When faced with questions during his confirmation hearing, U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch confirmed that he believes President Donald Trump‘s attacks on judges were “disheartening” and “demoralizing.” If those words sound familiar, they should. The language exactly mirrors what Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said Gorsuch said when the two met back in February.
At the time, Trump blasted Blumenthal for totally “mischaracterizing” Gorsuch’s comments, essentially he accused the Senator of making them up. Even though Gorsuch’s team confirmed the statements, Trump continued to harp on the idea that Gorsuch’s statements were somehow taken out of context. Well, on Tuesday afternoon, Gorsuch confirmed on the record in front of a panel of Senators that he did indeed think attacks on judges’ integrity were “disheartening,” and “demoralizing.”
You might recall back on February 9th, Trump even went on to blast Blumenthal over his military service when he brought up Gorsuch’s comments.
Sen.Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie),now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2017
Trump has drawn criticism from both conservatives and liberals for repeatedly criticizing judges. For example, he called the federal judge who struck down his immigration travel ban, a “so-called” judge. He also attacked another federal judge during the campaign over his Mexican heritage.
The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2017
During Tuesday’s hearing, Blumenthal repeatedly asked Gorsuch about these attacks. While Gorsuch wouldn’t talk specifically about the cases or get into politics, he did comment about attacks on judges in general.
“I care deeply about the independence of the judiciary,” Gorsuch said. He added that judges must take some level of criticism.
“Presidents have tried to pack the court. We have a First Amendment, people can speak their mind,” Gorsuch continued, “When anyone criticizes, the honestly, the integrity, the motives of a federal judge, well, I find that disheartening, I find that demoralizing.”
There is no reading between the lines on this one: Gorsuch was reacting to Trump’s comments. Trump can’t hide behind the “dishonest” media or a Democratic Senator “mischaracterizing” this statement this time.