Schumer privately asked Trump to nominate Merrick Garland to Supreme Court

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerRepublicans fear backlash over Trump's threatened veto on Confederate names Overnight 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 MORE (D-N.Y.) privately urged President TrumpDonald John TrumpSecret Service members who helped organize Pence Arizona trip test positive for COVID-19: report Trump administration planning pandemic office at the State Department: report Iran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report MORE in a phone conversation to nominate Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandMcConnell easily wins Kentucky Senate primary Don't mess with the Supreme Court Graham on potential Supreme Court vacancy: 'This would be a different circumstance' than Merrick Garland MORE, former President Obama's Supreme Court nominee from 2016, to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

A person familiar with the conversation said on Thursday that Schumer told Trump in a phone call that lasted less than five minutes on Tuesday that the move would help unify the country.

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The Democratic leader also warned the president against nominating a potential justice to the Supreme Court who would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, stating that such a move would be "cataclysmic" and damaging to Trump's legacy, according to a person familiar with the call, which was first reported by The Washington Post.

The source added that the call between Schumer and the president "seemed more like a check the box call than meaningful consultation" because it came after Trump had already begun narrowing his short list and interviewing candidates.

Schumer previously wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times that a potential nominee's position on abortion rights could likely be a deciding factor in their Senate nomination battle.

“The views of President Trump’s next court nominee on these issues could well determine whether the Senate approves or rejects them," Schumer wrote.

Senate Republicans declined to consider Garland's nomination in March 2016, citing the impending presidential election and stating the need for the American people to weigh in on the nomination.
 
Despite Garland meetings with several key Republicans, his nomination failed to gain any traction. Trump would later nominate Justice Neil Gorsuch to the seat formerly held by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
 
Trump has said he will announce his second Supreme Court nomination on Monday, telling reporters that he has narrowed the list to about five candidates, including two women.
 
“We have great people,” Trump said of his short list. “Highly talented, brilliant, mostly conservative judges.”
 
Trump has previously pledged to nominate "pro-life judges," but the White House says he is not asking his potential picks for specific policy opinions.
 
Updated at 12:50 p.m.