Trump urges Senate leader to ‘go nuclear’ to push through high court nominee
President Donald Trump told the Senate’s Republican leader Wednesday that it may be time to “go nuclear” if Democrats try to block his Supreme Court nominee.
That would mean changing Senate rules to abolish a filibuster of a high court nominee, in this case, Neil Gorsuch. Trump announced his choice of Gorsuch on Tuesday night.
“I would say, if you can, Mitch, go nuclear because that would be an absolute shame if a man of this quality was caught up in the web,” Trump said at the White House.
Democrats appeared to be gearing up for a fight.
The nuclear option would mean unilaterally lowering the threshold needed to approve Gorsuch from 60 to 50 votes, so that Republicans could use their 52-vote majority to put him on the court without Democrats’ consent.
Last year, McConnell refused to allow even a hearing for Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s pick to replace Justice Antonin Scalia.
Confirmation hearings could begin in about six weeks.
The choice has been met with positive reception from the GOP.
But across the aisle, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told CNN Gorsuch was a “hostile appointment”.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he had “serious doubts” whether the Colorado judge could be an independent justice.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.