President Barack Obama mocked Republicans on Thursday for the shifting rhetoric they’ve used to justify blocking the nomination of a Supreme Court justice to fill the vacancy left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
“Some of the same folks who just a while back said, ‘Well, we can’t have hearings and vote for the guy Obama nominated because we’re so close to the election, we should let the next president make the nomination.’ Right? That’s what they said.” Obama said at a rally in Florida. “So now they think Hillary might win. They say, ‘Well, we might block hers, too.’ Wait. But I thought you said that the people were going to decide.”
November’s election was the reason GOP leaders gave when they signaled almost immediately after Scalia’s death in February that they planned to block anyone Obama nominated, no matter who it was. Indeed, Judge Merrick Garland — a moderate judge who has been praised by Republicans in the past — has received no hearings or votes since the President nominated him. Now, however, some GOP senators are saying publicly and privately that they plan to block Hillary Clinton’s nominees to the court as well if she becomes President.
“Can I talk to the press for a second?” Obama said Thursday. “What happened? Do we have a ‘run back the tape’? Do we have to kind of go, ‘well, what happened’? That’s what they said and now they’re saying something entirely different. Come on, man.”
He argued that Republicans and Democrats cannot be blamed equally for congressional gridlock.
“It’s just not true.”