President Trump said on Monday morning that he expected to name his proposed replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court by Friday or Saturday, after her funeral services — contradicting his own press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, who moments before had said the pick would be coming before Wednesday.
As he did previously, Trump also said that he would like the confirmation vote to happen before the election, as opposed to during the lame-duck session (an option that might reduce the political pressure for vulnerable Senate Republicans running in tough reelection races). And once again, he transparently tied this desire to possible litigation stemming from the election, which he has been laying the groundwork to contest for months.
If Trump does stick to his timeline, which is by no means assured, it would leave the Senate only 38 or 39 days before the election, an extraordinarily tight timeline to rush through a Supreme Court pick — and one that may push things to the postelection period, despite the president’s wishes.
So far, only two Republican senators have come out against a confirmation vote before the election: Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. (Two more would need to join them for Democrats to be able to block the nomination, an unlikely possibility.) Trump criticized both on Monday morning, telling reporters that Collins will be “very badly hurt” by her stance.
Trump’s typically discursive comments on Monday also included a paean to Barbara Lagoa, one of his possible Supreme Court nominees; a wild claim that Ruth Bader Ginsburg may not have actually issued her dying plea that the next president install her replacement — “I don’t know that she said that, or was that written out by Adam Schiff and Schumer and Pelosi”; and a blunt but honest summation of the power dynamics at play behind the Supreme Court fight. “When you have the Senate, when you have the votes, you can sort of do what you want as long as you have it,” he said.