Sen. Kirk: GOP should 'man up' and vote on SCOTUS nominee

Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven Kirk10 top Republicans who continue to deny the undeniable GOP senator says he doesn't remember signing 2016 letter urging 'reform' of Ukraine prosecutor's office The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (R-Ill.) took a swing at his party Friday, saying Republicans need to "man up" and give Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland a vote. 

"Just man up and cast a vote. The tough thing about these senatorial jobs is you get yes or no votes. Your whole job is to either say yes or no and explain why," he told “The Big John Howell Show” on WLS-AM in Chicago.
 
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The Illinois Republican, who faces a tough reelection bid, was quick to break with the party's strategy to block President Obama's Supreme Court pick from getting a hearing, a vote or, in most cases, a meeting. 
 
He told The Hill last month he would accept a meeting with the president's nominee and added this week that "I will assess Judge Merrick Garland based on his record and qualifications."
 
Kirk's seat is expected to be a top Democratic target in November.
 
Republican Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes Senate fails to override Trump veto over emergency declaration MORE (Ohio), Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteGOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs Trump makes rare trip to Clinton state, hoping to win back New Hampshire Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE (N.H.) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonAmbassador Gordon Sondland arrives on Capitol Hill for testimony in impeachment inquiry GOP cautions Graham against hauling Biden before Senate Sondland could provide more clues on Ukraine controversy MORE (Wis.), who also face tough reelection bids, have suggested they would be willing to meet with Garland but that they think the seat should remain empty until next year. 
 
 
Kirk appeared to acknowledge that Friday. Asked about the potential for hearings, he said  "I think that given Mitch's view, I don't see his view changing too much. You know, eventually, we'll have an election and we will have a new president. The new president will obviously come forward with a nomination." 
 
Democrats were quick to pounce on his response, suggesting he needed to stand up to his party. 
 
"Sen. Kirk's refusal to demand his Republican colleagues provide Illinois native Judge Merrick Garland with a fair hearing and an up-or-down vote is an affront to Illinois voters," said Sean Savett, the Democratic Party of Illinois senior communications adviser. 
 
He added that if Kirk were "serious about fulfilling his constitutional responsibilities, he would publicly rebuke the strategy of the Republican Majority Leader he voted for, not predict the strategy's success."