The White House is expected to announce President Trump’s choice to succeed Justice Kennedy on the Supreme Court Monday and Democrats say they’re ready for a fight. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine shared his strategy with a group of supporters over the weekend.
During a campaign stop in Charlottesville, Tim Kaine recalled the Republican treatment of former President Obama’s nominee to the court and argued the Senate should wait until after the Congressional elections this fall to vote on President Trump’s choice, but he admitted that was unlikely to happen.
“I’ve never known Mitch McConnell to let consistency trouble him, and so they’re likely to name a nominee, and I’ll tell you what I’m going to do and what I’ve encouraged my colleagues to do," Kaine told the gathering. "I’ve said first let’s do what they wouldn’t do with Merrick Garland. They wouldn’t even let him into their offices. All 49 of us should ask for a one on one meeting in our office, and say here’s the concerns I have. I want to look you in the eye and ask you about these questions. We should all do that!”
Among the issues he intends to raise are whether the nominee would support a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy and whether a president can pardon himself or fire a special prosecutor.
Kaine concedes Republicans have the votes to confirm anyone the White House wants, but based on earlier personnel matters he noted Democrats had a role to play in the process.
“We’ve stoopped the administration from even nominating some people they were thinking about nominating, and even after some people have gotten confirmed," Kaine said. "We’ve stayed on the backs of the Flynns, of the Bannons, of the Prices, of the Pruitts, and we’ve chased a lot of people out of their jobs, because they weren’t firt to hold the offices that they inhabited.”
He also said Congress should assume its legal power to regulate trade and stop a war that could cost Virginia farmers millions of dollars.
“We export $360 million of soybeans every year to China," Kaine said. "That’s dried up, so it’s soybeans, chicken, pork, apples, this has been very painful for Virginia ag, forestry.”
Kaine said the current commercial war could help the steel and aluminum industries but would cost an estimated 400,000 jobs nationwide.