Obama invites McConnell, Grassley to White House

Obama invites McConnell, Grassley to White House
© Greg Nash

President Obama is ratcheting up the pressure on Senate Republicans to at least talk about his plan to nominate someone to the Supreme Court to replace the late conservative justice Antonin Scalia.

Obama has invited Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellTrump’s isolation grows Ellison: Trump has 'level of sympathy' for neo-Nazis, white supremacists Trump touts endorsement of second-place finisher in Alabama primary MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyWhite House clarifies: We condemn all violence Republican lawmakers criticize Trump response to Charlottesville Grassley reverses ‘expectation’ of Supreme Court vacancy this year MORE (R-Iowa) to meet with him and Democratic leaders Thursday at the White House.

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A spokesman for McConnell confirmed that the White House is trying to set up a meeting. But the GOP aide noted the Senate leader has already spoken to Obama over the telephone and knows what he wants.

“We are working with the White House to schedule a time for a meeting,” said Don Stewart, McConnell’s spokesman. “The leader welcomes the opportunity to reiterate to the president directly that the American people will be heard on this matter, and the nomination will be determined by whoever wins the presidency in the fall.”

The meeting request appears designed to foil McConnell’s effort to end as soon as possible the conversation about possible hearings and a vote.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidOPINION | 5 ways Democrats can win back power in the states THE MEMO: Trump's base cheers attacks on McConnell It's time for McConnell to fight with Trump instead of against him MORE (Nev.) and Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyImmigration battlefield widens for Trump, GOP Grassley shouldn't allow Senate Democrats to block judicial nominees Trump’s rhetoric and bluster could lose US an ally in Mexico MORE (Vt.), the senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, have been invited as well.

Leahy said Wednesday he plans to attend.

“He’s asked me for suggestions and I’ll give it to him privately, as I’ve always have. As I’ve had to Republican presidents, too.”

—This report was updated at 4:29 p.m.