President Donald Trump privately indicated to a small group this week that he has settled on a nominee to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
During the July 4 picnic at the White House, Trump suggested to friends and some external advisors that he had already made up his mind about whom he will pick to join the high court, the person said on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the ongoing deliberations.
That source, along with another person familiar with the negotiations, said the president gave strong indications that he prefers D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Vice President Mike Pence, meanwhile, would throw his backing behind whoever the president nominates, a source said.
Trump and Pence believe Kavanaugh is considered the safest choice to reel in undecided senators, given his mixed opinions on a wide range of issues, including President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act and Roe v. Wade, the sources said.