Pence defends Trump criticism of ‘so-called judge’

Vice President Mike Pence is defending President Trump‘s criticism of a federal judge who blocked an executive order temporarily barring immigrants and refugees from seven countries from entering into the country.

In an interview set to air Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Pence tells George Stephanopoulos that he is glad the president spoke his mind when calling the judge who blocked the immigration order a “so-called judge.”

President Trump‘s made it clear that our administration is going to put the safety and security of the American people first,” Pence said. “And the executive order that he put into effect, which suspends immigration from seven countries that have been compromised by terrorism and don’t have the kind of internal systems that we can be certain that people that are applying to come to this country are who they say they are was legal — it was appropriate and our administration is going to be using all legal means at our disposal to challenge the judge’s order.”

Stephanopoulos asked if the president’s tweet was appropriate.

“Is it right for the president to say ‘so-called’ judge’? Doesn’t that undermine the separation of powers in the Constitution?” he asked.

“I don’t think it does,” Pence replied. “I think the American people are very accustomed to this president speaking his mind and speaking very straight with them.”

The temporary restraining order blocks the federal government from implementing a ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

According to Pence, the federal government will challenge the Friday order by U.S. District Judge James Robart. However, the vice president did note that the judge did have the authority to stay the executive order.

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“He certainly does, and that’s why the administration is complying with that order as we speak. And we’ll go through the process in the courts to get a stay of that order, so that, again, we can implement this action that is entirely focused on the safety and security of the American people,” said Pence.

The Department of Homeland Security announced it would comply with Robart’s order and, per acting press secretary Gillian Christensen, the agency “has suspended any and all actions implementing the affected sections of the Executive Order.”

DHS confirmed that the Justice Department will file an emergency stay of Robart’s order, a move Christensen called “lawful and appropriate.”

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This post originally appeared on Washington Examiner

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