WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 07:  U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (L) walks towards the Senate chamber at the Capitol February 7, 2018 in Washington, DC. Sen. McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that they have reach agreement on a two-year budget deal.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 07: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (L) walks towards the Senate chamber at the Capitol February 7, 2018 in Washington, DC. Sen. McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that they have reach agreement on a two-year budget deal. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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Front row from left, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, and Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, back row from left, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr., Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch pose for a group portrait in the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court June 1, 2017 in Washington, DC.
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Justices of the US Supreme Court sit for their official group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on June 1, 2017. Seated (L-R): Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony M. Kennedy, Chief Justice of the US John G. Roberts, Associate Justices Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer. Standing (L-R): Associate Justices Elena Kagan, Samuel Alito Jr., Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON - MARCH 08: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy testifies before the House Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee on Capitol Hill March 8, 2007 in Washington, DC. Thomas and fellow Justice Clarence Thomas spoke about concerns with the ongoing remodeling of the court building, the reduction of paperwork due to electronic media and the disparity of pay between federal judges and lawyers working in the private sector. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2017, file photo, the Supreme Court in Washington is seen at sunset. The Supreme Court is ordering Washington courts to take a new look at the case of a florist who refused to provide services for the wedding of two men because of her religious objection to same-sex marriage.  The justices' order Monday means the court is passing for now on the chance to decide whether business owners can refuse on religious grounds to comply with anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBT people.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
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FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2017, file photo, the Supreme Court in Washington is seen at sunset. The Supreme Court is ordering Washington courts to take a new look at the case of a florist who refused to provide services for the wedding of two men because of her religious objection to same-sex marriage. The justices' order Monday means the court is passing for now on the chance to decide whether business owners can refuse on religious grounds to comply with anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBT people.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
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WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 12: Members of the Supreme Court, (L-R) Chief Justice John Roberts and associate justices Anthony Kennendy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Paul Stevens, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, applaud as U.S. President Barack Obama arrives to deliver his State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol February 12, 2013 in Washington, DC. Facing a divided Congress, Obama focused his speech on new initiatives designed to stimulate the U.S. economy and said, 'It?s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth'. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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WASHINGTON - JUNE 25: The exterior view of the U.S. Supreme Court is seen June 25, 2007 in Washington, DC. The Supreme Court has ruled to give more freedom for interest groups and unions to run TV ads before elections, and also ruled to limit taxpayers' rights to challenge government initiatives as unconstitutionally promoting religion. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
File/Alex Wong/Getty Images
WASHINGTON - JUNE 25: The exterior view of the U.S. Supreme Court is seen June 25, 2007 in Washington, DC. The Supreme Court has ruled to give more freedom for interest groups and unions to run TV ads before elections, and also ruled to limit taxpayers' rights to challenge government initiatives as unconstitutionally promoting religion. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, celebrating her 20th anniversary on the bench, is photographed in the West conference room at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Friday, August 30, 2013. (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg participates in an annual Women's History Month reception hosted by Pelosi in the U.S. capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.  This year's event honored the women Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court: Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.
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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg participates in an annual Women's History Month reception hosted by Pelosi in the U.S. capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. This year's event honored the women Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court: Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.
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(CNN) —  

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell left open the possibility of confirming a Supreme Court nominee in 2020 if Republicans still control the chamber and there’s a vacancy on the court, marking a shift over how he treated then-President Barack Obama’s nominee in 2016.

Speaking to both Fox News and CBS News on Sunday, McConnell would not rule out seeking to confirm a nominee if there is a Supreme Court vacancy in the final year of President Donald Trump’s first term in 2020, assuming the GOP holds onto the Senate in this November’s midterms. McConnell instead seemed to suggest that presidents don’t get Supreme Court nominees confirmed in a presidential election year — if the Senate is controlled by the opposite political party.

“You have to go back to 1880 to find the last time a Senate controlled by a party different from the president filled a vacancy on the Supreme Court that was created in the middle of a presidential election year,” McConnell said on Fox News. “That’s been the history,”

Asked directly if he would allow a nominee to be confirmed in 2020, McConnell repeatedly sidestepped the question.

“The answer to your question is we will see if there’s a vacancy in 2020,” he said.

The nomination of Merrick Garland

During the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Merrick Garland by Obama in 2016, Republicans who controlled the Senate argued that the next president should be the one to choose who the next nominee would be for the Supreme Court seat left vacant by death of Antonin Scalia. At the time, Republicans did not focus their arguments on the party that controls the Senate as they took the unprecedented move to deny Garland any hearings or votes, instead pointing to the proximity to the elections.

On Sunday, McConnell also made the case that it matters which party controls the Senate.

“What I did was entirely consistent with what the history of the Senate has been in that situation going back to 1880,” McConnell said on CBS News, defending his decision to block Garland’s nomination.