President Trump's Supreme Court nominee says the president's recent criticism of judges is "disheartening" and "demoralizing," reports CNN. Neil Gorsuch used those words in a meeting with Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, according to Ron Bonjean, who is helping shepherd Gorsuch through his Capitol Hill meetings, per NBC News. (Note: Gorsuch did not use the word "abhorrent." CBS News reported that originally, but has since clarified that it was Blumenthal who used the word.) Trump in recent days has blasted the "so-called judge" who stopped his executive order on travelers from certain countries, as well as the judges who are hearing an appeal of that order, saying that they can't seem to understand what even a "bad high school student" would get. Trump wasted little time in going after Blumenthal, tweeting Thursday that "Sen.Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie),now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?"
Blumenthal summed up his meeting with Gorsuch thusly to the Washington Post: "I told him how abhorrent Donald Trump’s invective and insults are towards the judiciary. And he said to me that he found them ‘disheartening’ and ‘demoralizing’—his words." Bonjean later confirmed the judge used those words. Blumenthal added that he told Gorsuch that he should make his views more publicly known. One school of thought is that Gorsuch's comments could help him with Democrats in the nomination process, though a spokesman for Sen. Chuck Schumer said they didn't go far enough. “Given the president’s comments, that’s a very milquetoast response,” he said. "Anyone can be disheartened, but the judge has refused to condemn the comments privately or publicly.”