White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer indicated at his Monday press briefing that president Trump would support Republicans using the “nuclear option” in order to defeat a filibuster from the Democrats to confirm Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
“We’re comfortable in the sense that obviously, that decision is up to Leader McConnell to make, how he wants the Senate to deal with this,” Spicer added when asked how the president felt on the issue.
“I think the majority leader’s comments are very clear in the direction that he’s headed in,” he continued.
“But I think this is, we have entered a whole new league if this goes forward in terms of Democrats going and saying, it’s one thing to vote against a nominee. We’ve seen that in the past and I understand that, but, we’ve now gone from the devolution of agreeing that there are certain people that the president has the right, as long as they’re qualified right?”
“We’ve seen that in the past … John Roberts, I think, got 78 votes,” he said.
The “nuclear option” is a rarely used procedure that allows the U.S. Senate to override a rule or precedent by a 51-vote majority.
The rule was most famously used in 2013 when then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used it to confirm former President Obama’s cabinet nominees with a simple vote.
At the time, ironically, Reid accused Republicans of “unbelievable, unprecedented obstruction” which is exactly what we are seeing from Democrats today.
Republicans gave a clear warning months ago that if Democrats tried to filibuster, the Republicans would use the option to confirm Gorsuch.
Here are Spicer’s comments on the issue:
Sean Spicer: President Trump “would support” the Senate using the nuclear option on the Neil Gorsuch vote https://t.co/ET8npW39uw
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 3, 2017
It was reported on Monday by CNN that Democrats secured enough votes to filibuster the nomination, putting Republicans in a situation to either go nuclear or allow Gorsuch’s nomination to be blocked.
Republicans are going nuclear because they understand that confirming a conservative to the bench is one of the most important tasks on the agenda. There’s no way they would be foolish enough to let this opportunity slip away.
McConnell made note of that in an interview he gave Sunday on “Fox & Friends.”
“We are going to get Judge Gorsuch confirmed,” he said. “How that happens is up to the Democrats.”