President Trump would rather have a Senate vote on a Supreme Court nominee before the election, rather than after, he told reporters Monday, and he said he’s considering five women for the post.
Mr. Trump said he plans to speak with at least some of them in person in the coming days. A source close to the president confirmed that prospective Supreme Court pick Amy Coney Barrett visited the White House Monday.
“Well I’d much rather have a vote before the election,” the president told reporters on the White House South Lawn. “Because there’s a lot of work to be done and I’d much rather have it — we have plenty of time to do it. I mean it’s really a lot of time. So, let’s say I make the announcement on Saturday; there’s a great deal of time before the election. That’ll be up to Mitch (McConnell) in the Senate. But I’d certainly much rather have the vote. I think it sends a good signal.”
McConnell has said the Senate will vote on the person the president nominates to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but has not yet said when the vote will be. So far, two Republican senators have said the nomination process should not take place until after the election.
Mr. Trump has already said he’ll nominate a woman to the post, but revealed the number of contenders on Monday. The president did say they are all “outstanding,” but he has “one or two” in particular in mind.
The president claimed he doesn’t think it would endanger his nominee if the vote were to take place after the election and he loses — because he thinks he’ll win.
A vote on a conservative judicial nominee before November 3 will likely rile liberals and encourage them to vote; it could energize the president’s already motivated loyal base.
Mr. Trump is in Ohio Monday night, where he’s holding campaign-style events in an effort to win a state he won handily in 2016.
The president told “Fox & Friends” Monday morning that he’ll wait to announce his pick until after services are held for Ginsburg. She will be the first woman to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol.
Under consideration to fill the Supreme Court vacancy are Judges Barrett of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Barbara Lagoa of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Allison Jones Rushing of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, among others.
— CBS News’ Melissa Quinn contributed to this report.