Two leading Democrats have refused to meet with Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. They were quickly ridiculed by President Donald Trump, as the fight over Barrett’s nomination entered familiar partisan territory.
Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) both said on Saturday that they won’t meet with Barrett before voting on her confirmation, with Blumenthal calling her an “extreme jurist” and saying he would “refuse to treat this process as legitimate.”
Blumenthal’s argument was that Coney Barrett would strike down the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that enshrined abortion as a constitutional right.
President Trump didn’t argue with Blumenthal on Coney Barrett’s record, and he could have: as an appeals judge in Illinois, Coney Barrett did not issue any rulings on the ACA, but she criticized its individual mandate in a 2017 journal article. As for abortion, while Coney Barrett has said Roe v. Wade would be “unlikely” to be overturned, she did not include the ruling on her 2013 list of “super precedents” – cases that the court should never overturn.
Instead, the president attacked Blumenthal for lying about serving in Vietnam, dubbing the Connecticut senator “Hanoi Dick.”
“Hanoi Dick, who lied for years by saying he was a war hero in Vietnam, and was never even there (Impeach him!), should not be entitled to a vote on anything of importance,” Trump tweeted on Sunday.
Hanoi Dick, who lied for years by saying he was a war hero in Vietnam, and was never even there (Impeach him!), should not be entitled to a vote on anything of importance! https://t.co/QC2zv4IhYJ
Earlier, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee joked that Blumenthal wouldn’t be meeting with Coney Barrett because “he’s attending a reunion of his combat troop from Vietnam.”
In a speech to veterans in 2008, Blumenthal spoke of the “days that I served in Vietnam.” Five years earlier, he made a speech recalling “when we returned” from the war. However, Blumenthal obtained multiple deferments from service, before enlisting in the Marine Corps reserves in the US.
Republicans hold a 53-47 seat majority in the Senate, and only two of their senators – Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and Maine’s Susan Collins – have hinted that they might vote against Coney Barrett’s nomination. With her confirmation all but certain, partisan mud-slinging has replaced debate over the merits of her appointment.
Blumenthal and Hirono can decry the process as illegitimate, but they will likely be unable to stop it. Trump, meanwhile, can mock and ridicule Coney Barrett’s detractors, safe in the knowledge that her appointment will proceed regardless.
The president further piled on Blumenthal on Sunday, jibing that he lied about his service “for many years, and hundreds of times a year,” calling him “a Senatorial JOKE!”
YES, for many years, and hundreds of times a year. He is a Senatorial JOKE! https://t.co/Yvtt9FWzZK
Trump did, however, declare his long-held ambition to replace Obamacare with an alternate system “if it is terminated in the Supreme Court.”
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