HONOLULU — Attorney General Jeff Sessions is learning a lot about Hawaii after he referred to the 50th state as “an island in the Pacific.”
His statement came in a radio interview earlier this week as he criticized the Hawaiian judge blocking President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from several predominantly Muslim countries.
“I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the President of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power,” Sessions said.
The comment didn’t go over well in Hawaii.
The state’s attorney general’s office responded by simply tweeting a photo of The Admission Act, which recognized Hawaii as a state in 1959.
Hawaii’s U.S. senators were also angered by the comments.
Sen. Brian Schatz offered a geography lesson and urged Sessions to “have some respect for his home.”
“State of Hawaii has many islands, not one island. We have around 1.5 m people. Island of Hawaii has 186,000 people. Please use the google,” he tweeted.
Sen. Mazie Hirono tweeted that the comments were “ignorant and dangerous” and reminded him that Hawaii “has been the 50th state for going on 58 years.”
She also reminded Sessions that he had voted to confirm the judge in question, U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson, when he was a senator.
The Encyclopedia Britannica also jumped in with some fact-checking help.
“#Fact: The U.S. state of Hawaii joined the Union in 1959,” it tweeted.
History buffs were quick to point out that Hawaii was the site of the Pearl Harbor attack, which drew the United States into World War II.
Snarky geographers had a warning for New Mexico.
Sessions said he wasn’t criticizing the state; he just doesn’t think a single judge should be able to block the president.
“I think it’s a fabulous place, I have a granddaughter born there,” Sessions said.