President Trump on Friday called late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “an amazing woman who led an amazing life” and said he was “sad” to learn of her passing, but didn’t say anything about plans for nominating a replacement.
The president, on the tarmac after finishing a rally in Minnesota Friday night, had just learned that Ginsburg, 87, had died from complications surrounding metastatic pancreas cancer.
“Wow, I didn’t know that,” Trump told reporters. “She led an amazing life. Whether you agree or not, she was an amazing woman who led an amazing life.”
He added: “Sad to hear that.”
The president didn’t discuss any plans for nominating a replacement. But just earlier, during the Minnesota rally, the president vowed to “nominate judges and justices who will interpret the Constitution as written,” and called the Supreme Court “so important.”
“The next president will get 1, 2, 4, or 4 justices,” he said, noting that associate justices are “appointed for a long time.
“That will change life, the Second Amendment, going to be stuck for 30 years, 45—a long time,” Trump said. “This is going to be the most important election in history.”
He added: “If you don’t get it right, we will not have a country anymore.”
The president on Friday night vowed to protect the Second Amendment, “defend the dignity of work and the sanctity of life.”
During the rally, the president touted his administration, saying by the end of his term, there will be “300 federal judges” confirmed to courts across the nation.
The president, last week, announced a list of potential nominees to the Supreme Court, should he be re-elected. Included on the list were a number of federal judges, and three Republican senators—Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
The president described those on the list as “the smartest, the best, the absolute ‘creme de la creme,’” adding that they are all “conservative” and “believe in the Constitution.”
“You know, the little things, little things like that,” he said.
During the rally, the president joked about including Cruz on his list of potential picks, saying that he “wanted to make sure” he had someone who could get approved in the Senate.
“Ted is the only guy I know who could get 100 votes from the Senate,” Trump joked. “They’ll do anything to get him out of the Senate.”
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said unequivocally Friday night that the president’s Supreme Court nominee to fill the vacancy of Ginsburg “will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
But the nomination and confirmation process for the latest addition to the high court, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, took 89 days total for confirmation. It took 57 days from Kavanaugh’s nomination to his confirmation hearing.
There are 45 days until Election Day.
Top contenders, prior to Ginsburg’s passing, included Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals; Judge Britt Grant of the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals; Judge Amul Thapar of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit; Judge Steven Colloton of the 8th Circuit U-S Court of Appeals; Judge Allison Eid of the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals; Judge Raymond Gruender of the 8th Circuit U-S Court of Appeals; Judge Thomas Hardiman of the 3rd Circuit U-S Court of Appeals; Judge Raymond Kethledge of the 6th Circuit U-S Court of Appeals; Judge Joan Larsen of the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals; Judge Barbara Lagoa of the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals; Justice Thomas Lee of the Utah Supreme Court; Judge David Stras of the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals; Judge Allison Jones Rushing of the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals; and Judge Don Willett of the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Friday night said Ginsburg’s vacancy should not be filled until “we have a new president.”
There was an active vacancy after the death of Scalia in 2016, but the next presidential term could be even more significant for Supreme Court nominations.
Ginsburg’s death leaves a vacancy; and several other justices are over 70, including Justice Stephen Breyer is 82; Clarence Thomas is 72; and Justice Samuel Alito is 70.
Ginsburg died on Friday last the age of 87 from complications surrounding metastatic pancreas cancer.
The late Supreme Court justice, who was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, spent more than two decades on the bench, and is survived by her two children Jane Carol and James Steven Ginsburg.
Ginsburg battled two forms of cancer in the past, but her health began to take a downturn in December 2018 when she underwent a pulmonary lobectomy after two malignant nodules were discovered in the lower lobe of her left lung.
On Jan. 7, 2019, the Court announced she would miss oral arguments that day for the first time since she joined as she continued to recuperate from that surgery.
Fox News’ Bill Mears contributed to this report.