A Smirking McConnell Says He’d ‘Fill’ SCOTUS Vacancy If One Opens In 2020

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May 29, 2019 7:45 a.m.

After infamously infuriating Democrats in 2016 by blocking then-President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) acknowledged Tuesday he’d do the opposite if a vacancy occurred in 2020.

Speaking at an event in Kentucky, flagged by CNN, McConnell was asked what his position would be on filling a seat if one opened up during the election year. McConnell paused to take a drink and then smiled and said “Oh, we’d fill it,” sparking laughter from those in attendance, according to video of the event. 

The stance is a far-cry from his rationale for blocking Garland’s nomination in 2016, when he said a new justice shouldn’t be appointed during a presidential election year. McConnell’s spokesperson told CNN that the difference now is that both the White House and the Senate are controlled by Republicans, which was not the case under Obama.

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