Two Democratic senators called on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on Tuesday to publicly condemn President Donald Trump’s attacks on the judiciary.
“This new nominee to the Supreme Court has to pass a special test, in my opinion, a true independence from the President,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said from the chamber floor. “I worry that he doesn’t have it.”
He said Gorsuch’s answers to questions he asked in a meeting Tuesday were “disappointing” in that respect.
“You can’t just assert ‘I’m an independent person,’ which he did. You have to show examples. I await them,” Schumer said Thursday.
Schumer said Gorsuch told him he was “disheartened” by Trump’s criticism of a federal judge who blocked the President’s travel ban, and noted that Gorsuch also made those comments to Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Ben Sasse (R-NE).
“What he did does not show independence. It shows an ability to desire the appearance of Independence without actually asserting it,” Schumer said. “To whisper to a senator but to refuse to say anything public is not close to a good enough show on independence.”
Blumenthal also called on Gorsuch to make those remarks publicly.
“I think that there is a clear need for him to condemn these attacks publicly,” Blumenthal said in an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “It’s not enough that he do it behind closed doors or in private meetings. He has to be very unequivocal and emphatic because more is at stake than just his nomination.”
Blumenthal told reporters on Wednesday that Gorsuch told him in a meeting that Trump’s tweets about judges “were demoralizing and disheartening.”
A spokesman for Gorsuch, Ron Bonjean, confirmed that the Supreme Court nominee made those remarks to Blumenthal.
On Thursday, Trump nevertheless suggested that Blumenthal lied about Gorsuch’s remarks.