President Trump on Sunday defended his Supreme Court pick of Judge Amy Coney Barrett from attacks on her religion, saying Democrats are “playing the religious card” amid a battle for the justice seat in an election year.
Trump a day earlier had officially announced the nomination of the conservative judge to fill the Supreme Court seat of the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Barrett, 48, is Catholic — and Democrats are “really brazenly attacking Judge Barrett for her faith,” Trump said during a Sunday press conference.
“I think they ought to treat religion with much more respect,” the president said. “I think it’s a disgrace that they can do it.”
“I think it’s horrible what they’re doing,” he later added. “They’re playing the religious card.”
Trump vowed that he will “stand with her” and “fight with her.”
“We will make sure that these attacks stop,” the president said.
Many Democrats are worried that Barrett’s appointment would put Roe v. Wade in danger.
Trump said he didn’t talk to her about Roe v. Wade, the Affordable Care Act, or the election.
“I think she’s going to rule on the law,” Trump said.
He noted that past presidents interviewing judges for the Supreme Court would not talk to them about cases.
“They think it’s inappropriate to talk about. I don’t know that it’s inappropriate, but I’ve gone by that custom,” Trump said.
While the president said the nomination process is “moving along very quickly,” Democrats have been pushing for a justice to get appointed when a new president is installed — which was Ginsburg’s dying wish.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Sunday again urged Republican senators to honor that.
“Never before in our nation’s history has a Supreme Court Justice been nominated and installed while a presidential election is already underway,” Biden said. “It defies every precedent and every expectation of a nation where the people are sovereign and the rule of law reigns.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said confirmation hearings will begin Oct. 12. A vote on the confirmation could happen by Oct. 29.
“This is the time to de-escalate, to put an end to the shattering of precedents that has thrown our nation into chaos,” he later added. “Just because you have the power to do something doesn’t absolve you from your responsibility to do right by the American people.”
Also on Sunday, Trump responded to a bombshell New York Times story about the president’s tax information — revealing he paid only $750 in federal income taxes in recent years, and paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years.
“It’s fake news. It’s totally fake news,” Trump said minutes after the story was published. “Made up. Fake.”
He said his tax returns are still under audit.
Trump said once the audit ends, “It will all be revealed.”