- President Donald Trump said Tuesday he “never” wavered on his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
- The Washington Post reported that Trump considered rescinding Gorsuch’s nomination after he criticized Trump’s attacks on the federal judiciary.
- Gorsuch had said Trump’s criticisms of a judge who had blocked his first travel ban were “demoralizing” and “disheartening.”
President Donald Trump on Tuesday decried as “FAKE NEWS” a Washington Post report that said he had considered rescinding then-Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
“A story in the @washingtonpost that I was close to ‘rescinding’ the nomination of Justice Gorsuch prior to confirmation is FAKE NEWS,” Trump tweeted. “I never even wavered and am very proud of him and the job he is doing as a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The unnamed sources don’t exist!”
Trump nominated Gorsuch in January to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last year. During Gorsuch’s meetings with legislators ahead of his confirmation hearings, he openly criticized negative comments Trump had made about the judge who blocked his first travel ban.
Upon learning that Gorsuch had told Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal that Trump’s attacks on the federal judiciary were “disheartening” and “demoralizing,” Trump reportedly had an outburst expressing concerns that Gorsuch was insufficiently grateful for the appointment and would not be “loyal.”
The Washington Post, which interviewed 11 people familiar with the situation, reported that Trump’s “explosion” caused some in the White House and on Capitol Hill to fear that Trump would withdraw the nomination.
“It’s clear [Trump] was very upset with the comment” by Gorsuch, one person familiar with the incident told the Post.
Top Congressional Republicans were reportedly so concerned that they pressed Trump to allow Gorsuch to continue the confirmation process. The Senate eventually confirmed Gorsuch in April by a 54-45 margin.
“He’s probably going to end up being a liberal like the rest of them,” Trump reportedly told House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a meeting. “You never know with these guys.”
The White House pushed back on the Post’s report on Monday, calling Gorsuch’s nomination one of Trump’s most significant early accomplishments.
“At no point did the president consider withdrawing Justice Gorsuch’s nomination. He is very proud of the accomplishment,” White House spokesman Raj Shah told the Post.