Social media outrage as Sessions calls Hawaii 'island in the Pacific'

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Social media did not take kindly to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions referring to the country’s 50th state of Hawaii as just “an island in the Pacific.”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions looks out towards Mexico as he stands by a secondary border fence during visit to the U.S. Mexico border area in San Diego, California, U.S. April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Using the hashtag #IslandinthePacific, many on Twitter reminded Sessions that Hawaii is in fact part of the country, the birthplace of former President Barack Obama and home to Pearl Harbor.

Sessions told “The Mark Levin Show” earlier this week that he was “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 was referring to Judge Derrick Watson, a federal district court judge in Honolulu, who struck down the second version of Trump’s immigration order banning immigrants from six majority-Muslim countries temporarily. He ruled the order discriminated against Muslims.

The now infamous phrase from Sessions has been mentioned more than 27,000 times online, according to Brandwatch, a social media monitoring company.

The Attorney General of Hawaii’s office (@Atghlgov) tweeted an image of the act admitting Hawaii into the Union in 1959. The post was one of the office’s most viral yet with more 3,000 likes and nearly 2,000 thousand retweets.

Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) tweeted: “Hey Jeff Sessions, this #IslandinthePacific has been the 50th state for going on 58 years. And we won’t succumb to your dog whistle politics.”

Senator Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) wrote: “Mr. Attorney General: You voted for that judge. And that island is called Oahu. It’s my home. Have some respect.”

Twitter user Jared M. Gordon (@JaredMGordon) tweeted: “Really amazed that an attorney general with ancestors from Britain (itself an island!) can be such an ignorant bigot. #IslandInThePacific”

Hawaii was the first state to sue over Trump’s revised ban.

Additional reporting by Melissa Fares; Editing by Lisa Shumaker