After Sessions Remark, DOJ Says Hawaii ‘Is, In Fact, An Island In The Pacific’

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

After Attorney General Jeff Sessions questioned the authority of a U.S. federal judge “sitting on an island in the Pacific” to block the President Donald Trump’s travel ban, the Justice Department pointed out that Sessions was right both on his geography and his argument for the ban’s legality.

“Hawaii is, in fact, an island in the Pacific – a beautiful one where the Attorney General’s granddaughter was born,” Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior said in a statement. “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.”

Sessions’ comment about U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson, who blocked a revised version of Trump’s executive order barring immigrants from six predominantly Muslim countries, left some critics wondering if the attorney general even considered Hawaii a state.

“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,” Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) said in a tweet.

Her fellow Democratic senator from the Aloha State, Brian Schatz, asked Sessions to “have some respect.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.
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