Arizona Sen. John McCain said on 17 October 2016 that Republicans would block any U.S. Supreme Court nomination made by Democrat Hillary Clinton if she won the upcoming presidential election, but a spokeswoman for Senator McCain later walked those comments back.
Speaking to Dom Giordano on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, McCain discussed a range of issues, including a recent controversy over a recording of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s making lewd comments about women. He also weighed in on what Republicans would do if Trump’s opponent won the election:
I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up. I promise you. This is where we need the majority and Pat Toomey is probably as articulate and effective on the floor of the Senate as anyone I have encountered.
McCain made the comments on behalf of Sen. Pat Toomey, who is defending his U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania. He later walked those comments back, as his spokeswoman sent a follow-up statement to The Hill proclaiming:
Senator McCain will, of course, thoroughly examine the record of any Supreme Court nominee put before the Senate and vote for or against that individual based on their qualifications as he has done throughout his career.
The vacancy created on the Supreme Court when Justice Antonin Scalia died on 13 February 2016 has been a political hot point. President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland in March 2016, but Republicans have so far declined to begin hearings on Garland’s confirmation. Republicans hold 24 of the 34 U.S. Senate seats up for grabs in the 2016 election, and Democrats will need to gain 4 or 5 of those seats to take control, putting additional pressure on both parties to win down-ticket races in order to dominate the SCOTUS nomination process.
McCain has said he isn’t enthusiastic about Trump and may write in his friend, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, on his ballot to avoid voting for the GOP nominee.