“Tradition” is apparently the reason Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell blocked President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland — which, essentially, means McConnell blocked Garland for no reason at all.
The Republican leader had no definitive answer whatsoever when NBC’s “Meet The Press” host Chuck Todd grilled him for not even allowing a vote on Garland.
“The tradition had been not to confirm vacancies in the middle of a presidential [election] year,” McConnell told Todd. “You’d have to go back 80 years to find the last time it happened… Everyone knew, including President Obama’s former White House counsel, that if the shoe had been on the other foot, [Democrats] wouldn’t have filled a Republican president’s vacancy in the middle of a presidential election.”
“That’s a rationale to vote against his confirmation,” a flabbergasted Todd shot back. “Why not put him up for a vote? Any senator can have a rationale to not to vote for a confirmation. Why not put Merrick Garland on the floor and if the rationale is, ‘You know what? Too close to an election,’ then vote no?”
To this, obviously, McConnell had nothing to say — except maybe fake a sinister laughter, which he did and then he pinned tried to pin blame on the American people.
“Look, we litigated that last year,” replied the majority leader, as uncertainty broke his voice. “The American people decided that they wanted Donald Trump to make the nomination, not Hillary Clinton.”
McConnell added he didn’t allow Garland a vote because of the presidential election year.
When Todd insisted if the GOP would apply the same rules to future SCOTUS picks, McConnell finally broke his composure.
“That’s an absurd question,” he cried. “We were right in the middle of a presidential election year. Every body knew that either side — had the shoe been on the other foot — wouldn’t have filled it. But that has nothing to do with what we’re voting on this year.”
You can watch the uncomfortable exchange in the video above.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Joshua Roberts