Trump disputes account of Supreme Court pick's remarks

WASHINGTON, Feb 9 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Thursday disputed accounts that his Supreme Court pick was disheartened by the Republican president's attacks on judges, saying Judge Neil Gorsuch's comments were misrepresented.

Gorsuch's remarks describing Trump's Twitter attacks on the judiciary as "demoralizing" and "disheartening" were confirmed on Wednesday by Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist hired by the White House to guide his nomination through the U.S. Senate.

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Reaction to President Trump nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
Supreme Court nominee Judge Gorsuch firmly stands as a strict constructionist, fitting the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Judge Neil Gorsuch is a phenomenal nominee for the #SCOTUS. https://t.co/qQIeFmXE3O https://t.co/QoiGqCZ2dH
His presence will turn back the clock on equality and acceptance. https://t.co/9GXzqV5GpW
I wholeheartedly applaud President Trump for nominating Judge Gorsuch: https://t.co/nJ2kxct3vM
Judge Gorsuch is eminently qualified to serve on the #SCOTUS. @POTUS should be commended. Look forward to a fair Senate process.
My statement on @POTUS' excellent selection of Neil Gorsuch as our next #SCOTUS Justice https://t.co/z7TNYvd0ie
Trump is about to announce his pick for a Supreme Court Judge, but it looks a lot more like what you and I went through on @nbc @clayaiken!
The #NRA applauds the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s #SCOTUS seat! #2A https://t.co/Kg1mPScg8D
Neil Gorsuch will make an outstanding #SCOTUS justice—he has a clear record that shows he'll follow the Constitution and uphold rule of law.
My statement on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court: https://t.co/rcpdTgOZ3J
@realDonaldTrump picking #SCOTUSnominee is even more tense than when he picked @LeezaGibbons over me on his last season of #CelebApprentice
NOTEWORTHY: #NeilGorsuch unanimously passed the Senate by voice-vote in 2006, w/ support from Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Schumer & Obama
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Gorsuch made those comments in a meeting with Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, who had urged him to go public.

Trump, offering no evidence and taking a swipe at Blumenthal, disputed the account in a Twitter post early on Thursday.

"Sen.Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie),now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?" Trump wrote.

As a Senate candidate in 2010, Blumenthal came under fire after the New York Times quoted him in a speech saying he "served in Vietnam" and posted the audio on its website. Blumenthal said he had used "misplaced words" about his Vietnam service but never meant to deceive voters.

Trump himself received five draft deferments during the Vietnam War, including one for bone spurs in his heel, the Times reported in August.

Trump, who took office on Jan. 20, took to Twitter over the weekend to condemn the Friday night order by Judge James Robart that placed on hold the president's Jan. 27 temporary travel ban on people from seven countries and all refugees.

The administration appealed that ruling to a three-judge federal panel, which is due to decide on the issue this week.

Trump called Robart a "so-called judge" whose "ridiculous" opinion "essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country."

U.S. presidents are usually hesitant to weigh in on judicial matters out of respect for a U.S. Constitution clause ensuring a separation of powers between the executive branch, Congress and the judiciary.

Trump nominated Gorsuch on Jan. 31 to succeed Justice Antonin Scalia on the nine-member court. Scalia died a year ago this month. Blumenthal is a member of the Judiciary Committee that will hold a confirmation hearing on Gorsuch's nomination.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu, Susan Heavey, Richard Cowan; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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