Anyone can comment on judges, whether or not they're politicians, and President Donald Trump is far from being the first commander in chief to lecture the judiciary, Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday, and further, he said he has no insight as to why Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch would refer to comments made about the judiciary as being "disheartening."
"Judges are human; justices are human," the Kentucky Republican told MSNBC's "Morning Joe," when asked about Trump's comments concerning federal Judge James Robart.
"People will make comments. I don't have insight to tell somebody one way or another they shouldn't have an opinion."
Further, he pointed out there were similar complaints ex-President Barack Obama was delegitimizing the judiciary branch when he was "lecturing the Supreme Court leading up to the Obamacare decision. This is not the first time a president has gotten involved with lecturing the judiciary."
And when it comes to Trump's complaints on Twitter, including calling Robart a "so-called" judge, Paul said he "can't control what is tweeted from the White House."
"The Constitution does not forbid the president from having opinions about the court," Paul said. "I do believe very, very strongly in the separation of powers. I don't think that includes one branch not criticizing the other."
Paul also said Thursday he does not understand why Democrats are strongly opposing Gorsuch's confirmation, when the Senate had confirmed the judge unanimously for his seat as an appellate judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver.
"What has changed?" Paul said. "He was unanimously voted by all Democrats to be on the appellate court, the highest court in the land. I wonder why they are changing their minds?"
The senator also doubled down on his opposition to reports Trump could name Elliott Abrams, a former assistant secretary of state during President Ronald Reagan's administration to the State Department.
In 1991, during the Iran-Contra affair, Abrams was convicted of a misdemeanor for withholding information from Congress. President George H.W. Bush later granted him a pardon.
"I will not vote for him," Paul said. "I will be part of filibustering his nomination if he comes forward. The main reason is, I don't think he agrees with the president on foreign policy.
"The president, even this morning was saying he disagrees with getting bogged down on foreign wars with nation building. That's the foreign policy of Elliott Abrams, chief architect of the Iraq War and a big fan of nation building."
Abrams was also "quite dismissive" of Trump during his 2016 campaign, Paul said, and "it's hard to imagine a never Trumper would be in the State Department, particularly one that has been very, very vocal and disrespectful in many ways to Donald Trump."
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