It appears Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is already turning on him.
According to the Washington Post, Judge Neil Gorsuch expressed his objections to Trump’s attack on the judiciary after federal district court Judge James Robart issued a nationwide block on the president’s temporary travel ban. Gorsuch reportedly told lawmakers he found Trump’s comments “demoralizing” and “disheartening.”
“I told[Gorsuch] how abhorrent Donald Trump’s invective and insults are towards the judiciary. And he said to me that he found them ‘disheartening’ and ‘demoralizing’—his words,” Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal said. “[He] stated very emotionally and strongly his belief in his fellow judges’ integrity and the principle of judicial independence […] And I made clear to him that that belief requires him to be stronger and more explicit, more public in his views.”
Gorsuch's spokesman Ron Bonjean confirmed the comments, which were made during a private meeting.
Trump criticized Robart’s decision to halt what many are calling a “Muslim ban.” He has since taken aim at the judges who will determine whether or not to reinstate the order, insisting the ban was good for the country and that a bad high school student could see that.
“If you were a good student in high school or a bad student in high school, you can understand this and it’s really incredible to me that we have a court case that’s going on so long,” Trump said Wednesday during a conference in Washington. “But courts seem to be so political and it would be so great for our justice system if they would be able to read a statement and do what’s right […] Right now, we are at risk because of what happened.”
Legal experts and politicians from both major parties have condemned Trump’s comments, calling them an attack on the independence of the federal courts. Gorsuch’s criticism of the president could help him during his confirmation process, as many lawmakers have expressed concern over the nominee’s ability to demonstrate judicial independence from Tump; however, not everyone thinks the criticism was a smart move.