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Trump to GOP: 'Go Nuclear' if Democrats Block Supreme Court Nominee

by Chelsea Bailey /  / Updated 
President Donald Trump smiles as he speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, to announce Judge Neil Gorsuch as his nominee for the Supreme Court.Carolyn Kaster / AP

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday encouraged Republican leaders in Congress to "go nuclear" if Democrats on the Hill move to block his Supreme Court nominee.

Speaking at at the White House, the president said Neil Gorsuch deserved a "unanimous endorsement" and if Democrats cause gridlock, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has his blessing to choose the so-called "nuclear option."

The move would rob the minority party of the right to filibuster a nominee, allowing Republicans to confirm Gorsuch with only 51 votes, instead of the 60 normally needed.

Related: How Gorsuch Was Picked for SCOTUS - and the Careful Plot to Keep it Secret

"If we end up with that gridlock I would say, if you can, Mitch 'go nuclear' because that would be an absolute shame if a man of this quality was caught up in the web," Trump said. "So I would say, it's up to Mitch, but I would say go for it, okay."

Trump said Gorsuch should receive a 'unanimous endorsement' and that he was confident that he would be a great justice. On Monday night, the President announced that he would nominate Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016.

The President discussed the Gorsuch's confirmation during a meeting that included anti-abortion groups, tax reform advocates and NRA supporters, who vowed to help push the confirmation forward by urging their supporters to contact lawmakers.

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In an interview on Fox News following the announcement, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to say if he would consider using the "nuclear option," but he repeatedly stressed his confidence in Gorsuch’s confirmation, saying "we’re going to get him confirmed."

Related: Democrats Vow Resistance on Trump's Supreme Court Pick

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and other prominent Democrats have blasted Republicans for lashing out at a potential gridlock, given that they blocked a vote on President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland for a year.

"We’re not going to do what the Republicans did, but if the candidate is out of the mainstream, I can tell you I will fight and my caucus will fight tooth and nail against them," Schumer said on Tuesday before Gorsuch was nominated.

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