President Trump said Monday that he plans to nominate a successor for Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday or Saturday, indicating that he will wait until after her funeral this week. He said there is “plenty of time” for the Senate to confirm his pick before the election.
During a phone-in interview on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” Trump said he is still considering five candidates, all women.
“You like to go young because they’re there for a long time,” he said.
Asked whether he would like to see the Senate confirm his nominee before the election, Trump said he thinks there is ample time to do so.
His assessment of the timetable came shortly after White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump plans to nominate a replacement for Ginsburg “in the coming days.”
McEnany noted that Ginsburg was confirmed 42 days after she was nominated by then-President Bill Clinton.
There are 43 days until Election Day this year.
“It can be done,” McEnany said.
Since 1975, it has taken an average of 71 days for a president’s Supreme Court nominee to be confirmed on the Senate floor.
Considered a frontrunner is U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a jurist in the mold of the late Antonin Scalia who fulfills nearly all criteria on conservatives’ wish list, including holding a fervent antiabortion position.
At 48 years old, Barrett could hold the lifetime seat for several decades. Trump’s first two nominees to the nation’s highest court, Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh, are in their 50s. Trump’s justices will potentially represent one-third of the Supreme Court for generations.
During his Fox News interview, Trump claimed that he was unaware that Ginsburg had voiced a wish close to her death that her successor be named by the winner of the next presidential election.
“I don’t know that she said that,” Trump said, adding that the Senate has “every right” to move forward and that it would be in everyone’s best interests to move quickly.
He brushed off speculation that House Democrats could move to impeach him to slow the confirmation process down.
“We win all elections if they do that,” Trump said.
He also knocked two Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) — who have said that action on a Ginsburg successor should wait until after the election.
Trump said both would be “hurt very badly” by their statements.