Through the first three weeks of the Trump Administration (GOD, it’s only been three weeks?), the bad headlines have been coming in hot and fast. The man is getting beat up by the media on the regular, and honestly, I think having 52 Republican Senators instead of 48 is the only thing that’s kept him from being ran out of town (Vote in your local elections, people. It’s never been more important). However, there was a half day in which the bad headlines finally slowed: After he nominated Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. Liberals were still pissed about Merrick Garland, for obvious reasons, but it was a clear victory for the right: Republicans were thrilled that they’d gotten a suitable replacement for Scalia. Briefly, the relationship between Trump and the Republicans had thawed.
But you knew that Trump would screw even that up, didn’t you?
Over the last several days, Donald Trump has taken to attacking the judiciary over their rulings in Muslim ban cases, calling them “so-called judges,” questioning their intelligence, and even suggesting that bad high school students were smarter than the judges ruling against the Muslim ban.
The beating heart of democracy — growing fainter by the day — finally woke up when Donald Trump began threatening the separation of powers. This cannot stand, and whatever else you want to say about Neil Gorsuch, he’s still a firm believer in the Constitution. He wasn’t happy with Trump’s comments, and he said as much to Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, calling Trump’s remarks “disheartening” and “demoralizing.”
So Trump's SCOTUS nominee is harder on Trump's criticisms of the judiciary than Senate Republicans.— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) February 8, 2017
Gorsusch apparently even gave Blumenthal permission to repeat those comments.
The shit has since hit the fan.
Laura Ingraham, for instance, attacked Gorsuch over the comments (what?):
Is this a terrible sign that Gorsuch desires to fit in with the elites—or a sign that he really is that clever? https://t.co/2GXOPvBeGo— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) February 8, 2017
Judge Gorsuch's comments abt @realdonaldTrump's tweets are concerning. Judges Pryor or Hardiman know better. Doesn't bode well— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) February 8, 2017
Meanwhile, Donald Trump is suggesting that Blumenthal has been misrepresenting Gorsuch’s comments.
Sen.Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie),now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2017
Trump is actually not wrong about Blumenthal’s misrepresentation of his military service, but the fact is, Blumenthal did serve during the Vietnam war while Trump sought five deferments because of a bad foot or something, and once claimed on Howard Stern that avoiding STDs during the 1980s was his “own personal Vietnam.”
The other problem for Trump is this: Neil Gorsuch’s own spokesman confirms that Gorsuch made those comments. Moreover, Gorsuch also told Republican Senator Ben Sasse that any attack on “brothers or sisters of the robe” is an attack on all judges. Former Senator Kelly Ayotte, who is spearheading the effort to confirm Gorsuch (and who pulled her endorsement of Trump during his losing Senate run), also weighed in with the following:
Kelly Ayotte on Gorsuch's comments: "He finds any criticism of a judge's integrity and independence disheartening and demoralizing." pic.twitter.com/xOOipKAbqs— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 9, 2017
Now Senator Blumenthal is calling on Gorsuch to go ever harder on Trump, to publicly criticize his comments, to further establish the judge’s independence from the executive branch. Those calls may grow even louder if, as expected, the 9th Circuit hands down its decision on the Muslim ban today and, as hoped, it goes against Trump. Donny Trash may go apocalyptic on the judicial branch, and his SCOTUS nominee may end up dead center in a political fight, which is exactly where you don’t want a potential Supreme Court justice.