Graham, who posted his comments to Twitter on Saturday afternoon, said that his decision to back President Trump was driven by two factors — former Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-NV) judicial confirmation rule changes and the Democrats’ ultimately unsuccessful attempt to derail Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanugh’s nomination to the high court.
“The two biggest changes regarding the Senate and judicial confirmations that have occurred in the last decade have come from Democrats,” Graham wrote. “In light of these two events, I will support President @realDonaldTrump in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg.”
Graham’s statement appears to put to rest Republican fears that he might favor leaving Ginsburg’s seat vacant until after the November election.
Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, the South Carolina senator
said, “Let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.”
He repeated the sentiment in a 2018 interview with
The Atlantic magazine. “If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait till the next election.”
But the Kavanaugh hearings clearly served as a game changer. Earlier this year, the senator
reportedly said: “After [Brett] Kavanaugh, the rules have changed as far as I’m concerned.”
In a separate tweet on Saturday, Graham directed reporters to his recent statements concerning possible Supreme Court vacancies. In one
interview, he said the Senate would work to confirm a Supreme Court nominee this year if a vacancy arose because circumstances differ from 2016, when Republicans blocked then-President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland.
During the battle over Garland, the White House and the Senate were held by different political parties. Now, Republicans hold both the White House and the Senate.
“If you look into the history of the country, there had not been an occasion where somebody was confirmed in a presidential election year after primary started when you had divided government,” Graham said in an interview on
Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren.
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