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Remarks at a Meeting With United States Senators To Discuss the Supreme Court Nomination Process and an Exchange With Reporters

February 09, 2017

The President. So thank you all very much for being here. We had a couple of great meetings this morning—the airline industry. We're going to get that one going. They've got a lot of problems, but it's going to be good. We just had talks with Qatar and a couple of countries—Afghanistan. I would say that that's a tough situation, but we'll do something about it. We'll be having some—we'll be giving you some pretty information—pretty good information soon. We're going to have some good, good conversations with other world leaders over the next 2 hours. Lot of things are happening, a lot of positive things.

I want to start by thanking Senator Manchin for having courage to vote for somebody that's really very outstanding, really outstanding, as good as they've seen in a long time. Nominating the Justice to the Supreme Court, a Justice, has always been considered one of the very important things that a President can do.

I guess I'm looking very much at defense, and we're negotiating a lot of contracts with the airlines and with a lot of other people, but when you get right down to it, the F-35 fighter is very important, and all of the things we're doing are very important. But I've always considered—and I guess a lot of people have—the Supreme Court nominees to be right up there. Right up there. We'll take defense number one. I think, Senator, we have to go with defense of our country number one? And right after that, I suspect it's going to be Supreme Court Justices.

And Judge Gorsuch is an exceptionally qualified nominee. Probably, there's rarely been anybody that's been more qualified. He has impeccable academic and legal credentials. He went to Columbia, very, very great student. He went to Harvard, top of his class. He went to Oxford. Great student, great intellect. He has an outstanding record for 10 years on the bench. One of the great writers, they say—legal writers. I've read some of the things that he's written, and believe me, he is a great, great writer. He'll respect and very much respect the Constitution, as written, and he will apply the law, as written.

He's a mainstream judge, very much mainstream, and I urge you all to confirm him. He's been doing very well. A lot of people are liking him very much on the other side. And I think that because of politics, perhaps they're not going to vote for him. I think that's a shame, because that's not being honest.

I've had a couple of people tell me from the other side, because believe it or not, I have a lot of friends on the other side too—[laughter]—and they think he's outstanding. And then, they go on to tell me that perhaps they won't be able to do that. But that's one of the reasons that our country is in stagnation in so many different forms and so many different ways. I think it's very dishonest, and I think it's very unfortunate.

But we'll see what happens. I think he's doing very well. And I know that some people are going to come onboard, and hopefully, we can do this in a very quick and civil manner.

The Cabinet slowly is happening. Jeff Sessions just got—you're very happy about that——

Senator John Cornyn. I am.

The President. ——because Jeff is outstanding. And we just swore in Jeff Sessions and—as Attorney General, and I think he's going to be outstanding. So I just want to thank you all for being here. We're going to have a good lunch, and we're going to talk about our Supreme Court nominee and somebody who will do a fantastic job for many years to come. And thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.

Supreme Court Nominee Neil M. Gorsuch

Q. Mr. President, any comments on Judge Gorsuch's comments about you, sir?

The President. You misrepresented his comments, totally.

Q. I just wanted to ask you what your thoughts were, sir.

The President. His comments were misrepresented. And what you should do is ask Senator Blumenthal about his Vietnam record that didn't exist after years of saying it did. So ask Senator Blumenthal about his Vietnam record. He misrepresented that, just like he misrepresented Judge Gorsuch.

Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 12:41 p.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks at a Meeting With United States Senators To Discuss the Supreme Court Nomination Process and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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