Connecticut Senator Blumenthal told reporters that Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, called the president's tweets against a federal judge “disheartening” and “demoralizing." The comments were confirmed by a member of the team guiding Gorsuch through the nomination process.
Blumenthal appeared on CNN to explain exactly to Anderson Cooper how the comments were made and in what context.
"Did you ask him directly about the president's comments," Cooper asked, "or did he bring them up on his own?"
I said to Judge Gorsuch that I find these attacks on the judiciary absolutely abhorrent, and unacceptable and I asked him to express his criticism, and to condemn these kinda of public attacks on an independent judiciary. And at that point, after some back and forth, he did say he found them to be disheartening and demoralizing. But, my view is that this condemnation has to be public, direct, [and] explicit because he has to show the American people that he will be independent, more than just a rubber stamp for a president who has launched a series of blistering and bullying attacks on the American courts anticipating in fact, to blame them for any terrorist incident that may occur, if his side of this case on the immigration ban is not upheld.
Blumenthal: Gorsuch's "condemnation has to be public." He has to show the American people that he'll be independent https://t.co/ZzcQTC9tEE
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) February 9, 2017
The tweets were seen by many critics as an inappropriate attack on the judiciary from the executive branch.
The nomination of Judge Gorsuch was widely celebrated by conservatives who were looking for the president to follow through on his repeated promises during the campaign to pick a trustworthy originalist justice. Gorsuch is seen by them as a suitable successor to the late Justice Antonin Scalia, even among vociferous critics of Trump like Glenn Beck.
Democrats, meanwhile, were forced by the far left to announce that they would do everything to prevent the confirmation of Gorsuch, including a filibuster, even as Republicans like Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) vowed that those efforts would not be successful.
Blumenthal was accused of exaggerating his military service when he suggested that he served in Vietnam but actually stayed stateside in the Marine Reserve. He also angered pro-life activists when he accused Operation: Rescue of advocating violence in an attempt to get then-Senator Sessions to distance himself from the group.