Posted: 1:23 pm Thursday, February 9th, 2017
By Jamie Dupree
President Donald Trump sparred with Democrats on Thursday over how his Supreme Court pick views Mr. Trump’s recent criticism of federal judges reviewing his immigration order, as the President accused a Democratic Senator and the news media of twisting the words of his Supreme Court nominee, who in private appeared to take issue with the President’s words about the Judicial Branch.
“Ask Senator Blumenthal about his Vietnam record,” Mr. Trump said about the Connecticut Democrat, who had met with Judge Gorsuch on Wednesday, and relayed concerns about the President’s words, using the terms “disheartening” and “demoralizing.”
“His comments were misrepresented and what you should do is ask Sen. Blumenthal about his Vietnam record which didn’t exist,” the President said.
The President’s remarks at a lunch with Senators came hours after he had gone on Twitter to argue much the same, bringing up a story from 2010 where Sen. Blumenthal – then the Attorney General of Connecticut – had misstated his Vietnam War record.
Sen.Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie),now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2017
Trump was referring a meeting that Gorsuch had with Blumenthal on Wednesday, where the Democratic Senator said that Gorsuch had expressed concerns about the President’s tough words for the Judiciary.
“Behind closed doors, Judge Gorsuch expressed disappointment with President Trump’s attacks,” Blumenthal said, as he and other Democrats said the Judge should condemn Trump publicly.
Since reporters did not hear directly from Judge Gorsuch, there was no exact record of what was said on the matter, though another GOP Senator said Gorsuch had told him much the same thing about his view of Mr. Trump’s statements.
“Judge Gorsuch and I actually talked about that, and frankly, he got pretty passionate about it,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) said on MSNBC.
“Judge Gorsuch knows the founders got it right on an independent judiciary: another reason to confirm him,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).
While Gorsuch himself did not comment to reporters, his handlers on Capitol Hill seemed to indicate that the Judge had spoken up for an independent Judiciary, and taken issue with Mr. Trump’s criticism.
Gorsuch clarifies what he's been saying in private conversations, via a statement from Kelly Ayotte, who is helping Trump get him confirmed. pic.twitter.com/4dzrI5sPpt
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) February 9, 2017
But despite those insights about what was said by the Judge, President Trump wasn’t backing down.
“You misrepresented his comments,” Mr. Trump told one reporter who asked about the Gorsuch remarks at the White House.
The President gave no signs of backing off of his support for Gorsuch, telling reporters he will be a “fantastic” Justice for years to come on the Supreme Court.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.