Trump's aides and allies are anonymously, sometimes quietly celebrating Ginsburg's death

Trump rally
(Image credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

President Trump has a new campaign T-shirt, ad slogan, and chant at his rallies: "Fill That Seat!" The seat in question, of course, was recently occupied by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday. Trump appears to have the votes to push through whichever conservative jurist he nominates, but his aides say he also has something else valuable, Politico reports: "something — anything — to take the nation's attention away from the coronavirus outbreak."

"While Trump's allies and aides were careful in more than half a dozen interviews to avoid appearing as if they were celebrating the death of ... Ginsburg, they all acknowledged the political windfall of the unanticipated event for a president who has seen his approval rating dip during the pandemic," Politico reports. "One called it 'super.' Another said the coronavirus has now been relegated to 'noise.'"

"He didn't wish her dead and he didn't kill her. But her death and the opening it created is clearly going to benefit the president," a Republican who is friends with Trump told Politico. "Any conversation about coronavirus leads to discussion of his handling of it. The most generous person in the world would say it has been mixed." Trump and his campaign are also hoping appointing an anti-abortion conservative will further rev up social conservative supporters and maybe some reluctant Republicans, but that's a double-edged sword, New York's Josh Barro notes:

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There is one clear loser in the bare-knuckled politics of shoving through a conservative nominee right before an election in which the governing party is down in the polls: the Supreme Court. "The chief justice and most of the associate justices believe strongly in the court's image as a nonpartisan institution," Harvard law professor Richard Lazarus tells The Washington Post. "But it is a battle they will lose if the other two branches insist on making the court into a partisan political institution."

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.