How long before Donald Trump begins attacking his own Supreme Court nominee? That’s the question now that Neil Gorsuch has privately criticized Trump for personally attacking federal judges this week, in a conversation with a U.S. Senator which has now become public. It turns out even Gorsuch can’t stomach the antics of the guy who just nominated him, and he can’t stay quiet about it.
To be clear, Gorsuch was privately answering a question from Senator Richard Blumenthal when he criticized Donald Trump’s attacks on federal judges as being “disheartening” and “demoralizing” for the Judicial Branch. But Gorsuch had to have known that Blumenthal would turn around and repeat his words to the public, as there has been a great deal of interest as to what Gorsuch thinks of Trump’s ongoing personal attacks on any judges who rule against him.
It’s possible that Neil Gorsuch is now willing to say whatever he thinks might help him get confirmed to the Supreme Court, even if he has to trash Donald Trump in the process. But while the Democrats in the Senate are promising to keep an open mind regarding Gorsuch until they have a chance to question him, they’ve also made clear that they’re perfectly willing to filibuster his nomination if he turns out to be as much of an ideological extremist as his judicial record suggests.
That means Gorsuch may have sold out Donald Trump today for nothing. He may well end up in a no man’s land where Trump no longer wants to actively throw his weight behind the nomination, even as Senate Democrats hang him out to dry. It also remains to be seen if Trump can manage to bite his tongue, or if he’ll continue attacking judges – perhaps even attacking Gorsuch – now that he’s been called out for the Constitutional crisis he’s creating.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report