by Brian Bennett
President Trump has launched an assault on the independence of the judiciary, accusing federal judges of playing politics by suspending his travel ban and suggesting they risk national security by restricting his ability to block visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries.
His attacks drew a striking rebuke Wednesday from appeals court Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, his nominee for the vacant seat on the Supreme Court, who called the president’s remarks disheartening and demoralizing in a meeting with a Democratic senator.
Trump punctuated a flurry of tweets and statements in recent days with a high-profile speech that marked an escalation of the president’s use of the bully pulpit by attacking judges personally.
“If these judges wanted to, in my opinion, help the court, in terms of respect for the court, they do what they should be doing,” Trump said earlier Wednesday, coaxing judges to rule in his favor with a typically free-form remark to a gathering of police chiefs in Washington.