Mitch McConnell’s statement on Tuesday was a marked break from other GOP lawmakers.
The Background: When Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement, Biden pledged to abide by his campaign vow to nominate a black woman. He said in a statement, “I’ve made no decision except one. The person I will nominate will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character, experience, and integrity, and that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court. It’s long overdue in my opinion.”
The Details: McConnell was speaking at an event in Lexington, Kentucky when he made the statements. “I heard a couple of people say they thought it was inappropriate for the president to announce he was going to put an African-American woman on the court. Honestly, I did not think that was inappropriate,” McConnell said.
“President Reagan promised to put a woman on the Supreme Court, Sandra Day O’Connor. President Trump promised to put a woman on the Supreme Court when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away, so I’m not complaining about that,” he added.
What Others Say: Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) claimed the promise was insulting on his podcast Verdict With Ted Cruz. “If he came and said, ‘I’m gonna put the best jurist on the court’ and he looked at a number of people and he ended up nominating a Black woman, he could credibly say, ‘OK, I’m nominating the person who’s most qualified.'”
Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), however, appears to agree with McConnell’s take. “Put me in the camp of making sure the court and other institutions look like America. You know, we make a real effort as Republicans to recruit women and people of color to make the party look more like America. Affirmative action is picking somebody not as well qualified for past wrongs,” Graham said.