The Volokh Conspiracy

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Trump on SCOTUS in Wolff's "Landslide"

Trump "was now annoyed at all the people who had prevented him from appointing Giuliani to the Court."


I previously wrote about excerpts from Michael Wolff's new book, Landslide. Here is the full passage about Trump's reaction when the Supreme Court tossed Texas's election suit:

The president, who some had thought, perhaps wishfully might have been moving toward acceptance, reverted to high and bitter dudgeon. This was betrayal by the three justices he had personally appointed: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett. He reserved particular bile for Kavanaugh, whom, he now noted, he had not wanted to appoint in the first place. "There were so many others I could have appointed, and everyone wanted me to. Where would he be without me? I saved his life. He wouldn't even be in a law firm. Who would have had him? Nobody. Totally disgraced. Only I saved him." It was another persistent theme: he resented that he had been forced to appoint strangers rather than people he knew he could have depended on; he was annoyed at Giuliani for repeatedly assuring him that their allies on the Court would carry the day, and he was now annoyed at all the people who had prevented him from appointing Giuliani to the Court.

Rudy! For SCOTUS! Maybe we should be grateful it was Kavanaugh and not Judge Judy.

Earlier in the book, Wolff writes that he pitched Rudy for SCOTUS:

Giuliani was offered the Department of Homeland Security but thought that was beneath him—he did not want to forever be "9/11 Rudy." He was offered attorney general, but he said he was too old to go back to practicing law. Trump briefly suggested a Supreme Court position for him—risible for, among other reasons, Giuliani's long pro-choice history and the impossibility of his confirmation by a pro-life Republican Senate.

Trump said Kavanaugh lacked "courage"–and not just based on the election cases.

I don't want anything—one thing has nothing to do with another—but I am very disappointed in him, in his rulings. I can't even believe what's happening. I'm very disappointed in Kavanaugh. I just told you something I haven't told a lot of people. In retrospect, he just hasn't had the courage you need to be a great justice. I'm basing this on more than just the election. And the others … Roberts? What's going on with Roberts? I have no idea, and nobody else does. But the Supreme Court has shown no courage and no strength, and they have been horrible for the United States of America…"

Wolff also reports that Senator McConnell told Trump to cut Kavanaugh loose.

"I might as well tell you—Kavanaugh. Practically every senator called me, including Crazy Mitch, and said, 'Cut him loose, sir, cut him loose. He's killing us, Kavanaugh.' I said, 'We can't do that because it will destroy him—he won't be able to even go back to the second-highest court, right? They used the expression 'cut him loose,' and I said, 'I can't do that,' and it was very derogatory, that expression, 'cut him loose.' And I had plenty of time to pick somebody else … right? But they said, 'Cut him loose,' and I went through that thing and fought like hell for Kavanaugh—and I saved his life, and I saved his career. At great expense to myself.… okay? I had, let's say, fifty percent of the Republican senators or more saying cut him loose—fifty percent or more—and it made sense because they were saying, 'He's killing us.' And I fought for that guy and kept him.

This story includes the word "sir," which is usually an indication Trump is making it up. Then again, McConnell nudged Trump to pick Judges Kethledge or Hardiman for the Supreme Court. He said they would "presented the fewest obvious obstacles to being confirmed." Mitch was right.