Johnson: I would meet with SCOTUS nominee

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonTrump spars with GOP lawmakers on steel tariffs Overnight Regulation: Trump unveils budget | Sharp cuts proposed for EPA, HHS | Trump aims to speed environmental reviews | Officials propose repealing most of methane leak rule Trump budget seeks savings through ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Wis.) suggested Thursday he would be willing to meet with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, though it won't change his position. 

"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."

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Johnson, considered one of the most vulnerable senators up for reelection, is the latest Republican to split with Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure 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 Ann AyotteAudit finds US Defense Department wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars US sends A-10 squadron to Afghanistan for first time in three years No, the US did not spend million on a gas station in Afghanistan MORE (N.H.), Mark KirkMark Steven KirkHigh stakes as Trump heads to Hill Five things to watch for at Trump-Senate GOP meeting Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns MORE (Ill.) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanCommittee chairman aims for House vote on opioid bills by Memorial Day Flake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March 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.