The delay stems from a desire to wait until services happen for Ginsburg, whom he called “a legendary figure.”
“I think it’ll be on Friday or Saturday. And we want to pay respect; it looks like we will have services on Thursday or Friday,” Trump said in a phone interview with “Fox & Friends.”
“We should wait until the services are over for Justice Ginsburg.”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany had said about an hour earlier that it was “very likely” that the nomination would be announced before Sept. 23.
Twelve women are on Trump’s expanded list of candidates, but the president said on Sept. 21 that he’s narrowed down the options.
“It’s down to five and it could be any one of them,” he said. “These are very qualified people, and no matter how you would look at it, these are the finest people in the nation.”
Democrats want Trump to hold off on nominating Ginsburg’s replacement, arguing that because the presidential election is just weeks away, it would be inappropriate.
“Under no circumstances should the Senate consider a replacement for Justice Ginsburg until after the presidential inauguration,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.
Republicans, including Trump, say voters opted to keep the GOP with control of the Senate in the 2018 midterms, giving them the responsibility to nominate and confirm the president’s nominee.
“We won the election and we have an obligation to what’s right and act quickly,” Trump said.
Ginsburg on her death bed reportedly told her granddaughter that she would prefer a new president nominate her replacement, appearing to refer to whoever won the upcoming election.
Asked about that wish, Trump said: “I don’t know that she said that or was that written out by Adam Schiff and Pelosi and Schumer,” he said, referring to Rep. Schiff (D-Calif.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Most of those on the shortlist have already gone through the Senate confirmation process for lower court positions, Trump said, which means a Supreme Court confirmation should happen quickly.
While most Republican senators have said they support Trump and McConnell, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have said they oppose moving to replace Ginsburg before the election.
Trump said their opposition will hurt them in reelection battles. Collins’s seat is up for election this year while Murkowski’s current term ends in 2022.
The president challenged the notion that swiftly approving a Ginsburg replacement would hurt senators facing tough reelection battles. He said he believes it will help them, along with the country.
“I’m very lucky,” Trump said. “Because, rarely does a president have this opportunity to pick … three. Some presidents never get to pick any.”