WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump insisted Monday that he welcomes the threat of a second impeachment by Democrats if he is successful in his push to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“Go ahead … I want them to do it,” Trump told a crowd that broke into chants of “fill that seat!” at a campaign rally at the Toledo Express Airport in Swanton, Ohio. “I’m the only guy in the world that could get impeached for trying to fill a seat.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not rule out the possibility of impeachment Sunday after ABC News “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos pointed to calls for moving to impeach Trump or Attorney General William Barr as a means of delaying a Senate confirmation vote.
“Well, we have our options. We have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about to discuss right now,” Pelosi said.
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Trump’s comments came as he mulls his pick for the Supreme Court, which he said he would announce at the end of the week after memorial services conclude for Justice Ginsburg, who died Friday.
The president, who said he’s narrowed his shortlist to five women, told the crowd he planned to announce his decision “probably Saturday.” Trump earlier told reporters he would like to see the Republican-led Senate vote on his nominee before Election Day on Nov. 3.
“We have plenty of time to do it,” he said.
Ginsburg’s death has fueled a political firestorm with just 43 days left before Trump faces Democratic challenger Joe Biden in his bid for reelection. Democrats argue that it would be hypocritical for the Republican-led Senate to push through Trump’s nominee after refusing to hold a vote in 2016 for then-President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. Republicans said at the time the decision should be made by whoever won the election, which was still more than eight months away. The seat was held open and Trump appointed Neil Gorsuch after he took office.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and other prominent Republicans who argued for delaying Obama’s nominee four years ago have said they support holding a confirmation vote before Election Day on Nov. 3.
Earlier at the White House, the president met with one of his potential candidates, appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, according to two advisers speaking on the condition of anonymity. He said he may meet with another top contender, appeals court Judge Barbara Lagoa, during a two-day trip to her home state of Florida on Thursday.
Before his political rally in Swanton, Trump delivered an hour-long speech billed as a union workers meeting at Dayton International Airport in Vandalia, Ohio. But he echoed many of his usual campaign attacks on Biden, assailing the former vice president as a “die-hard globalist” who he accused of “economic treachery” and blamed for the loss of thousands of jobs in Ohio.
“It’s not that he wants to crush America, but he will just out of gross incompetence,” Trump said of Biden.
The former vice president traveled to the key swing state of Wisconsin on Monday, where he criticized the president’s handling the pandemic and accused Trump of endangering his supporters who “are packed as tightly as they can be, risking disease mostly without masks.”
“For Trump, these rallies are about entertainment (and) adoration. They’re not about respect. Don’t kid yourself. This is a one-way street,” Biden said.
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In Vandalia, Trump again proclaimed “we’re rounding the corner” on the pandemic even as the U.S. death toll due to COVID-19 climbed to nearly 200,000 on Monday.
Trump’s pair of events in Ohio, a state he won by eight percentage points in 2016, kicked off a string of events that will take him to several battleground states including Pennsylvania, Florida and North Carolina before he faces Biden in first presidential debate in Cleveland on Sept. 29.
Contributing: David Jackson, Ledyard King and William Cummings, USA TODAY