GOP Arizona Sen. John McCain has been vocal about his disappointment that Senate Republicans might resort to using the “nuclear option” to confirm President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
McCain dismissed the notion Tuesday that changing the Senate rules to prevent a filibuster on Supreme would put the chamber in a better position, saying anyone who thinks it would be beneficial is a “stupid idiot.”
“I would like to meet that idiot, I’d like to meet the numskull that would say that,” he told reporters. “That after 200 years, at least 100 years of this tradition, where the Senate has functioned pretty well, they think it would be a good idea to blow it up.”
McCain said changing the rules would be a “body blow to the institution,” adding he thinks it puts them on a slippery slope.
According to the senator, the upper chamber has successfully dodged similar situations in the past. “The atmosphere is different” today, he added, citing how the “Gang of 14” managed to strike a deal in 2005 to avoid a rule change.
“Whoever said that is a stupid idiot who hasn’t been here and seen what I’ve been through and how we’ve been able to avoid that on several occasions — they’re stupid and have deceived their voters because they’re so stupid,” he continued.
McCain said he’s had numerous conversations with members on both sides of the aisle in an attempt to strike an agreement on the matter.
Senate Democrats confirmed they have the votes needed to sustain a filibuster. Republicans have repeatedly said they feel they are left with no choice but to go nuclear, despite the potential for the move to backfire in the long run.
“If we have to, we will change the rules,” South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said in committee. “It looks like we’re going to have to.”
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