Graham Flips, Sides With Trump on RBG Replacement: 'I Fully Understand Where Donald Trump Is Coming From'

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is on record as vowing not to vote to confirm a Donald Trump Supreme Court nominee in an election year.

That was then, this is now.

Graham on Saturday signaled he’s changed his mind and will side with Trump on filling Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s vacant seat.

Trump announced on Saturday morning he would nominate a replacement for Ginsburg, and admonished Republican senators to proceed without delay.

“@GOP We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!”

Within 90 minutes, Graham heeded Trump’s call.

Here’s what Graham said in 2016, prior to Trump’s election:

“I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.”

Again that was then, this is now.

Graham posted a clip on Twitter Saturday night from a January 2019 interview on “Fox News Sunday,” confirming what he told host Chris Wallace at the time. In the clip, he said:

“They changed the rules to try to accommodate President Obama. They tried to stack the Court. They never thought Clinton would lose. […] If there is an opening, whether it’s Ginsburg, or anybody else, I will urge the president to nominate a qualified conservative, and hopefully that person will get through, and I expect it be along party lines — and this is what happens when you change the rules. This has come back to bite them; I predicted it would, and we’ll see…”

As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Graham will lead confirmation hearings for Trump’s nominee, which, given the urgency of the election — just 44 days away — should be forthcoming posthaste.

Earlier this month, Trump released a new list of 20 names he’d considered nominating to the Court, in addition to those he named in 2016. Now, in the wake of Ginsburg’s death, Fox News reported on Sunday that Trump’s pick is likely to be either Amy Coney Barrett or Barbara Lagoa, both of whom are conservative Roman Catholics.

Regardless of who Trump taps to fill Ginsburg’s vacant seat, the confirmation process is likely to be a battle royal that will make the Gorsuch and Kavanaugh confirmation processes pale in comparison.

As I reported in my Saturday piece titled Schumer Says ‘Nothing off the Table’ Next Year if GOP Replaces Ginsburg & Dems Win Senate, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told Senate Democrats in a Saturday morning conference call that nothing is off the table if Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moves to fill the RBG vacancy.

That will happen.

As the old saying goes, it ain’t over till it’s over. This crazy year of 2020 is about to get a whole lot crazier, folks. Popcorn. Lots of popcorn.