A Republican senator confirmed Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s concern about comments President Trump has made about the judiciary, saying the judge “got pretty passionate about it” in their one-on-one conversation.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) originally told reporters on a Wednesday conference call that Gorsuch told him “he found disheartening and demoralizing President Trump’s attacks on the judiciary.” That included tweets calling U.S. District Court Judge James Robart a “so-called judge” after issuing a temporary restraining order on his travel ban and calling the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals “so political” after Tuesday arguments on the executive order.
Trump tweeted this morning: “Sen.Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie),now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him? Chris Cuomo, in his interview with Sen. Blumenthal, never asked him about his long-term lie about his brave ‘service’ in Vietnam. FAKE NEWS!”
Blumenthal told MSNBC this morning that nobody has to take his word for it because “there were numerous White House staffers in the room and he’s made the same comment, as you just heard, to a number of my colleagues in their private conversation.”
“But what’s really important here is that we’re careening toward a constitutional crisis way bigger than me or even Judge Gorsuch because these attacks on the judiciary are abhorrent and extraordinarily dangerous for our constitutional democracy,” Blumenthal added. “And I believe that Judge Gorsuch has a special responsibility to do more than just say to me how disappointed he is behind closed doors, or my colleagues. He should condemn these attacks publicly, unequivocally, and clearly, and that’s what I am calling on him to do, as I did in our private conversation.”
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) told MSNBC he similarly spoke with Gorsuch about Trump’s relationship with the judiciary.
“Disheartening is a great word. Judge Gorsuch and I actually talked about that. And frankly he got pretty passionate about it. I asked him about the so-called judges comment because we don’t have so-called judges or so-called presidents or so-called senators,” Sasse said.
“And this is a guy who kind of welled up with some energy and he said any of attack on any of, I think his term to me was brothers or sisters of the robe, is an attack on all judges. And he believes in an independent judiciary,” he said.
“And I think what I saw in that guy is that he got some energy about it, was this isn’t about somebody who’s just been nominated to the Supreme Court. This is a guy if he was on traffic court in Colorado or in Nebraska would have the same view.”
Sasse said Gorsuch “understands why we have three branches.”
“And, frankly, it seems to me that that’s a good reason why his nomination shouldn’t be politicized,” the senator added. “People all across the political spectrum should love the fact that he’s going to be a warrior for our constitutional system of executive restraint and limits.”