Before departing for a campaign rally in Fayetteville, NC, President Trump took questions from reporters at the White House regarding a number of topics, most of which had to do with filling the vacancy on the Supreme Court after the announcement of the death of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
After announcing a deal on Tik-Tok, Trump was asked if he wanted to see a nominee on his Supreme Court choice before the election happens. Trump voiced his agreement with Mitch McConnell:
Well, we’ll see what happens. We’ll be talking to people soon. We have great respect for the process. This has happened numerous times and every time there was a nominee, as you know, there’s been many occasions where frankly it turned out to be during a presidential year. I think there – I heard 28, but whatever it may be. But in all cases, they went forward. But we want to respect the process, and the process will move – I think it’s gonna move very quickly, actually.
I agree with the statement put out by Mitch McConnell. I agree with it, actually, 100 percent. I put out a very similar statement you saw. So I think we’re going to start the process extremely soon and we’ll have a nominee very soon.
Trump was also asked about the statement Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) put out Saturday afternoon (as covered by my colleague Nick Arama), the reporter asking, “Senator Collins said she’d like to see the next president be the one to nominate the next Supreme Court Justice. What is your reaction to that?” Trump replied (emphasis added):
I totally disagree with her. We have an obligation. We won, and we have an obligation as the winners to pick who we want. That’s not the next president. Hopefully, I’ll be the next president. But we’re here now. Right now we’re here. And we have an obligation to the voters, all of the people, the millions of people that put us here, in the form of a victory, we have an obligation to them, to all of those voters. And it’s a very simple thing. So I would disagree if that’s what she said. That’s not the way I read it. I read it differently. But, if that’s what she said I totally disagree.
It’s refreshing to see an elected official remember their campaign promises when the time of reckoning comes. Trump absolutely has an obligation to put forward a nominee, and McConnell has an obligation to bring that nominee up for a vote. As my colleague Bonchie wrote, “Donald Trump is largely in office because he promised to fill an open Supreme Court seat. The Republican Senate was handed the majority largely on the backs of their promise to fill every judicial vacancy that came available.”
President Trump was then asked whether he had a shortlist of potential nominees, and his reply was 100 percent classic Trump:
I have a short list. I’ve had a short list for a while. We added a number of people onto the previous list. We have about 45 altogether. I do, indeed, have a short list. I’ve gotten to know many of them. I think it’s probably – from a legal standpoint, from a sophisticated understanding of the law, from a constitutional standpoint, I think it’s the greatest list ever assembled, and I think that the other side should show their radical left list, and I think you’ll be surprised.
Of course, Biden hasn’t and probably won’t release his list of potential nominees. He did promise Saturday to nominate a black woman if he wins, but no further specifics. On the topic of gender, Trump said:
I can see most likely it would be a woman, yeah. I think I can say that it would be a woman. If somebody were to ask me now, I would say that a woman would be in first place, yes. The choice of a woman I would say would certainly be appropriate.
Trump said he expected the process to go very fast, and that he thinks his nominee will be a “popular” choice.
Of course, Trump was reminded that Mitch McConnell wouldn’t allow Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016 to move forward and asked why his pick should get a chance to move forward in an election year. In his reply, Trump trolled his predecessor:
Well, that’s called the consequences of losing an election. He lost the election. He didn’t have the votes. When you lose an election sometimes things don’t work out well. And by the way, I have to say this – Judge Garland is highly respected. I have a lot of respect for him. But, it’s the consequences of an election.
Elections have consequences. Remember that one, Democrats?