Trump’s Supreme Court pick calms a rattled GOP – Politico
After lurching from one Trump administration crisis to another, exhausted Republican lawmakers are basking in President Donald Trumpâs smooth rollout of a conservative Supreme Court pick.
Trumpâs nomination of Colorado appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch was a moment for the GOP to rally behind its president after 10 days of ping-ponging between controversies: from the troubled rollout of a travel ban on nationals of seven Muslim-majority nations to Trumpâs false claim that millions of fraudulent votes were cast in the 2016 election to prolonged battles â egged on by Trump â about the size of his inauguration crowd.
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âItâs nice to be able to change the subject,â said Rep. Charlie Dent, a Pennsylvania Republican who has criticized Trumpâs immigration order.
Gorsuchâs nomination won widespread praise from all corners of the GOP. And Trumpâs inclusion of House Republican leaders in his announcement helped win a positive reception on the Hill. Interviews with Republican lawmakers Wednesday revealed a palpable sense that the move had calmed â for now â the nerves of lawmakers unsettled by Trumpâs often chaotic start.
âI think having a campaign promise thatâs been fulfilled should encourage conservatives,â said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a member of the Houseâs conservative Freedom Caucus. âIt helps us understand that while progress may have a few bumps in the roads, weâre still making progress.â
Rep. Richard Hudson, another North Carolina Republican, said he expected the positive moment could help the Trump administration âcatch their stride.â
âHeâs got folks really excited,â Hudson said.
Itâs a sharp change in tone from the first 10 days of the administration, when the anti-Trump Womenâs March and mass demonstrations at international airports dominated national headlines.
Rep. Steve King said Trumpâs court nomination was a relief for conservatives. The Iowa Republican even suggested that âit may well have been a White House decision to move the nomination of the justice of the Supreme Court up a day or two just to change the topic, rather than wait until Thursday.â Trump administration spokesman Sean Spicer recently told reporters that Trump moved up the Supreme Court announcement âbecause he wanted to.â
âNow weâre focused on confirmation of a new justiceâ¦Itâs good to change the topic, the rhythm, and change it to something that is very positive for the constitutionalists and the rule-of-law people in America,â King said.
Still, for all the good feelings following the nomination, some lawmakers said there was a sense of foreboding that the next controversy may be a tweet away.
And Trump himself offered a new distraction first thing Wednesday morning when he reopened a semantic battle over his immigration order: whether or not it should be dubbed a travel âban.â
âEverybody is arguing whether or not it is a BAN,â he tweeted just hours after standing alongside Gorsuch at the White House to announce his nomination. âCall it what you want, it is about keeping bad people (with bad intentions) out of country!â
Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) said Trumpâs administration will undoubtedly make mistakes again in part because âwants to get a lot done in a short period of time.â
âEvery now and then heâs going to step into a pile of horse manure,â Griffith said.
And King argued that itâs only a matter of time before demonstrations begin anew. Though he dismisses the protests as artificially stoked by Democratic leaders he said theyâre still upsetting to Republicans.
“I think President Trump is going to have to deal with these flare-ups and demonstrations because theyâre organized and called for by leaders â¦ I think we are going to have a demonstration a week until it dies down or they run out of funding,â he said.
And some Republicans arenât ready to turn the page on Trumpâs more controversial moves. Dent, whose Pennsylvania district includes a large Syrian population, said heâs still grappling with Trumpâs immigration order, noting that heâs working with a Syrian constituent who had prepared a home for a refugee family only to see their visas canceled mid-flight.
But Republicans spent the day flooding inboxes with positive statements about the administrationâs choice for the high court. And for at least a day, Republicans seemed united in feeling positive for the first time since Trump took office.
âOverall, heâs heading us in the right direction,â Griffith said. âThe Supreme Court is a good point.â