President Trump on Monday said he has narrowed his list of potential Supreme Court nominees to fill the seat held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to five people and vowed to announce his pick by Friday or Saturday.
During an exclusive interview on “Fox & Friends,” the president said that the final Senate vote for his potential nominee should be taken “before the election” and “should go very quickly.”
Ginsburg, 87, died on Friday, due to complications surrounding metastatic pancreatic cancer, igniting a new, major political battle before the elections.
“The bottom line is we won the election, we have an obligation to do what’s right and act as quickly as possible,” Trump said.
The president said that he will make his announcement at the end of the week, following services for the late Supreme Court justice.
“I think it will be on Friday or Saturday and we want to pay respect, it looks like we will have services on Thursday or Friday, as I understand it, and I think we should, with all due respect for Justice Ginsburg, wait for services to be over,” the president said.
The president’s shortlist is said to include Judge Amy Coney Barrett from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Judge Barbara Logoa of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, and Judge Allison Jones Rushing of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, among others.
The president touted the list of potential picks, calling them “excellent,” and “all very smart.”
“No matter how you would look at it, these are the finest people in the nation—young people, pretty young for the most part,” the president said.
Barrett is 48, Lagoa is 52, Rushing is 38, and it is unclear the age of the president’s other potential nominees.
“These are the smartest people, the smartest young people, you like to go young, because they’re there for a long time,” Trump said, adding that his nominee would “abide by the Constitution,” be a “good person” and have “very, very high moral values.”
The president said he thinks “the final vote should be taken, frankly, before the election.”
Just hours after Ginsburg’s death was announced on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., vowed that a Trump nominee to the Supreme Court to fill her vacancy “will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
McConnell’s comments ignited a political firestorm, even prompting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to say she wouldn’t rule out employing impeachment to block a Trump nominee.
“I heard if I [nominate], they’re going to impeach me, so they’re impeaching me for what constitutionally I have to do,” Trump said. “If they do that, we win all elections.”
He added: “If they do it, I think my numbers will go up, I think we’ll win the entire election, I think we’re going to win back the House, I think we’re going to win the House anyway.”
The president went on to say that “losing an election has consequences.”
“That means the other side gets to pick Supreme Court justices, judges, it’s a big deal,” he said. “It sets the tone. I’m very lucky because rarely does a president have this opportunity.”
He added: “Here I am in one term, I get to pick three.”
The president nominated, and the Senate confirmed, now-Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh in his first term.
Trump acknowledged, however, that “no matter who” he picks as his nominee, “no matter how brilliant,” the Democrats “will say this is terrible.”
“No matter how great this person is, they will not like the person,” the president said.
Meanwhile, Trump said Republicans have “a tremendous amount of time” to confirm a new Supreme Court justice before Election Day.
“I think it would be good for the Republican Party and good for everyone,” he said.