President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch did tell senators that he considered attacks on judges "demoralizing," a former senator aiding his confirmation process said Thursday.
On Wednesday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said the federal appeals judge "certainly expressed to me that he is disheartened by the demoralizing and abhorrent comments made by President Trump about the judiciary." By Thursday, Trump fired back at Blumenthal, saying he "misrepresents" his conversation with Gorsuch. Trump also attacked his credibility due to misleading statements Blumenthal made about his military service.
Trump tweet: Sen.Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie),now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?
Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who has aided Gorsuch's confirmation process and sat in on senators' meetings with him, said in a statement Thursday that the judge did call attacks on the independence of judges "disheartening." But she appeared to say that he referred to any criticism of judges' ethics, not Trump's recent comments specifically.
"Judge Gorsuch has made it very clear in all of his discussions with senators, including Senator Blumenthal, that he could not comment on any specific cases and that judicial ethics prevent him from commenting on political matters," she said. "He has also emphasized the importance of an independent judiciary, and while he made clear that he was not referring to any specific case, he said that he finds any criticism of a judge's integrity and independence disheartening and demoralizing."