Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats make voting rights push ahead of Senate consideration Hogan won't say if he will file to run for Senate by Feb. 22 deadline Voting rights, Trump's Big Lie, and Republicans' problem with minorities MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday said he won't even meet with President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court.
McConnell said Republican members of the Judiciary Committee unanimously recommended to him that there should not be confirmation hearings this year to fill the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia's death.
In light of that, McConnell said, a meeting with Obama’s nominee is unnecessary.
“I don’t know the purpose of such a visit [by the nominee.] I would not be inclined to take one myself,” he said.
Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynAll hostages free, safe after hours-long standoff at Texas synagogue: governor McConnell will run for another term as leader despite Trump's attacks Republicans threaten floor takeover if Democrats weaken filibuster MORE (R-Texas) echoed that position.
“I don’t see the point of going through the motions and creating a misleading impression that something else is going on,” Cornyn said.
McConnell said the rest of the Senate Republican Conference backed him in a lunchtime meeting Tuesday.
"The overwhelming view of the Republican conference in the Senate is this vacancy should not be filled by this lame-duck president," he told reporters.
McConnell dug in his heels at an afternoon press conference as reporters peppered him with questions about his decision.
“I have many faults, but getting off message is not one of them. This nomination will be determined by whoever wins the presidency in the fall. I agree with the Judiciary Committee’s recommendation that we not have hearings,” he said.
“In short, there will not be action taken.”
Minutes before the GOP press conference, Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerKelly takes under-the-radar approach in Arizona Senate race Hundreds attend mass funeral for victims of Bronx apartment building fire Romney: I never got a call from White House to discuss voting rights MORE (D-N.Y.) stood by his party's assertion that Republicans would face “tremendous pressure” from Democrats and from the public to consider a nominee.
“The bottom line is, I think there’s going to be enough pressure on the Republicans and do their job and have hearings and a vote,” Schumer, the chamber’s second-highest-ranking Democrat, said as he headed to the briefing.
Updated at 3:45 p.m.