A federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide order Wednesday evening blocking President Trump’s ban on travel from parts of the Muslim world, dealing a stinging blow to the White House and signaling that Mr. Trump will have to account in court for his heated rhetoric about Islam.
The ruling was the second major setback for Mr. Trump in his pursuit of a policy he has trumpeted as critical for national security. His first attempt to sharply limit travel from a handful of predominantly Muslim countries ended in a courtroom fiasco last month, when a federal court in Seattle halted it.
Mr. Trump issued a new and narrower travel ban, affecting six countries, on March 6, trying to satisfy the courts by removing some of the most contentious elements of the original version.
But in a pointed decision that repeatedly invoked Mr. Trump’s public comments, the judge, Derrick K. Watson of Federal District Court in Honolulu, wrote that a “reasonable, objective observer” would view even the new order as “issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously neutral purpose.”
Mr. Trump lashed out at Judge Watson during a campaign-style rally in Nashville late on Wednesday. Raising his voice to a hoarse shout, Mr. Trump accused the judge of ruling “for political reasons” and criticized the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which upheld the earlier decision against his administration and will hear any appeal to the Hawaii ruling.
“This ruling makes us look weak, which by the way we no longer are, believe me,” Mr. Trump said, to mounting cheers from a loyal crowd.
Mr. Trump even said he might reissue the initial version of the order, rather than the one blocked on Wednesday, which he described as “a watered-down version of the first one.”
After he signed the revised ban, Democratic attorneys general and nonprofit groups that work with immigrants and refugees raced back into court against Mr. Trump, alleging that his updated decree was still a thinly veiled version of the ban on Muslim migration that he had pledged to enact as a presidential candidate.
Judge Watson, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, ruled that the State of Hawaii and an individual plaintiff, Ismail Elshikh, the imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, had reasonable grounds to challenge the order as religious discrimination. And he concluded that allowing the travel restrictions to go into effect at midnight, as scheduled, could have caused them irreparable harm.
Judge Watson flatly rejected the government’s argument that a court would have to investigate Mr. Trump’s “veiled psyche” to deduce religious animus. He quoted extensively from the remarks by Mr. Trump that were cited in the lawsuit brought by Hawaii’s attorney general, Doug Chin.
“For instance, there is nothing ‘veiled’ about this press release,” Judge Watson wrote, quoting a Trump campaign document titled “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”