The White House

Remarks by President Trump on Judicial Appointments

Diplomatic Reception Room

September 9, 2020

3:45 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much, my fellow Americans.  Apart from matters of war and peace, the nomination of a Supreme Court justice is the most important decision an American President can make.  For this reason, candidates for President owe the American people a specific list of the individuals they consider for the United States Supreme Court.

Four years ago, I announced my first list of highly qualified candidates and promised to fill Justice Scalia’s vacant seat from among — from among those names.

Just days after my inauguration, I kept that promise when I nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch.  And, as you know, he has been very spectacular.  A year later, I nominated and the Senate confirmed another outstanding justice, Brett Kavanaugh.

By the end of my first term, we will have confirmed a record number of federal judges — over 300 — all of whom will faithfully uphold our Constitution as written.

What has always made America exceptional is our reverence for the impartial rule of law.  People have come here from all over the world to pursue the American Dream based on this sacred principle.

Equality under the law is the bedrock of our society.  It is the principle that inspired American heroes to abolish slavery and end segregation, secure civil rights, and build the most free and just nation in history.

Unfortunately, there is a growing radical-left movement that rejects the principle of equal treatment under law. If this extreme movement is granted a majority on the Supreme Court, it will fundamentally transform America without a single vote of Congress.

Radical justices will erase the Second Amendment, silence political speech, and require taxpayers to fund extreme late-term abortion.  They will give unelected bureaucrats that power to destroy millions of American jobs.  They will remove the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.  They will unilaterally declare the death penalty unconstitutional, even for the most depraved mass murderers.  They will erase national borders, cripple police departments, and grant new protections to anarchists, rioters, violent criminals, and terrorists.

In the recent past, many of our most treasured freedoms, including religious liberty, free speech, and the right to keep and bear arms, have been saved by a single vote on the United States Supreme Court.  Our cherished rights are at risk, including the right to life and our great Second Amendment.

Over the next four years, America’s President will choose hundreds of federal judges, and, in all likelihood, one, two, three, and even four Supreme Court justices.  The outcome of these decisions will determine whether we hold fast to our nation’s founding principles or whether they are lost forever.

That is why today I am announcing 20 additions to my original list of candidates for the United States Supreme Court.  Should there be another vacancy on the Supreme Court during my presidency, my nominee will come from the names I have shared with the American public, including the original list and these 20 additions.

Joe Biden has refused to release his list, perhaps because he knows the names are so extremely far left that they could never withstand public scrutiny or receive acceptance.

He must release a list of justices for people to properly make a decision as to how they will vote.  It is very important that he do so.

My original list of potential justices include many of our nation’s brightest legal minds, such as Bill Pryor, Amy Coney Barrett, and Thomas Hardiman.  Outstanding people.  Like those distinguished individuals, the 20 additions I am announcing today would be jurists in the mold of Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito.

Their names are as follows:

  • Bridget Bade of Arizona, judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Daniel Cameron of Kentucky, Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
  • Paul Clement of Virginia, former Solicitor General of the United States
  • Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas
  • Senator Ted Cruz of Texas
  • Stuart Kyle Duncan of Louisiana, judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Steven Engel of the District of Columbia, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice
  • Noel Francisco, former Solicitor General of the United States
  • Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri
  • James Ho of Texas, judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Gregory Katsas of Virginia, judge on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Barbara Lagoa of Florida, judge on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Christopher Landau of Maryland, United States Ambassador to Mexico
  • Carlos Muñiz of Florida, justice on the Supreme Court of Florida
  • Martha Pacold of Illinois, judge on the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • Peter Phipps of Pennsylvania, judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Sarah Pitlyk of Missouri, judge on the District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
  • Allison Jones Rushing of North Carolina, judge on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Kate Todd of Virginia, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Counsel to the President
  • Lawrence VanDyke of Nevada, judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Every one of these individuals will ensure equal justice, equal treatment, and equal rights for citizens of every race, color, religion, and creed.  Together, we will defend our righteous heritage and preserve our magnificent American way of life.Thank you.  God Bless America.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.

Q         Mr. President, why did you intentionally downplay the —

Does anybody have any questions on the judges?  Please.

Q         I do, sir.  Why did —

THE PRESIDENT:  Anybody?  On the judges?  Excuse me.  Any questions?  They’re outstanding people.  Very important decision.

Very important that Joe Biden put up potential nominees.  I think it’s a very important thing for our country that he do that.

Okay?  Please, go ahead.  Do you have a question?  Question?

Q       Mr. President, have you spoken to these candidates?

Q    Mr. President, can you address the concerns from the Woodward book in regards to whether — did you mislead the public by saying that you downplayed the coronavirus and that you repeatedly did that in order to reduce panic?  Did you mislead the public?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think if you said “in order to reduce panic,” perhaps that’s so.  The fact is, I’m a cheerleader for this country, I love our country, and I don’t want people to be frightened.  I don’t want to create panic, as you say.  And certainly, I’m not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy.

We want to show confidence.  We want to show strength.  We want to show strength as a nation.  And that’s what I’ve done.  And we’ve done very well.  We’ve done well from any standard.  You look at our numbers, compared to other countries, other parts of the world.  It’s been an amazing job that we’ve done.

I think it’s very sad, in many respects, because the incredible individuals working so hard on it, including our Vice President, they’ve done this great job.  They haven’t been acknowledged by the news media — and they should — for the job we’ve done.  Whether it’s ventilators — and now, you’ll see very soon, with vaccines and with therapeutics, the job we’ve done has been incredible.

Q    But, Mr. President —

THE PRESIDENT:  But we don’t want to — we don’t want to instill panic.  We don’t want to jump up and down and start shouting that we have a problem that is a — a tremendous problem — scare everybody.

And I’ll tell you the other thing: We immediately started buying.  All over the world, we started buying masks and gowns and everything else.  And we don’t want to cause pricing to go up to a level that becomes almost unaffordable.  So —

Q    But, Mr. President —

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah, in that sense — so, in that sense, I agree with it.

Yeah, please.

Q    Mr. President, how do you reassure the American public, going forward, that they can trust what you’re saying?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I think that’s really a big part of trust.  We have to have leadership.  We have to show leadership.  And the last thing you want to do is create a panic in the country.  This was a horrible thing.  It was sent to us by China.  It should not have happened — should never have happened.  This is a disgusting, terrible situation that was foisted upon us.

And we have to show — we just don’t want to use — the best word is “panic.”  We don’t want to have to show panic.  We’re not going to show panic.  And that’s exactly what I did.  And I was very open — whether it’s to Woodward or anybody else.  It’s just another political hit job.  But whether it was Woodward or anybody else, you cannot show a sense of panic or you’re going to have bigger problems than you ever had before.


Q    Respectfully, sir, your comments amounted to more than trying to reduce panic, sir.  On February 7th, you told Woodward —

THE PRESIDENT:  Please, please.

Q    — “It’s more deadly than [even] your strenuous flu.”  But —

THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me, he’s — he’s going.

Q    But then, publicly, you weren’t saying that at all.

THE PRESIDENT:  Go ahead, please.

Q    Look, Mr. President, don’t you think if you were more forthright with the American, more lives could have been saved?  Do you take responsibility at all for some of the 200,000 deaths that we’ve had?

THE PRESIDENT:  So, I think if we didn’t do what we did, we would have had millions of people die.  We closed up our country.  We closed it up very, very quickly, very effectively.  We did a job.  We learned about this horrible disease, along with the rest of the world, which had to learn about it.  And then we opened it up.  And now we know the vulnerable; we know who it attacks, who it’s so vicious against.  And I think we’ve done, from every standpoint, a — a incredible job.

We shouldn’t have lost anybody.  Nobody should have lost — China released something that they shouldn’t have been allowed to re- — they should not have released.  It came out of China.  It went to Europe.  It went all over the world.  It should have never happened.  They could have stopped it.  They stopped it from going into the remainder of China.  It started in Wuhan, and they stopped it.  But they didn’t stop it from coming to our country.

Now, we had to show calm.  We had to show — you know, if it was up to you or whoever — I have no idea what he said in the book.  And again, it’s a book that — I gave him some quotes and, frankly, we’ll see how the book turned out.  I have no idea.  You’re asking me questions for the first time.

But, again, the last thing we can show is panic or excitement or fear or anything else.  We had to take care of the — we had to take care of the situation we were given.

Now, long before anybody else wanted to do it, I closed our borders to a very heavily infected China.  If I didn’t do that, we would have had hundreds of thousands more people die.  Dr. Fauci said it.  Many people said it.  It was a great decision.  It was a decision I made and I had to make.

It was a decision that a lot of people thought I was wrong.  Nancy Pelosi said I was wrong.  Joe Bo- — Biden said I was wrong.  They all came back, and they said it was the right decision.  And I was way early.  That was in January.  The end of January, I did that.

So that was a very good thing we did.  Otherwise, we would have had hundreds of thousands more.  But if we didn’t close the country, we would have been talking about millions of people, instead of the numbers that we have right now.

Go ahead.

Q    Mr. President, you mentioned that you were trying to avoid price gouging.  But you mentioned to Bob Woodward that you recognized, as this virus spread through the air, in — on February 7th — you didn’t begin Project Air Bridge until March; you didn’t use the Defense Production Act until March; you didn’t start ramping up ventilator production until March.

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I mean, you didn’t — you didn’t really think it was going to be to the point where it was.  All of a sudden, the world was infected.  The entire world was infected.  Everyone was scrambling around, looking where to buy facemasks and all of the other things.

We’ve opened up factories.  We’ve had tremendous success with facemasks and with shields and with the ventilators.  We’re now supplying the rest of the world.  We have all the ventilators we can use.

And remember this: The ventilators were very important.  Not one person that needed a ventilator didn’t get it.  And these are very complex, expensive machines to make.  We opened up something like hadn’t been done since the Second World War.  We — honestly, we’ve done a — an incredible job.

But we don’t want to run around, screaming, shouting, “Oh, look at this.  Look at this.”  We have to show leadership.  And leadership is all about confidence.  And confidence is confidence in our country.

And our people have been great.  We’ve been put through a lot by China.  By releasing this, by having this come here, we were put through a lot.  They could have done something about it, and they chose not to.

I am very honored to have presented to you today a list of 20 incredible people.  And we will talk later.  I’m sure we’ll be meeting later in the day.

Thank you very much.  Thank you.

END                3:59 P.M. EDT

Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
September 9, 2020

President Trump Releases List of Prospective Supreme Court Nominees, Biden Must Do the Same

President Donald J. Trump today released a list of twenty additional names he will consider nominating as U.S. Supreme Court justices should vacancies occur on the high court in the coming months or in a second term. President Trump released a similar well-received list during the 2016 campaign because voters deserve a clear understanding of a candidate’s vision of the direction of the Supreme Court. With the President’s list of candidates now public, the Trump campaign called on Joe Biden to do the same and release his own list of prospective nominees.

“President Trump has a stellar record of appointing more than 200 solid, conservative federal judges, including two strong Supreme Court justices, and will likely get to 300 judges by the end of his first term,” said Bill Stepien, Trump 2020 campaign manager. “Voters deserve transparency and a clear view of what direction candidates for president would take our federal courts. We now forcefully demand that Joe Biden do the same.”

“We must have justices who apply the Constitution and not make their own policies on so many important issues.  That’s why it’s key that President Trump has released this list, because voters deserve the clarity and transparency of exactly where the priorities will be,” said Jay Sekulow, counselor to President Trump. “It is imperative that Joe Biden follow the President’s lead and release his own list and tell Americans where he stands, and what kind of justices he will pick.”

The next president may have the opportunity to nominate multiple justices to the Supreme Court. Joe Biden must declare what kind of judges he would select, as the nation will face key questions on fundamental issues of immense importance in the coming years.

Will Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominees:

  • Protect life, or side with the abortion lobby?
  • Protect religious liberty, or force nuns to pay for birth control?
  • Protect the 2nd Amendment, or forcibly remove the rights of law-abiding people to defend themselves and their families?
  • Protect law-abiding citizens and stand with police, or coddle criminals?
  • Protect our borders, our communities, and America workers, or create new rights for illegal aliens?
  • Protect taxpayers, or force people to buy products they do not want, like health insurance?
  • Protect American entrepreneurs and individuals, or side with government regulators who spit out miles of red tape that strangles freedom, growth, and innovation?
“President Trump has been the best president the pro-life movement has ever had, and we are again thrilled to see his list of potential Supreme Court selections. A nation can be measured by how it protects the most vulnerable, and a Supreme Court which protects the unborn is of paramount importance,” said Christina Bennett, Co-Chair of Pro-Life Voices for Trump. “We know that Joe Biden would select activist judges who bow to the wishes of the abortion industry.  For this and many other reasons, President Trump is the obvious choice in November.”

“The Founders of our nation thought so much of the right of people to defend themselves that they enshrined it in our Constitution. President Trump has always stood for the 2nd Amendment and his judicial selections will reflect that view,” said Linda Walker, Gun Owners for Trump Advisory Board Member. “We know that the forces who control Joe Biden will attack those rights and leave Americans defenseless. On 2nd Amendment rights, Supreme Court justices are extremely important, and President Trump has our back.”

“The 1st Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, but it does not require there be freedom from religion. People must have the right to worship according to their own beliefs, and President Trump has been a true champion of those freedoms,” said Congressman Tim Huelskamp, Catholics for Trump Advisory Board Member. “Now more than ever, with the unrelenting onslaught of the left, we must have Supreme Court justices who understand that people are born with the right to practice religion in their lives. Joe Biden and his leftist allies stand against those rights and cannot be allowed to appoint liberal activist judges to the court.”

“This list reflects President Trump’s commitment to the American people to promote judges who respect our national sovereignty and upholds the President’s right to defend our borders,” said Justin Clark, Trump 2020 deputy campaign manager. “These names reflect President Trump’s deep commitment to protecting our constitutional rights - especially our 2nd Amendment rights which are under assault from the Biden-Harris wing of the Democrat party.”

“In only four years President Trump has transformed the federal judiciary, and this list again demonstrates his commitment to those who want confidence that the Supreme Court will uphold our God-given liberties,” said Matt Morgan, Trump 2020 general counsel.  “The President is doubling down on his pledge to appoint justices who demonstrate a faithful commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law, thereby ensuring proper limits on the size of government and ending regulatory overreach.”  

“President Trump’s list of Supreme Court nominees shows once again his firm commitment to protecting our fundamental rights, including religious freedom and the right to life for every precious unborn child. Originalist judges are necessary to protect and preserve our constitutional republic, built on the truthful recognition that our rights are God-given, not government-given,” said Jenna Ellis, Trump 2020 legal advisor. “President Trump has fulfilled his promise to appoint originalist judges who are the guardians of our rights and freedoms for the next half century of American jurisprudence. Joe Biden would fill the bench with activists and socialists who would give government increasing power and trample our rights. We must re-elect President Trump to continue safeguarding our rights, especially on the High Court."

President Trump’s Additional Supreme Court Candidates

Bridget Bade, Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Daniel Cameron, 51st Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
Tom Cotton, U.S. Senator from Arkansas
Paul Clement, partner with Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator from Texas
Stuart Kyle Duncan, Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Steven Engel, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice
Noel Francisco, former Solicitor General of the United States
Josh Hawley, U.S. Senator from Missouri
James Ho, Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Gregory Katsas, Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Barbara Lagoa, Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
Christopher Landau, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the United Mexican States
Carlos Muñiz, Justice on the Supreme Court of Florida
Martha Pacold, Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Peter Phipps, Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Sarah Pitlyk, Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
Allison Jones Rushing, Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Kate Todd, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Counsel to the President
Lawrence VanDyke, Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List)
September 9, 2020    CONTACT: Mallory Quigley

SBA List Praises President Trump’s SCOTUS List: “Filled with All-Stars”

Washington, D.C. –  Today the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) praised President Trump’s updated list of potential Supreme Court nominees.

SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, who serves as national co-chair of Pro-Life Voices for Trump alongside Christina Bennett, commented:

    “President Trump’s latest Supreme Court list is filled with all-stars. The list reflects the president’s firm and proven commitment to only nominating Supreme Court justices who will respect the Constitution and the inalienable right to life.

    “We are confident that if a Supreme Court vacancy occurs in 2020 that President Trump and our pro-life Senate majority led by Leader McConnell and Judiciary Chairman Graham will move swiftly to fill it.

    “In contrast to President Trump, Joe Biden will only nominate Supreme Court justices who will uphold the Roe regime that allows for abortion on demand through birth.

    “The issue of the Supreme Court continues to highly motivate our base and we are seeing it persuade targeted voters at their doorsteps in presidential and Senate battlegrounds. It is a central issue in emphasizing that the 2020 election is the most important of our lifetimes and is why SBA List is committed to educating seven million voters across key presidential and Senate battlegrounds.”

SBA List is tracking the pro-life accomplishments of the Trump-Pence administration, as well as the abortion extremism of the Biden-Harris ticket at www.LifeOnTheBallot.com.

SBA List is a network of 900,000 pro-life Americans nationwide, dedicated to ending abortion by electing national leaders and advocating for laws that save lives, with a special calling to promote pro-life women leaders. SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser is the author of “Life is Winning: Inside the Fight for Unborn Children and Their Mothers,” the inside story of how the pro-life cause went from being viewed as a political “problem” to a winning issue. The book is available in stores and online at www.lifeiswinningbook.com.


Concerned Women for America
September 9, 2020


Natalie Panettiere

President Trump Puts Americans First with Focus on Judiciary

Washington, D.C.— Today, President Donald J. Trump released his much-anticipated updated list of possible U.S. Supreme Court nominees. Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), the largest public policy organization for women in the country, had this to say:
"Once again, President Trump puts the American people first with the release of this list. He continues to show that he respects and understands the constitutional structures that guard our liberties. His historic transparency should be enthusiastically received by all Americans, regardless of party affiliation.
"Conservative women, in particular, applaud the President for his unwavering commitment to the Constitution. Political activists on the bench are actually destructive for all Americans and especially for women. President Trump’s list shows that he understands the way to safeguard women’s rights and safety is to have impartial jurists who will not pick winners and losers based on the ever-evolving winds of cultural fads, but based on the intrinsic value we all share as creatures made in the image of God.
"The addition of names like Paul Clement, Sen. Ted Cruz, and Sen. Josh Hawley is a great encouragement to conservatives that President Trump’s commitments in this area are only increasing. He has already done a transformative work that will benefit the country for decades to come and now presents us with a promise to improve on his great work even more.
"Judicial nominations will be at the top of President Trump’s legacy. He gets the highest of marks from us."
NARAL Pro-Choice America
For Immediate Release: September 9, 2020

NARAL President Responds to Announcement of Trump’s Supreme Court Shortlist

Washington, DC  Today, just as damning news breaks that Donald Trump knowingly lied to the American public about his knowledge of the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump released a new shortlist of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees to fill a future vacancy. Today’s announcement tracks with Trump’s history of trying to distract and deflect from his countless failures in leadership by throwing a bone to his anti-choice, extremist base. Unsurprisingly, Trump’s list is rife with anti-choice extremists and radical ideologues. In 2016, Trump campaigned on his promise to only nominate judges who will work to overturn Roe v. Wade. He delivered on that promise by nominating Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Court, tipping its balance to an anti-choice, anti-freedom majority and paying back his debt to the ideological extremists he has relied on throughout his presidency and bid for reelection.

NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue released the following statement in response:
“Donald Trump’s Supreme Court shortlist paints an alarming picture of his dark vision for the future of this country. Make no mistake, this should terrify anyone invested in the integrity of the Court and in the fundamental rights and freedoms that we hold dear. We know that an intent to gut Roe v. Wade is an explicit litmus test for Trump judicial nominees as the administration seeks to halt progress and advance its broader agenda of power and control. Appointing judges with blatant disregard for the precedent of Roe poses an imminent threat to the future of reproductive freedom in this country.

Gaining power over the Court has long been part of the Radical Right’s efforts to enshrine into law their unpopular agendawhich includes eroding reproductive freedom, overturning Roe v. Wade, and decimating access to abortion. This list illustrates the absolute urgency of voting Trump out of office and flipping the Senate to a pro-reproductive freedom majority.”

The stakes for our democracy could not be higher heading into the November election. Given the opportunity, Trump and the Radical Right will wreak havoc on every level of the judicial branch. Just as they have done for the last four years, Trump and Republicans will undoubtedly spend the next four years actualizing their long-term goal of stacking the Supreme Court with regressive, ideological extremists who will turn back the clock on progress and undo generations of hard-fought victories.

NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all. For more than 50 years, NARAL has worked to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. Since 1969, NARAL has made history, grown to over 2.5 million members, and met the moments that have defined this fight with action, power, and freedom. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as “one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America.”