A federal judge has been removed from overseeing citizenship ceremonies after telling newly sworn-in citizens that they should move to another country if they could not accept Donald Trump as president.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John Primomo insisted that he only meant to remind new citizens to respect the office of the presidency, and he claims he did not vote for Trump himself, but he’s been hailed as a hero by conservative websites, reported the San Antonio Express-News.
“I can assure you that whether you voted for (Trump) or you did not vote for him, if you are a citizen of the United States, he is your president,” Primomo said during a swearing-in ceremony, according to the KENS report. “He will be your president, and if you do not like that, you need to go to another country.”
The 64-year-old Primono, who has sworn in more than 100,000 new citizens since 1989, insisted that he wasn’t trying to tell the new Americans they weren’t welcome if they didn’t back Trump.
“I would never say anything like that,” Primono said. I wasn’t trying to say anything for or against Donald Trump. I was just trying to say something hopeful and unifying, and unfortunately it was taken out of context.”
KENS also reported that Primono criticized anti-Trump protesters who carry signs saying “not my president,” and he also complained about NFL players who kneel in silent protest during the national anthem.
“I detest that, because you can protest things that happen in this country — you have every right to,” Primomo said. “You don’t do that by offending national symbols like the national anthem and the flag of the United States.”
The U.S. district judges at San Antonio’s federal courthouse, who oversee federal magistrate judges, said Primono would no longer preside over citizenship ceremonies.
Primono has been reappointed several times by the district judges, and his current eight-year term expires in 2020.
He is eligible for retirement next year.
Magistrate judges can be removed under federal law only for incompetence, misconduct, neglect of duty or if mental or physical disability interferes with their duties.