President Trump reacted to the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Friday night, calling her “an amazing woman” that “led an amazing life” when learning the breaking news from reporters following a campaign rally.
“She just died? Wow. I didn’t know that,” Trump told reporters an airport tarmac in Bemidji, Minnesota after concluding a campaign rally. “You’re telling me that for the first time.”
“She led an amazing life. What else can you say? She was an amazing woman,” Trump added. “Whether you agreed or not, she was an amazing woman, who led an amazing life. I’m actually sad to hear that. Very sad to hear that.”
The news from the Supreme Court announced Ginsburg’s death broke about ten minutes after began speaking at his campaign rally. When asked by reporters about filling the vacancy, Trump ignored the question and ahead abroad Air Force One.
During his almost two-hour remarks, Trump brought up Supreme Court appointments. No aides interrupted the president to inform him about Ginsburg’s passing.
“That’s why the Supreme court is so important. The next president will get one, two, three, or four Supreme court justices,” Trump said. “I had two. Many presidents have had none. They’ve had none because they’re there for a long time. But the next one we’ll have anywhere from one to four. That will totally change when you talk about life, when you talk about second amendment, when you talk about things that are so important to you. You’re going to be stuck for 40 years, 35 years, a long time. So this is going to be the most important election, in my opinion, in the history of our country.”
In a written statement after returning back to Washington D.C later Friday evening, Trump wrote that “our Nation mourns the loss of a titan of the law.”
“Today, our Nation mourns the loss of a titan of the law,” Trump said. “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg served more than 27 years as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States — notably just the second woman to be appointed to the Court. She was a loving wife to her late husband, Martin, and a dedicated mother to her two children.”
Statement from the President on the Passing of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg pic.twitter.com/N2YkGVWLoF— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2020
“Renowned for her brilliant mind and her powerful dissents at the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg demonstrated that one can disagree without being disagreeable toward one’s colleagues or different points of view,” Trump continued. “Her opinions, including well-known decisions regarding the legal equality of women and the disabled, have inspired all Americans, and generations of great legal minds.”
Trump added his “thoughts and prayers were with Ginsburg’s family and their loved ones during this difficult time.”
Last week, Trump unveiled 20 additional new potential Supreme Court nominees to be added to his original list and pledged to nominate one of those names listed if the opportunity arises.
“Apart from matters of war and peace, the nomination of a Supreme Court justice is the most important decision an American President can make,” Trump said in a brief remark from the Diplomatic Reception Room on Sept. 9. “For this reason, candidates for President owe the American people a specific list of the individuals they consider for the United States Supreme Court.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has committed to move on the president’s nominee to get a Senate floor vote before the election.
“In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term. We kept our promise. Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year,” McConnell said in a statement following Ginsburg’s death. “By contrast, Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise,” he continued. “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
Ginsburg told her granddaughter that her dying wish was not to have her seat filled until a new president is elected.
“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” Ginsburg told Clara Spera in the days before her death, NPR reported.
The White House has also lowered its flag to half-staff.