President Donald Trump told reporters on Tuesday evening that filling the vacant seat on the Supreme Court before the election is essential given the court's role in resolving cases related to mail-in voter fraud.
"We need nine justices. You need that. With the unsolicited millions of ballots that they're sending—it's a scam, it's a hoax. Everybody knows that. And the Democrats know it better than anybody else," Trump said in response to a reporter who asked if confirming the justice would, as some Democrats said, "tear the country apart."
"So you're going to need nine justices up there. I think it's going to be very important," the president added. "Because what they're doing is a hoax, with the ballots. They're sending out tens of millions of ballots, unsolicited—not where they're being asked, but unsolicited. And that’s a hoax, and you're going to need to have nine justices."
During the same exchange with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, Trump said he intends to announce his nominee at 5 p.m. on Saturday. The president has previously said he intends to pick a woman and has urged Senate Republicans to quickly confirm the nominee.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on Sept. 18. She was largely considered to be the leader of the liberal side of the bench, making her replacement Trump's most significant Supreme Court nomination to date. The president's previous appointees to the Supreme Court replaced Republican-appointed justices.
Trump has long lambasted the idea of a mass vote-by-mail election. At least 100 million American voters will automatically receive either ballots or ballot request forms before the election on Nov. 3.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has similarly suggested that the Supreme Court bench needs to be full in the event of election-related legal challenges. The Supreme Court has previously weighed in on a presidential election in 2000 during the recount in the race between George Bush and Al Gore.
"So doing it before the election would be a very good thing because you're going to probably see it, because what they're doing is trying to sow confusion and everything else," Trump said. "And, you know, when they talk about Russia, China, and all these others, they will be able to do something here because paper ballots are very simple—whether they counterfeit them, forge them, do whatever you want."
"It's a very serious problem," he continued. "And the Democrats know what they're doing is wrong, and all they want to do is go forward with it. So I think you're going to need the nine justices."
Trump also said he has a constitutional obligation to make the appointment.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he will move forward with confirming any nominee Trump puts forth.