Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Trump encourages McConnell to 'go nuclear' if needed in upcoming Supreme Court battle

Donald Trump

President Donald Trump encouraged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday to use the "nuclear" option to help get Judge Neil Gorsuch confirmed to the Supreme Court if Senate Democrats decide to filibuster his nomination.

"If we end up with the same gridlock we've had in Washington for the last, longer than eight years — in all fairness to President [Barack] Obama, a lot longer than eight years — but if we end up with that gridlock, I would say if you can, Mitch, go nuclear," Trump told reporters, "because that would be an absolute shame if a man of this quality was caught up in the web."

The president added: "So I would say, it's up to Mitch, but I would say, go for it."

If Democrats decide to filibuster the nomination, it would cause Gorsuch to need a supermajority of 60 votes to be confirmed in the Senate. Republicans currently control 52 seats. A number of Democratic senators have already come out in opposition to Gorsuch's nomination, which comes after Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland was thwarted by obstructionist tactics by Republican senators last year. Because of that, some Democrats believe similar obstructionism is fair retribution.

But, if McConnell were to invoke the "nuclear" option, he could eliminate that possibility. Simply put, the "nuclear" option would be rewriting the Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees by a simple majority vote.

McConnell, however, is not a fan of doing so, and believes Gorsuch will be able to get to 60 votes without having to kill the filibuster.

Gorsuch, a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals judge, was confirmed to his current post by the Senate in 2006 by a voice vote.

"Well I think there's a certain dishonesty," Trump said of Democrats looking to block Gorsuch. "They go against their vote from not very long ago, and he did get a unanimous endorsement. And I mean you can't do better from an educational, from an experience, from any standpoint. A great judge, he will be a great justice. So, no I feel that it's very dishonest if they go about doing that."

Watch Trump's comments below:

SEE ALSO: The fight over Trump's Supreme Court pick might go 'nuclear'

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