Congressional Democrats held a rally Monday night on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, in protest of the president’s travel ban on several Muslim-majority nations. (Jan. 30) AP
WASHINGTON — A night after firing his acting attorney general for refusing to defend his new immigration order, President Trump mocked his Democratic congressional critics Tuesday and demanded that the Senate confirm his pick to lead the Department of Justice, Jeff Sessions.
“Nancy Pelosi and Fake Tears Chuck Schumer held a rally at the steps of The Supreme Court and mic did not work (a mess)-just like Dem party!” Trump tweeted, referring to the top Democrats in Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.
The tweets came a morning after Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Q. Yates after she said she refuse to defend Trump’s temporary immigration ban from seven Muslim countries against its many legal challenges. Trump appointed a U.S. attorney from Virginia to run the department until the Senate votes on whether to confirm Sessions, something that is expected this week.
The furor over Trump’s travel ban comes as he prepares to make a major a legal announcement Tuesday night: a Supreme Court nomination.
Democrats blasted Trump’s dismissal of Yates and pledged to make it and the new Trump order a part of the debate over Sessions’ nomination.
“The firing of Sally Yates underscores how important it is to have an Attorney General who will stand up to the White House when they are violating the law,” said Schumer, who has choked up while discussing the impact of Trump’s travel ban. “Many people have doubts about whether Jeff Sessions can be that person.”
Republicans, however, have 52 of the 100 Senate seats, and Sessions is a favorite for confirmation.
While Schumer described the Yates dismissal as a “Monday Night Massacre,” the White House said Trump was well within his rights and that Yates “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.”
In a statement, the White House said that “Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.”
Some Republicans applauded Trump’s moves.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said Trump has the right to use his television catch phrase — “you’re fired” — if there are disagreements. “That’s the only way we’re going to get things cleaned up, and get political hacks out,” he told Fox & Friends.
This very issue came up during Yates’ confirmation hearing in 2015 — upon questions from Sessions himself, then chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee.
“If the views the president wants to execute is unlawful, should the attorney general or deputy attorney general say no?” Sessions asked Yates back then.
Her reply: “Senator, I believe the attorney general or the deputy attorney general has the obligation to follow the law and the Constitution and to give their independent legal advice to the president.”