It’s no secret President Donald Trump doesn’t take kindly to judges who disagree with him, but his disrespect for the judicial branch hit an unprecedented low point on Sunday.
Shortly before the president appeared in a brief pre-Super Bowl interview on Fox’s O’Reilly Factor, Trump tweeted this:
The judge he appears to be threatening is James Robart, a federal district court judge in Washington who last Friday ordered a nationwide halt to Trump’s order blocking immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Trump also went on a Twitter rampage Saturday morning, calling Robart a “so-called judge” and stated that his ruling is “ridiculous.”
But implying that Robart’s order could somehow expose the U.S. to risk, or as Trump phrased it, put the country “in such peril,” is astounding in that it disregards the U.S.’ enormous national security apparatus and specific protocols in place that have kept the United States relatively safe from major terror attacks since 9/11.
It’s not even clear what Trump’s overriding fear is, other than judges who disagree with him. In a second tweet Sunday evening, he complained again about the courts:
In normal situations, a president with a deep concern or some kind of intelligence about a pending attack would turn to the appropriate law enforcement agencies and his military advisers. But what Trump’s tweets likely reveal instead is an unwillingness to respect the opinions of the two other branches of government—something known as checks and balances.
In an emergency appeal of Robart’s ruling to the Ninth Circuit early Sunday morning—which the Trump administration also lost—Acting Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued that the decision was an “impermissible intrusion on the political branches’ plenary constitutional authority over foreign affairs, national security, and immigration.”
In other words, do as I say, or else.