Hawaiian lawmakers are criticizing Attorney General Jeff Sessions for calling Hawaii “an island in the Pacific” while criticizing a federal judge’s blocking of President Trump’s revised travel ban.
The comments came in an appearance on “The Mark Levin Show” Wednesday evening, according to CNN. Asked about judicial appointments, Sessions said he had gained new perspective from Trump’s legal battles over his executive orders.
“This is a huge matter,” he said. “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.”
Hawaii’s elected representatives did not take the comments lightly. Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat, responded on Twitter saying Sessions voted for Judge Watson and calling on the attorney general to show respect.
Mr. Attorney General: You voted for that judge. And that island is called Oahu. It39;s my home. Have some respect. https://t.co/sW9z3vqBqG- Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) April 20, 2017
Hawaii’s other Senator, Mazie Hirono, also called out Sessions on Twitter.
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- Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) April 20, 2017
Hawaii was built on the strength of diversity & immigrant experiences- including my own. Jeff Sessions’ comments are ignorant & dangerous- Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) April 20, 2017
Sessions, who previously represented Alabama in the U.S. Senate, was 12 when Hawaii was granted statehood in 1959.
According to the Huffington Post, the Justice Department responded by noting Sessions’ accuracy on the placement of the state of Hawaii. “Hawaii is, in fact, an island in the Pacific,” a DOJ spokesperson said.