Senator Chuck Grassley.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley disagrees with a federal judge’s ruling that reverses President Trump’s executive order to temporarily halt immigration from seven mostly-Muslim nations.

“I have looked at the 1952 law that I think is appropriate here and it gives great discretion to the president,” Grassley says. “I think even a very liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals would be hard-pressed to say that the president doesn’t have the authority he has.”

After Judge James Robart blocked President Trump’s immigration order, the president referred to him as a “so-called” judge and called the ruling “ridiculous”. Grassley says he’s not concerned about the president’s reaction on Twitter. Grassley says that’s why we have checks-and-balances and three separate branches of government allowing the president and members of Congress to be set apart from judges.

“They’re meant to be very independent and you’d expect them to be independent and not act in a political way,” Grassley says. “We in the Congress can say we agree with the president or disagree with the president because we answer to our constituents and not to the president of the United States.” Judge Robart was appointed by President George W. Bush, a Republican.

On another issue, Grassley will meet Thursday with former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, President Trump’s pick to be the next secretary of agriculture.

“I don’t know Governor Perdue so I’m looking forward to this meeting and getting better acquainted with him,” Grassley says, “because who’s secretary of agriculture is important to a large part of the economy of Iowa.” Grassley says he’s not particularly concerned that Perdue hasn’t been a farmer, though he’s was involved in the ag industry and became a veterinarian before entering politics.

“I’m most concerned about how he sees the institution of the family farm,” Grassley says, “because Iowa has about 87- 88- 89,000 family farming units whereas Georgia has about half that amount.” Grassley says the “institution of the family farm is what’s strong about American agriculture,” and he wants to hear Perdue’s views on that.

Grassley sits on the Senate Ag Committee before which Perdue will appear as part of the confirmation process. The most recent U-S ag secretary was Tom Vilsack, a former Iowa governor.