President Donald Trump has blasted U.S. District Judge James Robart of Seattle for placing a temporary block on his executive order prohibiting the admittance of refugees from U.S. entry and placing a travel ban on citizens from several Muslim-majority countries. Trump has urged his social media followers to blame Robart if a terrorist attack occurs in the future.
On Feb. 3, Robart placed a temporary nationwide block against Trump's executive order, placing a considerable legal hurdle on the travel ban. Robart ruled that the executive order's citing of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks was not a proper justification, noting that none of the countries listed in the travel prohibition had citizens who participated in the attack, Reuters reports.
Robart ruled that the executive order would have been constitutional had it been "based in fact, as opposed to fiction."
On Feb. 4, Trump took to social media to blast Robart, accusing him of endangering the nation's safety.
"The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!" Trump tweeted out.
On Feb. 5, the president went even further, asserting that if a terrorist attack occurs during his tenure, Americans should blame Robart instead of his administration, according to The Huffington Post.
"Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril," Trump tweeted out. "If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!"
The U.S. judiciary system is independent of the White House, with judges historically given the discretion to make court rulings regardless of the executive branch's wishes.
In 2004, Robart was appointed to his bench by former President George W. Bush. He was confirmed by a unanimous vote in the Senate. In his personal life, Robart and his wife host multiple foster children, USA Today reports.
The ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, issued a statement blasting Trump for his comments.
"The president's hostility toward the rule of law is not just embarrassing, it is dangerous," Leahy said. "He seems intent on precipitating a constitutional crisis. And now he is attempting to bully and disparage yet another federal judge -- this one appointed by a Republican president and confirmed by a Republican Senate -- for having the audacity to do his job and apply the rule of the law."
On Feb. 6, White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended Trump's comments towards Robart.
"The law is very clear that the president has broad powers to keep this country safe and to limit access to people that could come into this country and do us harm ... And it's somewhat sad to see a judge go rogue like this," Spicer told Fox News' "Fox and Friends."