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Remarks During a Meeting With Representatives of Supreme Court Advocacy Organizations and an Exchange With Reporters

February 01, 2017

The President. Getting those taxes down.

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover G. Norquist. Right.

The President. We're getting them down, Grover.

Mr. Norquist. Thank you. Thank you for winning!

The President. Grover's one person that likes me at this table, I can tell you that. So we've had a—[laughter].

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President Thomas J. Collamore. More than one.

The President. I have a lot of them. We have a lot. You've been great friends and supporters and appreciated for, number one, the election. And I appreciate all of the help in deciding who to pick for the United States Supreme Court. And, Leonard, you were fantastic. All of your work. And Jim DeMint—I don't know if Jim is here or not, but they were great, Heritage. You really did. You really helped. And the rollout has been fantastic. I don't know how anybody can oppose him, frankly. I don't know how anybody can oppose him at all, but it really has been a beautiful thing to see.

So we had a very successful event. He's a terrific person, by the way. I got to know him reasonably well the—before we did the announcement, and he is just a spectacular man. I think he will be a spectacular—you know, you tell me, how would they go about—Leonard, how would they go about opposing him? He's perfect in almost every way.

Participant. Smart guy.

The President. But they'll look for the "almost," right? They'll say, what's the "almost?" But that's——

Federalist Society Executive Vice President Leonard A. Leo. He's got an impeccable record.

The President. Well, Federalist really—they really did a great job. So we're going to be talking about working with the judge and maybe making this a fast process. And nominating a Justice of the Supreme Court is one of the most important things that I can do as President.

I've always said this—as I watched Presidents—I say, the most important thing. And I think I want to refine that a little bit. I think probably defense of our country might be now—you know, it's—otherwise, we don't need the Supreme Court so badly, right? And we're doing well in that regard, very well. I think we have problems that are a lot bigger than people understood. I think I was left something that is in—has got a lot of problems, but I think we'll straighten out those problems. I think we'll straight them out very strongly.

Judge Gorsuch is an exceptionally qualified person from the standpoint of experience and education: Columbia with honors, Harvard Law School with honors, Oxford at the highest level. Great, great student, great intellect. Supreme Court Justices White and Kennedy he clerked. And so I just think it's really great that we're having this meeting, because we want to have him go through an elegant process as opposed to a demeaning process. Because they're very demeaning on the other side, and they want to make you look as bad as possible. And of course, the press can be very demeaning too, so—but I'm sure the press will be very dignified in this case.

But I really want—that's the word—I really think he's a very dignified man. I'd like to see him go through a dignified process. I think he deserves that. And hopefully, it will go quickly, and we'll see what happens.

So what we might do is—just before they leave—we might ask for the folks in the room just to give yourself a quick—your name and a little introduction. And, Wayne, I would say they know you. Perhaps they know you better than they know me. [Laughter] Right?

National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne R. LaPierre, Jr. I doubt that. Wayne LaPierre, National Rifle Association.

Concerned Women for America Chief Executive Officer and President Penny Young Nance. I'm Penny Nance. I'm the CEO and president of Concerned Women for America.

American Values Senior Fellow Charmaine Yoest. I'm Charmaine Yoest. I'm with American Values, and thank you, Mr. President, for this nomination.

The President. Thank you very much.

National Independent Business Association President and Chief Executive Officer Juanita Duggan. I'm Juanita Duggan with the National Independent Business Association, NFIB. Thank you. Thank you.

The President. Great job.

Mr. Collamore. Tom Collamore with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Mr. President, congratulations on the fantastic nomination.

The President. Thank you. Thank you, my man.

Mr. Norquist. Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform. And thank you for winning the election.

The President. And thank you. We'll do a good job for you, Grover.

Mr. Leo. Leonard Leo, the Federalist Society.

Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. Marjorie Dannenfelser, the Susan B. Anthony List.

Leadership Institute President Morton Blackwell. Morton Blackwell, the Leadership Institute.

The President. Great.

National Right to Life Committee Executive Director David N. O'Steen. David O'Steen, National Right to Life. Thank you for such a quick, excellent nomination.

The President. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Evangelical Advisory Council Chairman Paula White. Paula White, chairman of the Evangelical Advisory Council. Thank you.

The President. Thank you, Paula. Thank you for the help during the campaign. So with that, I'll ask you to all hit the road. [Laughter]

Senate Confirmation Process for Supreme Court Nominee Neil M. Gorsuch

Q. A question, Mr. President. As you pointed out last night, the Judge was confirmed on a unanimous voice. Well, he's—can I ask a question, Mr. President? You all right? Thank you. As you pointed out last night, Judge Gorsuch was confirmed on a unanimous voice vote in 2006. Now, a number of Democrats say they are going to oppose him. What would you say to those Democrats? And would you encourage Senator McConnell to invoke the nuclear option if he feels he can't get 60 votes?

The President. Well, I think there's a certain dishonesty if they go against their vote from not very long ago. And he did get a unanimous endorsement, and he's somebody that should get it. I mean, you can't do better from an educational, from an experience, from any standpoint. A great judge; he'll be a great Justice.

So, no, I feel that it's very dishonest if they go about doing that. And yes, if we end up with the same gridlock that they've had in Washington for the last—longer than 8 years, in all fairness to President Obama, a lot longer than 8 years—but if we end up with that gridlock, I would say, if you can, Mitch, go nuclear. Because that would be a absolute shame if a man of this quality was caught up in the web. So I would say it's up to Mitch, but I would say go for it. Okay? Thank you. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 11:44 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to former Sen. James W. DeMint, in his capacity as President of the Heritage Foundation.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks During a Meeting With Representatives of Supreme Court Advocacy Organizations and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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