McConnell, GOP Say Trump Diagnosis Will Not Delay Supreme Court Confirmation

October 2, 2020 Updated: October 2, 2020

President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis is not expected to delay the Senate confirmation process of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told news outlets on Friday that there is no change to the Supreme Court schedule, while Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-Ky.) said the nomination is “on track” and will start on Oct. 12.

“I talked to President Trump this morning. … First thing I asked him about was the First Lady. She’s doing good. The President was in good spirits. The first thing he asked me is how’s the hearings going? I said we’re on track. We’re going to start October the 12th,” Graham told reporters.

He noted that “we’re going to work hard to get this wonderful conservative young lady talented beyond belief, Amy Barrett, on the Supreme Court,” saying that Trump told him he has no symptoms and is “very focused on getting” Barrett to the Supreme Court.

McConnell, meanwhile, told the Hugh Hewitt show that he does not expect Trump’s diagnosis will delay Senate business.

“This is a woman who’s led an extraordinary life. She’s got seven children—two of them adopted—one with special needs,” McConnell told Hewitt, referring to Barrett. “She’s led an incredibly outstanding life with a wonderful family. We don’t anticipate any kind of unanticipated event that could throw us off schedule.”

Barrett has been in contact with GOP senators and the White House. She was tested Friday for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus, and her results came back negative, officials said.

Trump and Melania at 9/11 memorial
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump stand during the Pledge of Allegiance at a 19th-anniversary observance of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., on Sept. 11, 2020. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)

McConnell suggested in the interview that remote Senate hearings will be conducted for the Judiciary Committee later this month, noting that Trump’s diagnosis underscores the need for social distancing to curb the spread of the virus.

“This sort of underscores, I think, the need to do that,” McConnell said. “And I think every precaution needs to be taken because we don’t anticipate any Democratic support at all, either in committee or in the full Senate and therefore everybody needs to be in an all-hands-on-deck mindset.”

After the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last month, Republicans have been pushing to confirm a justice to replace her. Democrats have argued that the winner of the election on Nov. 3 should be the one who nominates a judge to the Supreme Court.

Trump and First Lady Melania Trump both confirmed their diagnoses late on Thursday night, saying they will quarantine for two weeks.