Sen. Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonPollster: Clinton leads in 5 battlegrounds Juan Williams: GOP sounds the sirens over Trump Vulnerable Republican seeks edge on homeland security MORE (R-Wis.) suggested Thursday he would be willing to meet with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, though it won't change his position.
Johnson: I would meet with SCOTUS nominee
"I have no problem with meeting with people," he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I'll have to say, I'm not sure what the point will be."
Johnson, considered one of the most vulnerable senators up for reelection, is the latest Republican to split with Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellCongress fails on promises to restore regular order and stop funding by crisis Overnight Healthcare: Dems dig in over Zika funding Business groups ramp up pressure to fill Ex-Im board MORE (R-Ky.) and say he would accept a meeting if the White House reaches out.
So far, that hasn't happened. "No one has tried to set up a meeting," Johnson said.
Johnson has said he believes the court seat should remain vacant until next year, though he would be willing to vote if Republican leadership decides to move forward with the nomination.
Republican Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteGOP senator: Lynch should formally hand over Clinton probe The Trail 2016: Meet and greet and grief Clean energy group backs two GOP incumbents MORE (N.H.), Mark KirkMark KirkSenate panel approves 0M for international climate fund Senator calls for pause in accepting Syrian refugees after Istanbul attack Overnight Healthcare: Blame game over Zika funding MORE (Ill.) and Rob PortmanRob PortmanVeep auditions in overdrive Clean energy group backs two GOP incumbents Overnight Finance: Trump threatens NAFTA withdrawal | Senate poised for crucial Puerto Rico vote | Ryan calls for UK trade deal | Senate Dems block Zika funding deal MORE (Ohio) — who are in reelection fights that, along with Johnson's, will help decide which party controls the Senate next year — have also said they would be willing to meet with Garland.
Portman and Ayotte, however, suggested Wednesday they would use the meetings to explain why they think Justice Antonin Scalia's seat should remain vacant until the next president is sworn in.
Republican senators, including Johnson, have been under an onslaught of pressure from Democrats and outside groups to reverse their position and support taking up Obama's nominee.
Obama and Vice President Biden endorsed former Sen. Russ Feingold, who is hoping to unseat Johnson, earlier Thursday.
Johnson isn't the only Republican senator who suggested Thursday they would be open to meeting with Garland.
Separately, Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin HatchTreasury officials to meet with lawmakers on inversion rules A bipartisan bright spot we can’t afford to pass up: child welfare reform Medicare trust fund running out of money fast MORE (R-Utah) said Thursday he would agree to a meeting, though it wouldn't change his position. He also spoke with Garland Wednesday.