Friday, U.S. District Judge James L. Robart issued a ruling halting President Donald Trump's immigration-focused executive order.
As part of a Saturday morning tweet-storm, Trump used the phrase "so-called judge" when referring to Robart:
The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2017
As of this publication, the tweet has over 32,000 retweets and 150,000 "likes."
It would certainly be justifiable to question Judge Robart's decision on legal grounds. In a way, President Trump did that when he said that Robart's decision "is ridiculous and will be overturned!" However, by using the phrase "so-called judge," Trump is undermining the entire judicial branch.
By questioning the very legitimacy of Robart's position as a judge, Trump is planting seeds in the minds of his supporters. These seeds will grow until a culture has developed in which it's acceptable to not simply question the legal decisions of judges, but to undermine the judicial system at large if the proclamation of a judge does not comport with one's understanding of the world.
The puncture of such a fundamental part of our republic is insidious; it will have long-term repercussions. Trump has already fostered a deep distrust of Washington insiders, but with this latest tweet, he's begun to pick at the foundation upon which Washington itself is built--and at least 150,000 people agree.