Donald Trump suggests Democrats fabricated Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dying wish

Rozina Sabur
·3 min read
Donald Trump said he will move ahead "quickly" with a Supreme Court nominee - Alex Edelman/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock 
Donald Trump said he will move ahead "quickly" with a Supreme Court nominee - Alex Edelman/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Donald Trump questioned Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dying wish that her replacement on the Supreme Court be chosen by the next US president as he vowed to announce a nominee by the end of the week.

Mr Trump suggested without evidence that Democrats had concocted Justice Ginsburg's deathbed statement during an interview with his favourite news programme Fox & Friends on Monday.

“I don’t know that she said that, or if that was written out by Adam Schiff, and Schumer and Pelosi,” Mr Trump told the network, referring to three of the top Democrats in Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, senator Chuck Schumer and congressman Adam Schiff.

“That came out of the wind. It sounds so beautiful, but that sounds like a Schumer deal, or maybe Pelosi or Shifty Schiff,” he said.

Justice Ginsburg, who had publicly criticised Mr Trump, dictated a statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera just days before her death from pancreatic cancer on Friday, in which she said “my most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed”.

Justice Ginsburg was the Supreme Court's senior liberal voice - Samuel Corum /Getty
Justice Ginsburg was the Supreme Court's senior liberal voice - Samuel Corum /Getty

The statement was first reported by Nina Totenberg, a journalist who has covered the Supreme Court for decades, and a longtime friend of Justice Ginsburg and her family. It was later confirmed to other US outlets by the justice's family.

Mr Schiff, the Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said the president had reached "a new low" for suggesting the 87-year-old Supreme Court Justice's statement was fabricated.

He tweeted: "No, I didn't write Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dying wish to a nation she served so well, and spent her whole life making a more perfect union. But I am going to fight like hell to make it come true. No confirmation before inauguration."

The issue of when the Supreme Court seat will be filled now dominates the US presidential campaign and has triggered a fierce political battle between Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

Mr Trump said on Monday that he will announce his nominee to replace the firebrand liberal justice by the end of the week, in hope that the Senate will confirm his pick before November's election and secure a 6-3 conservative majority on America's highest court for years to come.

Joe Biden, Mr Trump's Democratic opponent said Mr Trump's plan to move ahead with a nomination before the election amounted to an "abuse of power".

The Supreme Court rules on issues that are fundamental to US society including on abortion, the environment, gay rights, the power of the presidency, and gun control.

Mr Trump has vowed to "move quickly" with a replacement but indicated he would wait until the public memorial services for Justice Ginsburg have concluded, saying he would make his decision on "either Friday or Saturday".

Justice Ginsburg will lie in repose outside the US Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday so members of the public can pay their respects to the 87-year-old who had become an icon for liberals across the US.

A public viewing will be held outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday - Sarah Silbiger /Bloomberg
A public viewing will be held outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday - Sarah Silbiger /Bloomberg

She will then lie in state in the US Capitol on Friday before a private burial service at Arlington National Cemetery next week.

The president said he is looking "very seriously" at five Supreme Court candidates. The favourite is thought to be federal appeals court judge, Amy Coney Barrett, 48, a devout Catholic, or Barbara Lagoa, 52, a Cuban-American.

Mr Trump's nominee would need to be confirmed by a majority in the Senate, which Republicans hold 53-47.

But he already faced a growing rebellion within his own party, with two Republican senators publicly opposed to moving forward before the election.