Speed Reads

Sunday shows

Chuck Todd grills Republican senator on rationale for supporting Supreme Court confirmation vote

A number of Republican senators have attempted to differentiate between the current effort to confirm a new Supreme Court justice to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the scenario in 2016 when the Republican-led Senate blocked then-President Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland.

Back then, the argument was that it was too close to the general election to confirm a lifetime nominee. One of the senators who supported that argument was Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wy.). On Sunday's Meet the Press, moderator Chuck Todd read a series of Barrasso's own previous quotes on the matter back to him, and also showed an old clip of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) saying he would support waiting to confirm a nominee until after the election if there was a vacancy at the end of President Trump's term.

Todd's point was that neither Barrasso nor Graham ever mentioned — as they do now — that they believe the election year argument only applies in cases where the Senate and the president hail from different parties, which is how some Republicans are explaining why supporting a vote for Trump's eventual nominee, even though the 2020 general election is only weeks away, isn't hypocritical.

In his response, Barrasso repeatedly emphasized the argument about party congruity, but failed to directly address Todd's assertion that the GOP didn't make the distinction four years ago. "Should viewers just not believe anything you're saying today because whatever you're saying today will change depending on the politics of the moment?" Todd asked his guest. Tim O'Donnell