Former Vice President Joe Biden repeated his belief that Republicans will be more willing to work with Democrats if President Donald Trump loses the 2020 election.
But he also offered a contradictory example -- one that showed, as Biden’s Democratic rivals have frequently pointed out, that GOP lawmakers refused to cooperate with Democrats well before Trump became the party’s standard-bearer.
Biden pointed to former President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court in March 2016. Senate Republicans refused to give Garland a hearing.
“I called 12 Republicans and said, ‘What are you doing?’ Biden said. “I said, ‘You realize what you’re doing to the Constitution?’ They said, ‘We know, Joe, but here’s the deal: Joe, I’m in a state where if in fact the Koch brothers drop in $10, $12 million, I will lose the primary.’”
Garland was nominated in March 2016 to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by former Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. Trump was elected later that year.
Biden didn’t explain why, if Republicans had been unbending before Trump due to concerns that they’d anger their conservative base, they’d be more willing to work with Democrats after his departure.
Still, he said, “I honest to God believe, with Trump out of the way, you’re going to find people screwing up a lot more courage than they had before to say, ‘OK, OK, I can move now, I have more leeway.’”