Hawaii senators fire back at Sessions' island judge remarks

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-21 14:45:14|Editor: MJ
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LOS ANGELES, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Two U.S. Senators of Hawaii and other politicians on Thursday slammed Attorney General Jeff Sessions over his remarks about a federal judge who halted President Donald Trump's revised travel ban last month.

As one of the most powerful law enforcement officials in the nation,Sessions said in a radio interview Wednesday that he was "really amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order" that stopped President Trump's executive order.

Sessions made these comments after Derrick Watson, a federal judge in Hawaii, last month issued an order that blocked Trump's ban on travelers from several Muslim-majority countries.

His remarks drew quick criticism nationwide, and his dismissal of Hawaii as "an island in the Pacific" sparked outrage in the state.

Hawaii's Democratic federal senator Mazie Hirono criticized Sessions' dismissal of Hawaii with three tweets in one day.

"Hey Jeff Sessions, this #IslandinthePacific# has been the 50th state for going on 58 years. And we won't succumb to your dog whistle politics," she posted early Thursday, then said hours later that "Hawaii was built on the strength of diversity & immigrant experiences -- including my own. Jeff Sessions' comments are ignorant & dangerous."

Another Hawaii federal senator Brian Schatz slammed Sessions' remark on Twitter as well, saying that "Mr. Attorney General: You voted for that judge. And that island is called Oahu. It's my home. Have some respect."

Meanwhile, a federal congresswomen from California, Judy Chu, accused Sessions of racial discrimination on her official Twitter account, saying that "When Sessions was nominated, we warned he didn't view all Americans equally" and dismissing Hawaii proved it.

On Thursday evening, the spokesperson of the Justice Department Ian Prior tried to clarified Sessions' statement.

"Hawaii is, in fact, an island in the Pacific -- a beautiful one where the Attorney General's granddaughter was born," he said. "The point, however, is that there is a problem when a flawed opinion by a single judge can block the President's lawful exercise of authority to keep the entire country safe."