Trump Tells McConnell: 'Go Nuclear' If You Must

Tells Senate majority leader to use nuclear option if Democrats filibuster Neil Gorsuch
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2017 12:23 PM CST
Trump Tells McConnell: 'Go Nuclear' If You Must
President Donald Trump, accompanied by National Rifle Associations (NRA) Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre, speaks during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017.    (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

"Go nuclear." That's the official word from President Trump when it comes to signals that the Democrats will filibuster Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Trump revealed his advice for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should that happen: "If we end up with that gridlock, I would say, if you can, Mitch, go nuclear." The Hill reports that McConnell has so far been "noncommittal" about whether he would invoke the "nuclear option" in the case of a filibuster; that procedural move would allow the nomination to proceed with a 51-vote majority instead of the 60 needed to stop a filibuster.

Senate Republicans need eight Democrats to vote in favor of Gorsuch to get to 60 votes; so far, seven Senate Democrats have said they are opposed to a filibuster of Gorsuch. Sen. Ted Cruz said Tuesday that the nuclear option is on the table if Gorsuch is filibustered, but the Hill notes that the rule change "would break with decades of precedent and send shockwaves through the Senate." Plus, there's the fact that some Republicans are concerned it could be used against them someday if Democrats regain Senate and White House control. Per Politico, other Republicans have said it's too early to discuss a rules change. USA Today offers more of an explainer on the nuclear option. (More Neil Gorsuch stories.)

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