Washington (CNN)The senator who disclosed Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s apparent criticism of President Donald Trump is now calling for Gorsuch to go public with his misgivings.
Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat who met privately with Gorsuch earlier this week, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Thursday that he encouraged him to publicly share his condemnation of Trump’s recent attacks on federal judges, which Blumenthal, quoting Gorsuch, said were “demoralizing” and “disheartening.”
Trump has said Gorsuch’s words were “misrepresented,” and his aides have argued that Gorsuch was not speaking specifically about Trump’s recent criticism of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled against the Justice Department Thursday night in deciding not to reinstate the President’s travel ban.
“There is no doubt in my mind that he was referring to these attacks,” Blumenthal told Cooper, pointing to confirmations from Gorsuch’s spokesperson and several other Senate colleagues. “President Trump ought to listen to them and his own White House staff.”
Blumenthal now wants Gorsuch to confirm it himself, perhaps in public hearings.
“He must publicly condemn them. Not behind closed doors, in the privacy of my office or my colleagues’ — but publicly, clearly, directly,” he said. “He needs to demonstrate his independence. Otherwise, the American people will have justifiable doubts that he will be more than a rubber stamp.”