For the second year in a row, President Trump held a Thanksgiving Day conference call with members of all five branches of the military to thank them for their service and check in on the status of their mission.
Speaking over the phone from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump told members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard that he and First Lady Melania Trump wanted to express their “profound gratitude.”
“Your courage truly inspires us,” Trump said.
After his call with the members of the military, Trump and the first lady plan to visit a Coast Guard station as they did last year.
While the president spent most of his time getting updates from the various branches of the military, he did take some pointed shots at his favorite target of the moment: the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar issued a temporary restraining order late Monday against Trump’s plan to refuse asylum to immigrants who cross the southern border illegally if they do not arrive at a port of entry.
“It’s a terrible thing when judges take over protective services, when they tell you how to protect the border,” Trump said on the phone Thursday, adding that the court has “become a big thorn in our sides.”
“It’s a disgrace,” he added.
The president’s comments come just hours after he started Thursday morning by continuing his extraordinary public dispute with Chief Justice John Roberts. Trump is warning of “bedlam, chaos, injury and death” if the courts block his efforts to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws.
Trump has never been reticent about criticizing the judiciary. Last year, the president scorned the “so-called judge” who made the first federal ruling against his travel ban. During the presidential campaign, he criticized Roberts for the chief justice’s decisive vote in 2012 to preserve President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.
Trump also referred to an Indiana-born judge of Mexican descent, who was presiding over a fraud lawsuit against Trump University, as a Mexican who would be unable to rule fairly because of Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.