President Bill Clinton has some advice for Mitch McConnell: Don't be a stupid hypocrite. During an interview with Jake Tapper Sunday, he was pretty blunt about the consequences of McConnell's intent to shovel an extremist into Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat with just 45 days to go before the election.
"I think it would be good for Senator McConnell to make him feel better when he gets up in the morning if he proved that he wasn't being a hypocrite at the time and he just stuck with his position," Clinton told Jake Tapper. "I think all other Republicans should be asked to do the same."
"But you can't keep a democracy if there is one set of rules for one group and another set for everybody else," he emphasized.
I don't harbor any hope that Mitch McConnell will take that advice. But I really do hope it triggers Trump so he can have more stupid Twitter meltdowns and blow his golf game. In the meantime, the majority of the country is sane enough to understand exactly what's at stake here, regardless of McConnell and his machinations.
Full transcript below:
CLINTON: Well, of course it's superficially hypocritical, isn't it? Mitch McConnell wouldn't give President Obama's nominee a hearing ten months before the president's election. And that meant that we went a long time with eight judges on the court. This is what they do. They vote for Senator McConnell and President Trump. Their first value is power and they're trying to fill the court with as many ideological judges as they can. But to be fair, there is a case to be made for the argument McConnell made that in the middle of a presidential season you should give the voters a say. That's what he said. When it was ten months away. But when the shoe's on the other foot and he wants to judge, we're fewer than 50 days away and that argument doesn't cut any mustard.
So, it's going to further -- excuse me, it's going to further spread cynicism in our system. And, you know, he said he wouldn't do it. It's very interesting. Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans occasionally still claim had a similar situation. In early October Justice Roger Taney died in 1864. And President Lincoln wanted to appoint the then Secretary of the Treasury to the Supreme Court, but he did not do it until after the election. He said it was very close in the election and he shouldn't do it. And Senator McConnell said before he thought the people were entitled to a say. I don't know what's happened to make him stop trusting the American People, but apparently when it's to his advantage, the people are not entitled to a say. So it is what it is. It's politics.
But I think we should remember that. McConnell said what he said. Lindsey Graham said it shouldn't happen. Senator Grassley said it shouldn't happen. Let's see how he votes. It's a power play, and they think they can do it. The other interesting thing, they can do it because Senator McConnell made an agreement between the Republicans and the Democratic senators to end the filibuster for court of appeal judges, but keep it for Supreme Court judges. And the only reason they had to end it is McConnell, he voted against everybody on the court of appeals. He didn't want the Democrats to have any judges. There was no review. It was just whoever you put up I'm going to try to beat. But the minute President Trump was elected, he got rid of that agreement. That became history and all of a sudden we couldn't have a debate on a Supreme Court judge. And I think that was too bad because you want somebody who can do what Ruth Bader Ginsburg did, get 96% of the vote.
TAPPER: Yeah. I just want to ask you, sir, before we go, Democrats are saying that if there is this vote, if Republicans do push the Trump nominee through, that all options are on the table, and they're even talking about potentially if obviously Republicans lose the Senate and the White House and do not win back the House, if Democrats have control of everything, they're talking about adding justices to the Supreme Court. What do you think of that idea?
CLINTON: Well, the Constitution doesn't proscribe a fixed number of judges to the Supreme Court. The last time it was tried, didn't work out so well when Roosevelt was president. But I think -- my view is, first, I'm not in politics anymore, i'm going to let somebody else debate that. But, secondly, let's try to do this right now. We are really close to the election. And let's remember the example Abraham Lincoln set. And let's remember the commitments and the comments Mitch McConnell made.
I think it would be good for Senator McConnell to make him feel better when he gets up in the morning if he proved that he wasn't being a hypocrite at the time and he just stuck with his position. I think all other Republicans should be asked to do the same.
But you can't keep a democracy if there is one set of rules for one group and another set for everybody else.