President Donald Trump made clear he has no interest in waiting and vowed Saturday that he will name a woman next week to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court. “I will put forward a nominee next week,” Trump said. “It will be a woman.” Speaking at a rally in North Carolina on Saturday night, Trump’s supporters periodically broke into chants of what looks likely to be the new rallying cry for the president’s campaign events from now on: “Fill the seat!” Trump said the rallying cry will soon be on T-shirts. “I love that chant,” he said.
Trump began his rally by briefly paying tribute to Ginsburg, saying that her “landmark rulings, fierce devotion to justice and her courageous battle against cancer inspire all Americans.” He quickly talked about Ginsburg’s famous friendship with “our friend” late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, which Trump said was “a powerful reminder we can disagree on fundamental issues, while treating each other with decency, dignity and respect.” From there, the president quickly pivoted to say he has the power to fill the seat left vacant by Ginsburg’s death and he intends to use it. “So, Article II of the Constitution says that the President shall nominate justices of the Supreme Court,” Trump said. “I don’t think it can be any more clear, can it?”
Trump also seemed to leave open the possibility that the vote to confirm his nominee for the Supreme Court could come during the lame-duck session after the election. “We have plenty of time. There’s a lot of time. You’re talking about Jan. 20,” he said. Although Trump said his nominee would be a woman, he suggested he was open to changing his mind by what he joked was a “very scientific poll” of the crowd and whether those who attended the rally wanted him to nominate a man or a woman. The crowd cheered more for a female nominee, and Trump was satisfied with the result. “And by the way, that’s a very accurate poll, because that’s the way I feel. It will be a woman, a very talented, very brilliant woman,” he said before adding he hadn’t picked whom it would be yet. “But we have numerous women on the list,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Maine Sen. Susan Collins was the first Republican senator to seemingly break ranks with the president and saying she believed that the winner of the election should select Ginsburg’s replacement. Trump called out Collins during the rally: “We won the election. Now then we have some senators that, forget it. Think of it, I won’t say it. I won’t say it, Susan. I won’t say it, Susan.”