Ex-GOP strategist Schmidt: Dems should 'do everything conceivable' to block Trump SCOTUS nomination

Former GOP presidential campaign manager Steve Schmidt said Wednesday that "Democrats should dig in hard" and "do everything they conceivably can do to block" President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse panel approves 0.5B defense policy bill House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate House panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for assessment on 'incentives' to attack US troops MORE's Supreme Court nomination.

"And for the fabric of our democracy, Democrats should dig in hard here and do everything they conceivably can do to block this nomination, any nomination from going forward until after we see what happens in the midterm election," Schmidt said in a phone interview on MSNBC, where he serves as a political analyst.

Schmidt, who previously worked for Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainJuan Williams: Time for boldness from Biden Democrats lead in three battleground Senate races: poll Republican Scott Taylor wins Virginia primary, to face Elaine Luria in rematch MORE's (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign, has been one of Trump's harshest critics on the network. He announced this month he would leave the Republican party and start voting for Democrats. 

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Schmidt's comments come after Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFormer HUD Secretary: Congress 'should invest 0B in direct rental assistance' OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House approves .5T green infrastructure plan | Rubio looks to defense bill to block offshore drilling, but some fear it creates a loophole | DC-area lawmakers push for analysis before federal agencies can be relocated House approves .5T green infrastructure plan MORE (R-Ky.) announced their intention to vote on the president's selection to replace the retiring Anthony Kennedy in the fall, prompting widespread criticism from Democrats and setting up what promises to be a highly contentious confirmation process.

"Mitch McConnell has, as much as anyone, done great damage to the United States Senate as an institution that was once known as the world’s greatest deliberative body," said Schmidt on MSNBC.

"They stole a Supreme Court seat from the Democrats," he continued.

Democrats have argued that McConnell, who stalled a vote on former President Obama's Supreme Court nominee in 2016, should wait until after the midterms for a confirmation vote on Trump's forthcoming nominee.

“Millions of people are just months away [in the November midterm elections] from determining the senators who should vote to confirm or reject the president’s nominee and their voices deserve to be heard,” Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOvernight Defense: House panel votes to ban Confederate flag on all Pentagon property | DOD report says Russia working to speed US withdrawal from Afghanistan | 'Gang of Eight' to get briefing on bounties Thursday Top intelligence officials to brief Gang of Eight on Thursday Over 1700 veterans ask Senate to pass statehood bill MORE (N.Y.) said on the Senate floor, adding that “anything by that would be the absolute height of hypocrisy.”

 

Schmidt also made the argument that the president and Republicans are actually in the minority because Trump lost the popular vote by 3 million, thereby in his view allowing "a minority that is ruling the majority of the country who are opposed to this president."

"This is also, and I think it is important to point out, a president who is increasingly lawless, who asserts himself to be above the law, who attacks constantly fundamental institutions and pillars in the middle of a criminal investigation that has moved closer and closer and closer to the Oval Office," Schmidt added.

"The reality is, you have Donald Trump lost the popular vote by 3 million. He won by 78,000 votes across three states," Schmidt said. "And the Republicans control all three branches of government, the legislative and by Republican nominees on the Supreme Court."

"So, we have a minority that is ruling the majority of the country who are opposed to this president, and that is extremely unhealthy in a democracy," he said.

Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia in January 2017 shortly after taking office.

Gorsuch was confirmed in April 2017 by a 54-45 vote, mostly along party lines, with just three Democrats breaking ranks.

Kennedy, who was nominated by President Reagan in 1988, will officially retire on July 31.