Watch President Trump fire a warning shot at liberal law professors: If you attack him, you can never be part of his team.
Reacting to a case in which liberals demanded his conservative jurist Neil Gorsuch choose not to hear a case involving abortions, Trump said that he was going to take a side.
“The law professors say Neil Gorsuch should recuse himself,” Trump said at a campaign rally Saturday in Kansas. “And if he did, they should never be allowed to sit on a Supreme Court. Just like a President should never be involved in a case where he or she can make a political decision. But the law professors, they want him to take a side. Well, they’re not going to get their way, Neil Gorsuch will not recuse himself. I’m watching. Don’t worry about it.”
Trump didn’t seem to care about the fact that the case was about abortion (an issue conservatives oppose) and that Gorsuch, who was appointed by Trump, is outspoken on a different topic. Nor did Trump seem perturbed that he suggested appointing liberals would be a bad idea. He just wasn’t satisfied with defending his conservative jurist.
In an interview this week, Trump argued that he shouldn’t have to follow the normal rules for selecting high court justices: For a president to appoint a justice to the nation’s highest court, the person has to be subject to a non-partisan merit selection process based on an evaluation of their “temperament and other characteristics.” “Those are the qualifications I’m looking for,” he said.
Betsy Woodruff, the Washington bureau chief for The Atlantic, who spoke with Trump about the issue, responded by arguing that a president shouldn’t be able to impose his own qualifications on someone hired by his cabinet. As an example, she cited the time a New York Times reported that James Comey had been investigated for potential ties to Russian officials. (The story was reportedly based on anonymous sources). Trump called the story “fake news” on Twitter.
If I were a Democrat I would be VERY angry right now. Neil Gorsuch would never have been appointed if I were the Democrats. — Donald J. Trump () February 21, 2018
The Atlantic writer argued, however, that a president could pass the test by insisting on a non-partisan appointment process.
The president was unmoved.
“I mean, some people like it. Some people don’t like it,” he said. “I really think he’s going to be unbelievable for the country.”