GOP senator: Gorsuch 'got pretty passionate' about Trump ripping judges

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) on Thursday said President Trump's Supreme Court nominee passionately criticized Trump's attacks on federal judges during a meeting, contradicting the president's tweet about Gorsuch's views.

"Judge Gorsuch and I actually talked about that and frankly, he got pretty passionate about it," Sasse told MSNBC's "Morning Joe," moments after Trump accused a Democratic senator of misrepresenting Judge Neil Gorsuch's views.

"I asked him about the 'so-called judges' comment, because we don't have so-called judges or so-called presidents or so-called senators, and this is a guy who kind of welled up on with some energy and he said any attack on any of I think his term to me was brothers or sisters of the robe is an attack on all judges."

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Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told reporters Wednesday that Gorsuch called Trump's tweets attacking federal judges "disheartening" and "demoralizing."

A spokesman for Gorsuch later confirmed to CNN that the judge used the terms when describing Trump's tweets during his meeting with the Connecticut Democrat.

Despite the confirmation by Gorsuch’s spokesman, Trump tweeted Thursday morning that those weren’t the judge’s true feelings.

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

Sasse said Gorsuch believes in an independent judiciary.

"What I saw in that guy is he got some energy about it, was this isn't about somebody who's just been nominated to the Supreme Court," Sasse said.

"This is a guy, if he were on traffic court, in Colorado or in Nebraska, would have the same view. He understands why we have three branches."

Sasse said that's a good reason Gorsuch's nomination shouldn't be politicized.

"People all across the political spectrum should love the fact that he's going to be a warrior for a constitutional system of executive restraint and limits."

On Saturday, Trump ripped the "so-called judge" in Seattle who halted his travel ban, saying the ruling was "ridiculous and will be overturned."

Federal Judge James Robart, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush and approved by a 99-0 Senate vote in 2004, issued an immediate nationwide restraining order late last week on Trump’s order, which bars refugees and people from seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the U.S.

Trump has fought the decision since.

On Wednesday president also went after the panel of federal judges weighing the Department of Justice's appeal to restore the travel ban.