McConnell pushed Trump to nominate Barrett on the night of Ginsburg's death: report

Josh Holmes, former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: Taliban could take over Afghanistan by 'the end of the year' McConnell alma mater criticizes him for 1619 comments McConnell amid Trump criticism: 'I'm looking forward, not backward' MORE (R-Ky.), said in a new documentary that the Republican leader urged President TrumpDonald TrumpVeteran accused in alleged border wall scheme faces new charges Arizona Republicans to brush off DOJ concern about election audit FEC drops investigation into Trump hush money payments MORE to nominate Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettCourt watchers buzz about Breyer's possible retirement Five hot-button issues Biden didn't mention in his address to Congress Conservative justices split in ruling for immigrant fighting deportation MORE to the Supreme Court on the night Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgCourt watchers buzz about Breyer's possible retirement Five hot-button issues Biden didn't mention in his address to Congress Schumer waiting for recommendation on Supreme Court expansion MORE died. 

Holmes, who previously served as chief of staff to McConnell from 2010 to 2013, made the comments in a new "Frontline" documentary premiering Tuesday. The project, dubbed “Supreme Revenge: Battle for the Court,” will look at how the nation’s highest court has transformed over the years. 

According to an excerpt from the documentary, McConnell contacted Trump shortly after Ginsburg’s death on Friday, Sept. 18.


“McConnell told [Trump] two things,” Holmes said. “McConnell said, 'First, I’m going to put out a statement that says we’re going to fill the vacancy.' Second, he said, 'You’ve gotta nominate Amy Coney Barrett.'”

The Hill has reached out to McConnell’s office for comment. 

After Ginsburg's death, reports emerged that the late judge said just days before that her “most fervent wish” is her seat not be filled before a new president takes office.

"My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed," her granddaughter said the judge said in a statement.

Eight days after the death of Ginsburg, Trump nominated Barrett to fill the liberal justice’s seat on the court.


The nomination, which came just weeks before the November election, was met with immediate praise from conservatives given her views.

However, the pick also prompted fierce opposition from Democrats who demanded the seat remain vacant, with many pointing to past efforts made by McConnell in 2016 blocking then-President Obama’s pick to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandAmerica's Jewish communities are under attack — Here are 3 things Congress can do Biden set to flex clemency powers Genetic material from 1993 killing revealed years after another man executed for crime, groups say MORE.

McConnell repeatedly argued at the time that the vacancy should not be filled in an election year, citing remarks made by then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe BidenJoe BidenAtlanta mayor won't run for reelection South Carolina governor to end pandemic unemployment benefits in June Airplane pollution set to soar with post-pandemic travel boom MORE in 1992, and rejected the notion of giving Garland a hearing even more than six months before a presidential election. 

“The next justice could fundamentally alter the direction of the Supreme Court and have a profound impact on our country, so of course the American people should have a say in the court’s direction," he said then.

Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court eight days before the presidential election.