin his amazement that it is "amazing we have a case going on for so long."
“But I have to be honest that if these judges wanted to, in my opinion, help the court in terms of respect for the court, they do what they should be doing," he added. "It’s so sad."
Trump: “If these judges wanted to, in my opinion, help the court in terms of respect for the court, they’d do what they should be doing” pic.twitter.com/22nnv8jnHz— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 8, 2017
As reported earlier, it’s unusual for a president to publicly comment on court cases dealing with their policy proposals, particularly as a court is weighing a case, even more when the Supreme Court is likely to make a subsequent ruling.
Trump said on Tuesday evening that he watched the oral arguments in front of a three-judge panel of the San-Francisco based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which was broadcast live on cable news. Trump argued that the country is in danger of being attacked by terrorists as long as the order is on hold.
“I think it’s sad, I think it’s a sad day,” he said. “I think our security is at risk today. And it will be at risk until such time that we are entitled and get what we are entitled to as citizens of this country. We want security.”
"Right now, we are at risk because of what happened," he said, adding later in the speech: "Believe me, I’ve learned a lot in the last two weeks. And terrorism is a far greater threat than the people of our country understand."
Whatever the ruling, the losing side is almost certain to turn to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Then, moments ago, Trump followed up his address in the usual way: with a tweet.