Pence: Trump’s Criticism of Federal Judge is “Refreshing”

In an interview with Chuck Todd on NBC’s Meet the Press, Vice President Mike Pence said that he was not concerned about President Trump’s criticism of the federal judge who blocked the administration’s travel ban.

Asked Sunday about Trump’s remarks, where he called Federal Judge  James Robart a “so-called judge,” Pence said that many Americans were happy to have a president willing to speak out against bad judiciary decisions.

“The president of the United States has every right to criticize the other branch of government, we have a long history of that in our country,” Pence said. “I think people find it not only refreshing, they understand the president’s mind and how he feels about things and he expresses himself in a unique way.”

In the interview, filmed before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the DOJ’s request for a stay of the lower court decision, Pence noted that Robart’s ruling was “at odds with the federal district court of Boston that upheld the constitutionality” of the executive order.

Robart, he said, was “making decisions about America foreign policy and national security” – putting him well beyond his own proper sphere of influence. Pence said that it was “frustrating to the president and the whole administration and millions of Americans who want to see judges that will uphold the law.”

In a separate Sunday interview with Fox News, Pence said he was confident that Trump would ultimately prevail in the courts.

“From the outset of his campaign and administration, the president of the United States has made it clear to put the safety of the American people first,” Pence said. “We are going to win this argument.”

Judging by what’s happened thus far, that’s a little tough to believe, but we’ll see how this plays out in the coming days. The problem with this executive order is that it was rushed. That’s what caused all the furor, and that’s why the courts are pushing back so vehemently. If this had been done cautiously and deliberately, we might have seen a different outcome.

We can’t, however, discount the possibility that Trump wanted to create a bit of chaos just to set the tone for his immigration policies. The foundation of Trump’s campaign – and, indeed, his career in real estate and television – is negotiation. He shoots for the stars; that way, if he fails, he still winds up much further along than he might have gotten if he’d aimed lower. What appears at first to be failure turns out to be success.

In other words, Trump may be playing rope-a-dope with the left. He knows they can’t sustain this level of hysterical opposition for the next four years. When we look back on the first weeks of his presidency, the method to his madness could become clear.

Even if that’s not the case, we can’t fault him for trying to keep this country safe. As Pence said, it’s certainly refreshing.