President Donald Trump was asked about the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after his Sept. 18 rally in Minnesota. During the rally itself, Trump appeared unaware that Ginsburg had died, although he did bring up the U.S. Supreme Court several times.
Ginsburg, 87, died Friday, Sept. 18 of “complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas.”
Trump said, according to C-Span, “She just died? Wow. I didn’t know that. You’re telling me now for the first time. She led an amazing life. What else can you say? She was an amazing woman. Whether you agreed or not. She was an amazing woman who led an amazing life. I am sad to hear that.”
President Trump on death of Justice Ginsburg: "She just died? Wow. I didn't know that…She led an amazing life. What else can you say? She was an amazing woman, whether you agree or not. She was an amazing woman who led an amazing life. I'm actually sad to hear that." pic.twitter.com/6oKuL671qO
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 19, 2020
Who Will Trump Pick to Replace Ginsburg?
Ginsburg’s death gives Trump a chance to nominate a third U.S. Supreme Court pick; his other picks, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh are now sitting on the nation’s highest court. Trump’s nominee would need to make it through the Senate at warp speed, due to the election looming.
During the Minnesota rally, Trump mentioned Ted Cruz as a possible Supreme Court pick.
Unaware of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, Trump touts Ted Cruz for the Supreme Court at his campaign rally on Friday evening in Bemidji, Minnesota pic.twitter.com/85l4hg3I5z
— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) September 19, 2020
Trump mentioned how he had said in the past, “I’m putting Ted Cruz as one of the people for the Supreme Court,” because he believed Cruz could make it through the Senate.
However, the problem with a Cruz pick is that Republicans need every vote they can get to shepherd Trump’s eventual nominee through. They need 51 votes or 50 because Vice President Mike Pence would break a tie. They could lose Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, and maybe Chuck Grassley based on past comments about being hesitant to vote for a nominee so close to the election.
“The next president will get 1, 2 3 or 4 Supreme Court justices,” Trump said at the live rally in Minnesota, again, before he learned of Ginsburg’s death. “Many presidents have had none…they tend to be appointed young… the next one will have anywhere from one to four. Will totally change when you talk about life, second amendment… this is going to be the most important election in my opinion in the history of our country.”
Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that Trump’s nominee will get a vote in the Senate.
“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” he said, adding:
In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term. We kept our promise. Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year. By contrast, Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise.