As the battle over replacing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — who died Friday from complications of pancreatic cancer — takes shape in Washington, D.C., Republican senators who previously refused to hold a vote on former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick are now having their words thrown in their faces.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper on Saturday played a devastating supercut that features Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) explaining why they would not vote on Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016.
“I want you to use my words against me,” Graham said in 2016 — laying out what Cooper described as an “eerily similar” situation as the one currently playing out in Congress. “If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say, ‘Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination,’ and you could use my words against me and you would be absolutely right.”
“We’re setting a precedent here today, Republicans are, that in the last year, at least of a lame duck eight-year term, I would say it’s going to be a four-year term, that you’re not going to fill a vacancy of the Supreme Court based on what we’re doing here today,” he added. “That’s going to be the new rule.”
In his own floor speech on the matter in 2016, McConnell likewise urged Congress to give the American people a say in the Supreme Court pick.
“The next justice could fundamentally alter the direction of the Supreme Court and have a profound impact on our country. So, of course, of course the American people should have a say in the court’s direction,” McConnell said.
Cruz — who was shortlisted by Trump as a potential SCOTUS pick earlier this month — also insisted in 2016 that Congress should not move to replace Scalia until after the election.
“I don’t think we should be moving forward on a nominee in the last year of this president’s term, Cruz said. “I would say that if it was a republican president.”
“President Obama is eager to appoint Justice Scalia’s replacement this year,” he continued. “But do you know in the last 80 years we have not once has the Senate confirmed a nomination made in an election year and now is no year to start. This is for the people to decide. I intend to make 2016 a referendum on the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Of course, all three men have now signaled they’re much more likely in 2020 to jam a conservative Supreme Court justice down voters’ throats on the eve of an election. After President Donald Trump on Saturday tweeted that the Senate has an “obligation” select a replacement for Ginsburg, Graham said he “fully” understands where the president is coming from.
In case that statement seems vague, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman added: ”I will support President [Trump] in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg.”
And McConnell has also insisted “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
And in perhaps the least surprising flip-flop of all, Cruz on Saturday wrote an opinion piece for Fox News that outlined 3 reasons why the Senate must confirm Ginsburg’s replacement before election day. In it, he touted Trump’s “list of extremely qualified, principled constitutionalists who could serve on the Supreme Court” — which, of course, included himself — and argued that going into an election with an 8 person bench could trigger a constitutional crisis in the event of a contested election.
Amazing how now of the senators were concerned with such a problem when Obama appointed his nominee.
Watch the video below to see the blatant hypocrisy for yourself:
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Trump Is a Threat to Democracy – Even if He Loses: Signorile
This article first appeared in Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter. To see the article in its original location or to subscribe, click here.
Here we’ve been for almost four years, worried that Donald Trump will destroy us if he wins re-election in two weeks.
But what about if he clearly and decisively loses? Prepare yourself for the fact that none of us is going to be able to take a vacation — even if he does accept the loss and vacates the White House in January.
Right now, Trump is projecting an air of invincibility. “We are going to win,” he told his campaign staffers yesterday. Later he told reporters, “I’m not running scared. I think I’m running angry. I’m running happy and I’m running very content ’cause I’ve done a great job.”
But this seems like damage control meant to stop the media from continuing to focus in on his rallies over the weekend, in which he pondered what would happen if he lost (“Maybe I’ll have to leave the country”) and begged suburban women for their votes (“Suburban women, please like me”).
According the Associated Press, quoting three campaign and White House officials, “Trump himself has alternated between disbelief and anger at the idea that he could lose to a candidate whom he views as washed up and incompetent.”
He’s freaking out. Even Trump, who often seems so out of touch with reality, sees what’s happening quite clearly. My hunch is that he knows it’s highly unlikely that he can turn things around this late in the game by switching positions, reaching out to women and people of color and others he’s losing badly, since voters are locked in and many despise him. And if he even tries, he’ll depress and possibly enrage his own base.
Another politician in such dire straits might just take that chance — certainly we’re seeing some GOP senators doing that, moving away a bit from Trump, though it’s likely far too late — but for Trump, a loss of support among his base after his re-election bid failed would be a loss of what he sees as a protective mass movement that will do anything for him.
Trump has got to be worried about investigations and prosecutions, and would no longer have the Justice Department, the military or the pardon power to wield as tools. And even if he tries to pardon himself for any crimes, which would ultimately go to the courts — or enacts the scenario his former fixer Michael Cohen envisions, in which he steps down in the lame duck, and Mike Pence briefly becomes president and pardons him — that won’t protect him from state charges.
To read the remainder of this article, visit Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter.
Topics for Final Presidential Debate Announced and Boy Will Donald Trump Be in Trouble
NBC News White House Correspondent Kristen Welker has just announced the topics for the final presidential debate next week on October 22 in Tennessee.
There are six topics, most of which are policy-driven topics, where Trump routinely is challenged. They were chosen by Welker, and released through the Commission on Presidential Debates, as the Associated Press reports.
They are: Fighting COVID-19, American Families, Race in America, Climate Change, National Security, and Leadership.
Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been panned by Republicans and Democrats alike, and his approval rating on the issue, which most Americans place as the most important, is 57.4% disapprove, and just 39.8% approve, according to FiveThirtyEight‘s analysis.
The President may be a Republican but he’s never been a “family values” Republican as his sexual misconduct can attest.
Trump fails miserably on race. His handling of the Black Lives Matter protests elicited angry charges of fascism.
The President is a science and climate change denier who claims windmills cause cancer, pulled out of the Paris agreement, and expanded oil and gas drilling into areas never before seen, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. His decision to open the Eastern Seaboard to offshore drilling was criticized even by Republicans.
During the first debate when climate change was a topic Trump criticized that California has not “cleaned” its forests. (Most of California’s forests are federal lands, not state property.)
President Trump addresses climate change, forest management and California wildfires.
— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) September 30, 2020
The President has no national security plans, and is widely known for having no interest in receiving what were once known as Daily Intelligence Briefings. In the Trump White House those are now just “intelligence briefings,” and Trump receives on average just four per month. His last intel briefing was more than three weeks ago, on September 22.
As for leadership, well, here’s what Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska told 17,000 of his constituents recently:
“The United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership, the way he treats women, spends like a drunken sailor.”
He also said he did not think Trump’s leadership during the coronavirus pandemic has been “reasonable or responsible, or right.”
Trump Plants More Seeds for Refusing to Concede – Falsely Claims ‘Tens of Thousands’ of Ballots Are ‘Fraudulent’
President Donald Trump is building on his stunning remarks from last month, when he repeatedly refused to promise a peaceful transition of power should he lose re-election. Trump is the first United States president to ever refuse to honor centuries of accepted conduct.
Trump on Thursday falsely claimed there have already been “tens of thousands” of “fraudulent” ballots in this election.
“Look at these ballots that are being — tens of thousands of ballots are already fraudulent,” he told Fox News Business’ Stuart Varney. “I want to see a fair election. That’s all I’m asking for is a fair election.”
That’s actually not what he’s asking for, as evidenced by the massive voter intimidation and election interference campaigns he and his supporters have been waging.
“Under what circumstances would you concede?” Fox News Business’s Stuart Varney asked Trump during a telephone interview, as Raw Story reported.
“All I want is a fair election,” Trump claimed.
“So, it’s your judgement as to whether it’s fair or not as to whether you would concede?” Varney, a top Trump supporter, asked.
“Stuart, they always talk about the friendly transition,” Trump replied.
The term has always been “peaceful transition,” not “friendly transition.”
It’s an important distinction with a difference.
Trump is again making up “facts” so he can then use that to later defend his indefensible actions.
“They spied on my campaign and they got caught,” the President continued, lying. There was no spying on his campaign. Even the Dept. of Justice agrees, after it quietly closed down the false “unmasking” probe after finding no evidence of wrongdoing or criminal activity by anyone in the Obama administration.
“They tried to overthrow the president of the United States and they got caught,” Trump continued, again, a ludicrous lie. “And then they stand up so innocent and they say, ‘Will you, you know, do a fair transition?’ Well, they didn’t do a fair transition.”
Again, the term is “peaceful,” not “fair.”
Fair is subjective. Friendly is subjective. Peaceful is not.
“You’re implying if you don’t think it’s fair, you won’t leave the White House,” Varney pointed out, “which means you won’t concede.”
“I’m not saying anything!” Trump replied. “I’m saying this. I think everybody says it. You have to have a fair election. Look at these ballots that are being — tens of thousands of ballots are already fraudulent. I want to see a fair election. That’s all I’m asking for is a fair election.”
“But you know when they talk about a friendly transition, they spied on my campaign,” he added.
“If it wasn’t a friendly transition when you walked into the White House, does that mean that you’re not going to allow a friendly transition if Joe Biden walks into the White House?” Varney pressed.
Trump went on to claim, “people broke the law, people spied on my campaign and they act so innocent.”
“And we have all the evidence. We have so much evidence,” he insisted, which if it were true Attorney General Bill Barr, who has been acting as Trump’s personal attorney, would have brought charges.
VARNEY: Under what circumstances would you concede the election?
TRUMP: "All I want is a fair election"
V: So it's your judgment as to whether it's fair?
TRUMP: "Stuart — they always talk about the friendly transition. They spied on my campaign." [this is a lie] pic.twitter.com/f2CUV6N262
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 15, 2020
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