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

Greg Nash

Josh Holmes, former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said in a new documentary that the Republican leader urged President Trump to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on the night Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg 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 Garland.

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 Biden 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. 

Tags Amy Coney Barrett Amy Coney Barrett Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court nomination Donald Trump Joe Biden Merrick Garland Merrick Garland Mitch McConnell Mitch McConnell Ruth Bader Ginsburg Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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