In Sunday show appearances onand Fox News' "Fox News Sunday," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered an explanation of his decision to keep President Obama's Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland from being considered by the Senate:
"We simply followed the tradition in America, which is if you have a party of a different -- a different Senate of a different party than the president, you don't fill a vacancy created in the presidential year," he told "Fox News Sunday's" Chris Wallace. "That went all the way back to 1888."
After Supreme Court Justicedied in February 2016, McConnell said: "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president."
Wallace asked McConnell about his stand:
"When you blocked Merrick Garland's nomination from President Obama, you basically said that we don't do this in a presidential election year, and that we wait until the election, and then whoever the people choose, they get to pick the Supreme Court nominee. But what you just said now was, it's a question of whether or not it's the party in control of the Senate is different than the president.
"The question I guess I'm getting to here is, if Donald Trump were to name somebody in the final year of his first term in 2020, are you saying that you would go ahead with that nomination?"
After McConnell initially gave an indirect answer, Wallace followed up: "If you can answer my direct question -- are you saying that if Donald Trump --" McConnell responded, "The answer to your question is, we'll see if there's a vacancy in 2020."