Grassley: 'If I can meet with a dictator,' I can meet SCOTUS nominee
© Greg Nash

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyOn The Money: Biden says workers can't turn down job and get benefits | Treasury launches state and local aid | Businesses jump into vax push Grassley criticizes Biden's proposal to provide IRS with B The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Infrastructure, Cheney ouster on deck as Congress returns MORE (R-Iowa) suggested Thursday that if he is willing to sit down with a foreign dictator, he should have no problem meeting with a U.S. Supreme Court nominee. 

"If I can meet with a dictator in Uganda, I can surely meet with a decent person in America," Grassley told CNN. "I want to make it clear that the message we told him on the phone yesterday, I will tell him face-to-face."
 
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While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate panel deadlocks in vote on sweeping elections bill Senate descends into hours-long fight over elections bill Republican governor of Arkansas says 'Trump is dividing our party' MORE (Ky.) and other Republicans have refused any in-person meeting Judge Merrick Garland, Grassley is one of approximately 10 senators who have suggested they would be willing to meet with the nominee. 
 
A day earlier, the White House said the Iowa Republican would be meeting with Garland after the Senate returns from its two-week recess in April. 
 
Grassley's office, however, quickly clarified that the senator hadn't explicitly agreed to meet but would talk to Garland again next month about a potential meeting. Grassley, who is up for reelection in November, added Thursday that it would be "pretty hard to say no" to a meeting. 
 
Grassley spoke with Garland over the phone on Wednesday. 
 
According to a summary of the call from his office, "Grassley congratulated Judge Garland and reiterated the position of the Senate majority, that it will give the American people a voice and an opportunity this year to debate the role of the Supreme Court in our system of government." 
 
Democrats and outside groups have made Grassley a prime target as they try to pressure Republicans into allowing Garland to get a hearing and a vote. The Iowa Republican, however, has shown no sign that he is rethinking his decision to block Garland from getting a hearing.