Donald Trump urges Republicans to 'go nuclear' if Democrats block Gorsuch vote

Judge Neil Gorsuch (right) speaks with US President Donald Trump after he was nominated for the Supreme Court, at the White House in Washington, DC, on Jan 31, 2017.
Judge Neil Gorsuch (right) speaks with US President Donald Trump after he was nominated for the Supreme Court, at the White House in Washington, DC, on Jan 31, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US President Donald Trump on Wednesday (Feb 1) said he would urge fellow Republicans in the Senate to invoke a rule change to force a simple majority vote on his Supreme Court nominee if Democrats block his choice.

With some Democrats questioning Trump's choice of federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch the day after the president announced him, Trump said he would not want congressional gridlock to interfere with Gorsuch.

He spoke at a meeting with interest groups who will support his choice of Gorsuch, who, if confirmed, will restore a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

Trump was asked whether he would urge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to use the so-called "nuclear option" to change the rules to make it easier to confirm him.

"Yes, if we end up with the same gridlock we've had in Washington for longer than eight years; in all fairness to President (Barack) Obama, a lot longer than eight years," Trump said.

"If we end up with that gridlock, I would say, 'If you can, Mitch, go nuclear,'" Trump said.

He said it would be "an absolute shame if a man of this quality" was blocked by Democrats and to avoid that eventuality,"I would say it's up to Mitch, but I would say, 'Go for it."