Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) insisted on Monday that any comparison between Republican obstruction of President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court and the handling of President Donald Trump’s nominee was “total B.S.”
The Utah Republican told CNN co-hosts John Berman and Poppy Harlow that he supported dismantling the filibuster rule if Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch failed to get the necessary 60 votes.
According to Hatch, Democrats were “forcing” Republicans to use the so-called “nuclear option” of ending the filibuster.
“They’re politicizing this whole process,” he complained. “This is a guy who is a mainstream conservative, which they hate, they don’t like that. And of course, they are still upset about my other friend, [Obama nominee] Merrick Garland. But the Republicans had every right to delay that within a presidential [election] year.”
“But they look at you and say that’s a double standard,” Berman noted. “You call Judge Gorsuch one of the most qualified judges ever to be nominated. Almost everyone said the same thing about Merrick Garland, including you.”
The CNN host continued: “So there seems to be a double standard where you’re saying, it was alright last year when we for political reasons halted the nomination of Merrick Garland. But it’s not okay this year when Democrats try to halt the nomination of Judge Gorsuch.”
“I’ll just tell you straight up, that’s total B.S.,” Hatch shot back. “I can’t go back in time and show you any case where in a presidential election year they allowed a Supreme Court justice to be nominated unless both sides agreed. And both sides didn’t agree.”
“It was every right of [Majority Leader Mitch McConnell] and Senate Republicans to say we’re not going to do this in a presidential year. And at that time, keep in mind, it looked as though Hillary [Clinton] was a sure winner and we would have gotten an even more liberal judge than that one.”
“But that was a stand on principle,” Hatch opined. “Not some new barbaric thing that some have tried to make it.”
Watch the video below from CNN, broadcast April 3, 2017.