President Donald Trump has made his first comments since nominating Judge Gorsuch for The Supreme Court. Mr. Trump said Wednesday he will urge Senate Republicans to scrap filibuster rules, or take the “nuclear option,” if Democrats in the increasingly tense chamber use them to block his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
Trump was referring to the so-called nuclear option, whereby the Senate leader would change the chamber’s rules to prevent Democrats from filibustering the nominee.
The president told reporters at the start of a White House meeting with conservative activists who support the nomination that Gorsuch “will be a great justice.” He said it would be “very dishonest” for Senate Democrats, who previously backed Gorsuch when he was nominated to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals, to oppose him now for the Supreme Court.
McConnell has previously stated that the decision whether to eliminate the filibuster is his and not the president’s decision and has indicated a reluctance to end the filibuster’s use unless absolutely necessary.
To break a filibuster requires 60 votes, and the Republicans hold 52, meaning eight Democrats would also need to vote to end debate.
“If we end up with the same gridlock that they’ve had in Washington for the last longer than eight years — in all fairness to President 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.”
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The president added, “So I would say it’s up to Mitch, but I would say go for it.”