President Donald Trump privately discussed his frustrations with Neil Gorsuch, his Supreme Court nominee, earlier this year amid worries that he wasn’t “loyal” enough to the president.
As The Washington Post reported Monday night, Trump “was upset that [then-nominee] Gorsuch had pointedly distanced himself from the president in a private February meeting with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT),” claiming he was “worried that Gorsuch would not be ‘loyal.’”
In the private meeting with the Connecticut Democrat, Gorsuch called Trump’s first travel ban “demoralizing” and “disheartening.”
According to several Post sources familiar with the conversations, Trump floated the idea of rescinding Gorsuch’s nomination over the slight, though it’s unclear his “explosion” was mere venting or was discussed as a genuine prospect.
Nevertheless, “at the time, some in the White House and on Capitol Hill feared that Gorsuch’s confirmation — which had been shaping up to be one of the clearest triumph’s of Trump’s tumultuous young presidency — was on the verge of going awry,” the report continued.
Gorsuch’s confirmation and short tenure in the Supreme Court has been touted by the president as one of his greatest achievements since taking office in January.
According to 11 sources within the White House or familiar with the discussion, “Trump was especially upset by what he viewed as Gorsuch’s insufficient gratitude for a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court.” Shortly after his interview with Blumenthal, Gorsuch sent the president a handwritten note thanking him.
“Your address to Congress was magnificent,” Gorsuch wrote to the president in a note obtained by the Post. “And you were so kind to recognize Mrs. [Maureen] Scalia [widow of the late Justice Antonin Scalia], remember the justice, and mention me. My teenage daughters were cheering the TV!”
Upon receiving the note, the president was placated, the report continued.
“As head of legislative affairs, our team was in charge of his nomination, and never did I view his nomination in jeopardy, nor did the president ever suggest to me that he wanted to pull him,” Marc Short, the White House’s director of legislative affairs and assistant to the president, told the Post. “The process obviously caused frustration, but that frustration was compounded by the fact that Gorsuch had sent him a personal letter that he never received.”
As Bloomberg’s Steven Dennis noted on Twitter after the Post published their story, Trump’s concerns that Gorsuch would not be “loyal” to him are misplaced given that judges and other federal law enforcement officials take oaths to uphold the constitution rather than the presidency. The story, Dennis continued, is reminiscent of Trump’s request that former FBI Director James Comey swear loyalty to him — the denial of which led to his firing.
Flashback: Comey testified Trump asked for his loyalty https://t.co/pOEjNd814K
— Steven Dennis (@StevenTDennis) December 19, 2017
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