Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday dug in further on his vow to block President Barack Obama ’s Supreme Court nominee, casting doubt on speculation that Judge Merrick Garland could be confirmed after Election Day.
The Kentucky Republican wasted virtually no time after Justice Antonin Scalia died on Feb. 13 in making his plans known, with most of his Senate GOP caucus quickly backing him.
“On that sad day when we lost Justice Scalia, I made another pledge that Obama would not fill his seat,” McConnell said Tuesday night at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
In a speech that featured a single brief section devoted to GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, McConnell explained why he endorsed the New York real estate mogul after months of hesitating.
When it comes to picking a Scalia successor, McConnell said, “that honor will go to Donald Trump next year.”
Senior Obama aides have criticized McConnell's stance, saying the president fulfilled his constitutional duty by sending the Senate a nominee. The White House has pointed to the anti-Garland pledge as an example of GOP leaders' inability to govern since winning control of both chambers in 2014.