U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he departs for campaign travel to Minnesota from the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, September 18, 2020.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
President Donald Trump said he will name his pick to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday or Saturday.
During an interview by phone on “Fox and Friends” on Monday morning, the president said his list of potential nominees for the Supreme Court was down to five names.
“I will announce it either Friday or Saturday and then the work begins,” Trump said.
Trump over the weekend said he planned to name a nominee some time this week. He has said he will nominate a woman.
Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, said on CBS earlier in the day that it was likely Trump could name a nominee by Wednesday.
But Trump said that he wanted to allow for time for Ginsburg’s funeral services to take place first.
“We want to pay respect,” Trump said.
Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are in a hurry to place Ginsburg’s successor before Election Day, which is just 43 days away.
Democrats, including presidential nominee Joe Biden, have said that any new nominee must be named after the election.
Ginsburg passed on Friday at 87-years-old after suffering from pancreatic cancer. She was the senior member of the court’s liberal wing.
Whether Republicans will be able to muster the votes necessary to confirm a nominee ahead of Nov. 3 remains to be seen. Already over the weekend, cracks in the party’s unity began to show.
Two moderate Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, said they did not support a vote on a new nominee before voters decide whether Trump will hold office for a second term.
Democrats need just two more of the 53 GOP members in the Senate to peel off to stymie the effort.
On Monday, Trump repeated his call to have the vote before Election Day.
“We have every right to do it, and we have plenty of time,” Trump said.
Pressed on McConnell’s 2016 stonewalling of Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Trump said “there’s a difference.”
When the same party controls both the Senate and the White House, Trump said, “you can sort of do what you want.”
Among the judges thought to be likely candidates are Amy Coney Barrett, a favorite of social conservatives who sits on the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Barbara Lagoa, a recent addition to the 11th Circuit, which is located in Atlanta.
Lagoa, previously a justice on the Florida Supreme Court, is seen as potentially helpful for Trump politically in the crucial battleground state.
Trump said he tried not to make politics a part of the selection, but “I think probably automatically it is.”
“Even if you’re not wanting to do that, it becomes a little automatic,” he said.