Fox News anchor Chris Wallace challenged Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton on alleged “hypocrisy” surrounding Republicans’ intentions on filling the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The Sunday morning “Fox News Sunday” interview centered around Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s intention to have the Senate vote on President Donald Trump’s upcoming pick to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday after a long battle with metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Wallace, however, played a clip of Cotton in 2016 arguing against the Senate giving a confirmation vote to President Barack Obama’s pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
“In a few short months, we will have a new president, and new senators, who can consider the next justice with the full faith of the American people,” Cotton said then. “Why would we cut off the national debate about this next justice? Why would we squelch the voice of the people? Why would we deny the voters a chance to weigh in on the makeup of the Supreme Court?”
“Now, Garland was nominated nine months before the election and you were saying then nine months before the election it was wrong to deny voters a chance to weigh in,” Wallace said. “So if it was wrong then, nine months before the election, why is it okay now, six weeks before the election?”
“So Chris, in 2014, the American people elected a Republican Majority to the Senate to put the brakes on President Obama’s judicial nominations,” Cotton responded. “In 2018, we had a referendum on this question, just a month before the 2018 midterms we had the vote on Justice Kavanaugh.”
“There could not have been a clearer mandate because the American people didn’t just reelect Republicans, they expanded our majority,” he continued. “They defeated four Democratic senators who voted against Justice Kavanaugh. They reelected the one Democratic senator who did vote for Justice Kavanaugh. So we have a clear mandate to perform our constitutional duty. That’s what the Senate majority will do now. That’s what we did back in 2016 as well.”
“You really don’t think there is any hypocrisy at all in saying we need to give voters — because — I mean, you can parse the 2014 election, the 2018 election any way you want, but you stated a pretty firm principle in 2016 about Merrick Garland,” Wallace pressed. “It’s wrong to deny voters a chance to weigh in. You don’t see any hypocrisy between that position then and this position now?”
Cotton insisted that the Senate “is performing our constitutional duty” that voters gave them the last two election cycles. (RELATED: Jake Tapper Presses Klobuchar On 2016 SCOTUS Statement: ‘If The Constitution Was Clear Then, Is It Clear Now?’)
Later in the interview, the Arkansas senator suggested that some Democrats, including West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin may support the right nominee.