Sessions said in an interview on ABC's "This Week" why he didn't just refer to Hawaii by its name. "But I got to tell you, it's a point worth making that a single sitting judge out of 600, 700 district judges can issue an order stopping a presidential executive order that I believe is fully constitutional, created to protect the United States of America from terrorist attacks".
Sessions' comments prompted backlash from Hawaii's Democratic senators and representatives in Congress.
The data offered by Sessions was apparently from a July 2011 report by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, citing $4.2 billion in refundable tax credits paid out to USA residents who were ineligible for work, according to Politico. "We're gonna defend that order all the way up". "He is responsible for protecting America", the attorney general said.
The Post's Matt Zapotosky explains why a federal judge in Hawaii on March 15 ruled to freeze President Trump's second travel ban hours before it went into effect.
Sen. Mazie Hirono called the comments "ignorant and unsafe".
Imagine if I began a column about Attorney General Jeff Sessions this way: "I really am amazed that an attorney general who hails from a former Confederate state in the Deep South can issue a series of orders wrecking efforts to reform police practices, cutting back on voting rights and restarting the war on drugs".
Sen. Brian Schatz said: "that island is called Oahu. It's my home. Have some respect".
People, especially those from Hawaii, were not amused.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions says people should lighten up about controversial comments he made earlier this week about the state of Hawaii. "ICE detainer requests are just that - requests", said the mayor, "and holding undocumented immigrants without a warrant is purely voluntary, and some courts have called it unconstitutional".
In response, the Department of Justice tried to walk back Sessions' remarks, saying in a statement that "Hawaii is, in fact, an island in the Pacific ― a lovely one where the Attorney General's granddaughter was born".