Attorney General Jeff Sessions refused to back down from a statement Wednesday evening that dismissed a federal judge striking down President Trump's immigration order as "a judge, sitting on an island in the Pacific."
"Well, I think that was a perfectly correct statement. We have some 700 federal judges. One of them has now stopped the president of the United States, who is briefed daily from the Department of Defense, the CIA, the Department of Justice, Homeland Security, on the dangers and threats we face," Sessions told MSNBC. "He's issued a perfectly reasonable executive order that delays six countries for 90 days from being brought — immigrants coming here because we cannot vet them."
Sessions added that he wasn't trying to insult Hawaii.
"I wasn't diminishing the judge or the island of Hawaii, that beautiful place. Give me a break," he said. "I was just making the point that's very real, 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 was mocked by Democrats Thursday for the remark. Some questioned whether he realized Hawaii was a state and others criticized him for dismissing the nation's 50th state as just "an island in the Pacific."
Judge Derrick Watson, a federal district court judge in Honolulu, struck down the second version of Trump's immigration order banning immigrants from six majority-Muslim countries temporarily. Watson ruled the order discriminated against Muslims.
It was the second version of the order to be struck down by the courts.