Mitch McConnell Blasted Over Merrick Garland On Twitter For Complaining About Democrats Delaying Trump Nominees

Mitch McConnell, Merrick Garland, Trump, court, nominees
President Donald Trump (L) talks to the press as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) looks on after the Republican luncheon at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 9 in Washington, DC. Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican from Kentucky, moves to change the chamber's rules to limit debate time and more easily advance President Donald Trump's court nominees, Democrats and critics continue to blast the move as hypocritical.

McConnell would not allow Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee in 2016 after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died, to advance in the confirmation process because he said it was an election year and voters would decide at the polls.

"One of my proudest moments is when I looked at Barack Obama in the eyes and I said, 'Mr. President, you will not fill this Supreme Court vacancy,'" the majority leader boasted to attendees of the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in August 2016.

The Senate neither held hearings nor took a vote on Garland, who was nominated by Obama nine months before the 2016 elections — more than the four months that Brett Kavanaugh had from the time he was nominated to the Supreme Court by Trump to the 2018 elections.

"Merrick Garland" was trending on Twitter as of Monday, with critics pointing to how McConnell handled the Obama-nominee as proof of hypocrisy. In a floor speech, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, labeled the proposed rules change a "power grab" that sought to "politicize our courts" with conservative, far-right judges.

"You can't brag about passing more judges than ever before and then say, 'the process is broken, we have to change the rules,'" Schumer said. "There is a word that begins with 'H' — that I won't say — ends in 'Y.'"

The rules change comes as Trump and congressional Republicans have blamed Democrats for delaying the confirmation process for certain nominees. Approved by the Senate Rules Committee in February, the resolution sponsored by GOP Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma would reduce debate time for executive branch nominees and District Court judges from 30 hours to two hours.

The change in debate time would not impact Cabinet or Supreme Court nominees.

Due to the "unprecedented obstruction that has faced President Trump's nominees for the past 26 months and counting," McConnell said on the floor last week, "the Senate is going to do something about it."

"If we allow this to persist, we'll be doing the same thing to those guys that they've been doing to us," McConnell continued. "It'll be the new norm… These tactics will virtually guarantee that any future democratic administration is subjected to the same paralysis."

With Senate Democrats opposing the rules change, the resolution will presumably fall short of the required 60 votes to advance. The Senate may have the support, however, to invoke the "nuclear option," allowing the measure to pass with a simple majority, as Republicans did in 2017 to confirm Trump Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch.