WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Monday night fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she said the Justice Department would not defend Trump’s executive order banning refugees from seven Muslim-majority nations.

The White House statement announcing Yates’ firing said she “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States. . . .”

“Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.

“It is time to get serious about protecting our country. Calling for tougher vetting for individuals travelling from seven dangerous places is not extreme. It is reasonable and necessary to protect our country.”

This was Trump’s first firing, coming 10 days after taking office.

Trump signed an executive order on Friday barring people from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya, nations with Muslim majorities, from entering the U.S. for 90 days.

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates speaks at the Justice Department in Washington on June 28, 2016. On Monday, President Donald Trump fired Yates. | J. David Ake/AP

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates speaks at the Justice Department in Washington on June 28, 2016. On Monday, President Donald Trump fired Yates. | J. David Ake/AP

In a statement earlier on Monday, Yates, a holdover appointee of former President Barack Obama, said of the executive order Trump signed on Friday, “At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful.

“Consequently, for as long as I am the acting attorney general, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the executive order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so,” she said.

The Senate has not yet confirmed Trump’s Attorney General nominee, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Yates’ firing will not speed up the process.

Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schemer, D-N.Y., said in a statement that the Democratic resistance to Sessions — who apparently did not play a role in the crafting of the executive order — may increase as a result of Trump’s firing.

“The firing of Sally Yates underscores how important it is to have an Attorney General who will stand up to the White House when they are violating the law. Many people have doubts about whether Jeff Sessions can be that person, and the full Senate and the American people should at the very least know exactly how independent he plans to be before voting on him,” Schumer said.

“The Attorney General should be loyal and pledge fidelity to the law, not the White House,” he said. “The fact that this administration doesn’t understand that is chilling.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee held two days of hearings on his nomination earlier this month.

Trump complained earlier on Monday via Twitter “about The Democrats are delaying my cabinet picks for purely political reasons. They have nothing going but to obstruct. Now have an Obama A.G”

A White House press secretary said that Dana Boente, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, was sworn in to serve as acting attorney general at 9 a.m. Monday night, according to the pool report.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement, “Tonight, the Acting Attorney General was fired for upholding the Constitution of the United States. What the Trump Administration calls betrayal is an American with the courage to say that the law and the Constitution come first.

“President Trump’s executive order violates the Constitution, dishonors our values, and weakens the security of the United States,” she said. “National security experts are warning that the President’s ban will make it harder, not easier to defeat terror.

Below, the White House Statement on the Appointment of Dana Boente as Acting Attorney General

“The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States. This order was approved as to form and legality by the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel.

“Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration.

“It is time to get serious about protecting our country. Calling for tougher vetting for individuals travelling from seven dangerous places is not extreme. It is reasonable and necessary to protect our country.

“Tonight, President Trump relieved Ms. Yates of her duties and subsequently named Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to serve as Acting Attorney General until Senator Jeff Sessions is finally confirmed by the Senate, where he is being wrongly held up by Democrat senators for strictly political reasons.

“I am honored to serve President Trump in this role until Senator Sessions is confirmed. I will defend and enforce the laws of our country to ensure that our people and our nation are protected,” said Dana Boente, Acting Attorney General.”