'Nobody has a sense of humor anymore': Jeff Sessions defends his dismissal of Hawaii as just an 'island in the Pacific'

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Sunday defended his dismissal of a Hawaii federal judge who blocked President Donald Trump's travel ban, suggesting that he was joking when he referred to Hawaii as an "island in the Pacific."

"Nobody has a sense of humor anymore," Sessions said in an interview on "This Week."

The attorney general argued that the plaintiffs in the suit — the state of Hawaii and a Hawaiian imam — purposefully chose a venue they believed would be sympathetic, a common legal practice.

"The president has to deal with the Department of Defense, the national intelligence agencies, CIA. He knows the threats to this country. He is responsible for protecting America," Sessions said.

He continued: "This order is lawful. It's within his authority constitutionally and explicit statutory authority. We're going to defend that order all the way up. And so you do have a situation in which one judge out of 700 in America has stopped this order. I think it's a mistake. And we're going to battle in the courts and I think we'll eventually win."

PHOTOS: Hawaii residents respond to Jeff Sessions

13 PHOTOS
Hawaii residents respond to Jeff Sessions' remark
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Hawaii residents respond to Jeff Sessions' remark
We do realize Hawai'i is more than one #islandinthepacific right? ...Right? There's eight...
@jeffsessions we also use coconuts and mangoes as currency here. #IslandInThePacific
I was born on "an island in the Pacific" in 1958, the year it became a state. It's a wonderful place to call home.… https://t.co/WCjl6ObQZA
@BraddJaffy Well, sure, Hawaii has been a state since 1959, but in Sessions defense, he is still living in 1950. #IslandinthePacific
Hey Jeff Sessions, We're amazed that a racist from Alabama can become Attorney General. So guess we're even.… https://t.co/qTaOPc9arY
Sessions: Hawaiians aren't real Americans because a lot of them are brown #IslandInThePacific
I was born an raised on that #islandinthepacific and Jeff Sessons isn't invited.
A really for real State with really for real judges. #IslandInThePacific @jeffsessions @realDonaldTrump https://t.co/V2srHKVVkE
@tedlieu Stay FAR away from this island @jeffsessions! We no like your kine. #islandinthepacific
hey, we're a state, too - #americanhistory #liveitlearnitloveit #IslandinthePacific #TheResistance https://t.co/TTb39hhvGS
@AtghIgov I work on Maui where 90% of my customers r Korean & Vietnam war vets. We r the 50th state!… https://t.co/ENHTLWkoKv
@CynthiaSaylor Right backatcha! #IslandinthePacific, where we #resist. ;)
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The comments came days after the attorney general in an interview with conservative radio host Mark Levin slammed Judge Derrick Watson's ruling.

"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 to Levin.

Sessions said the ruling unfairly psychoanalyzed the president's motives by weighing the president's past statements about the intention of the ban. The Trump administration argued that the ban did not unfairly discriminate against Muslims, while the plaintiffs pointed out that the president and his top advisers had previously called for a Muslim-focused travel ban.

Top Hawaii Democrats including Senators Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono condemned Sessions for his dismissal of Hawaii earlier this week.

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