‘Give Me a Break’: Sessions Says He Would Not ‘Phrase Differently’ His #islandinthepacific Comments


'I Think That Was a Perfectly Correct Statement'

Jeff Sessions has no regrets. The Attorney General is not backing down from his flippant and hurtful remarks suggesting, intentionally or not, that Hawaii is not a state of equal value to the republic, and that federal judges ruling from that state are not equal to those on what is often called the "mainland."

"I think that was a perfectly correct statement," Sessions told Ali Velshi on MSNBC late Friday morning.

On Wednesday, the Attorney General told a far right wing radio host, "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."

Referring to the nation's 50th state as merely an island in the Pacific drew outrage from the state's two U.S. Senators. One referred to his remarks as "dog whistle politics," and the other said: "Mr. Attorney General: You voted for that judge. And that island is called Oahu. It's my home. Have some respect."

Sessions' remarks also solicited this tweet, a photo of the 1959 law admitting Hawaii as the 50th state in the nation, from the Attorney General of the State of Hawaii:

Velshi confronted Sessions directly, pointing out that he had "diminished a federal judge" and he had also suggested that if "they're not on the mainland United States, it's not as important."

"Give me a break," Sessions said, insisting he wasn't diminishing the judge or the state with his remarks.

"I was just making a point, one judge, out of 700, has stopped the President of the United States from doing what he believes is necessary to protect our safety and security," Sessions said.

It's truly disturbing, albeit not surprising given Sessions' long and ugly history, that the Attorney General does not support the rule of law or understand that the judiciary is a co-equal branch of the federal government, that deserves his utmost respect. What if the President of the United States decided that rounding up, say, all Muslims, or LGBT people, or Japanese people in America was "necessary to protect our safety and security"?

The Attorney General should know better. Americans should be scared and angered that he does not.

On CNN, Sessions offered a similar response.

"I don't know that I said anything that I would want to phrase differently," Session said, when asked if he regretted his remarks. "No. We’re going to defend the president's order. We believe it’s constitutional."

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