“Senator Grassley has become the most partisan Judiciary chairman in the history of America. Instead of rising above partisanship and condemning Trump’s racist attacks on a highly qualified federal judge, Senator Grassley kisses Trump’s ring and toes the party line. Instead of condemning Trump, Grassley defended him.”
“In spite of everything coming out of Donald Trump’s mouth, Senator Grassley remains loyal… I believe no member of the Senate has done more for Donald Trump than the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
“Chairman Grassley has done everything in his power to hold open a Supreme Court seat for Donald Trump to fill.”
Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senator floor today about Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley’s continued politicization of the committee and his support for Donald Trump. Below are his remarks:
The Republican nominee for President of the United States continues to attack a federal judge because of his Mexican heritage. This is not only wrong – it is racist and it is un-American. It’s also a fundamental attack on the American judiciary system.
When issues like this arise, the nation has historically looked to the Senate for leadership. In particular, throughout our history, the Senate Judiciary Committee has been a bastion of independence and bipartisanship. When federal judges are under assault, we should expect the chairman of the Judiciary Committee to rise above politics and condemn racism. But not this Judiciary chairman, who is now the chairman in the United States Senate. Not the senior United States senator from Iowa.
Instead of a bold feat of bipartisanship, we are left with yet another example of how Senator Grassley has become the most partisan Judiciary chairman in the history of America. Instead of rising above partisanship and condemning Trump’s racist attacks on a highly qualified federal judge, Senator Grassley kisses Trump’s ring and toes the party line. Instead of condemning Trump, Grassley defended him.
His rationale is mind-boggling. Listen to this: Senator Grassley says that Trump must respect the judiciary, because over the course of hundreds of lawsuits and years of litigation, Trump has actually won some cases. You can’t make up stuff like this. To quote from a newspaper article:
“Grassley also suggested Trump’s propensity for filing lawsuits showed some level of respect for the judicial branch.
“‘He must respect the judiciary,’ Grassley said. ‘I’ve seen statistics that he’s won over 400 cases, only lost 30.’”
How about that? I find it curious that the chairman doesn’t have time to read Merrick Garland’s questionnaire or give him a hearing, but he has time to study Donald Trump’s success rate in the courtroom. That says a lot about Chairman Grassley’s priorities.
But in spite of everything coming out of Donald Trump’s mouth, Senator Grassley remains loyal. According to an Iowa newspaper, the Ames Tribune, Senator Grassley told his constituents on Friday: “He isn’t concerned by any of the controversial or inflammatory rhetoric coming from the Trump campaign.”
I am a little disappointed, but I am not surprised. I believe no member of the Senate has done more for Donald Trump than the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In January, when many Republicans were still trying to distance themselves from Donald Trump, Senator Grassley introduced Trump at an Iowa campaign event. Since then, despite dozens of Iowa editorials against him and pressure from his constituents, Chairman Grassley has done everything in his power to hold open a Supreme Court seat for Donald Trump to fill.
But I am surprised that Senator Grassley has yet to acknowledge these racist attacks on Judge Curiel, because these attacks are beyond the pale. Instead, Senator Grassley chose to further establish himself as a Trump cheerleader – just like the Republican Leader. Last week, Senator Grassley told his constituents:
“He’s building confidence with me. I’ve already said I’m going to vote for him…I’d campaign with him.”
But this is not the beginning of Senator Grassley’s campaign for Trump. Senator Grassley’s entire chairmanship for the last six months has been one big campaign push for Trump. His committee has become an extension of the Trump campaign.
The Republican Judiciary Committee has been so utterly focused on boosting Trump that it has neglected to do its job. Under Chairman Grassley, the committee is reporting out very few bills, and fewer judicial nominations than any time in recent history. And because of this inaction by the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, the Senate has confirmed fewer judges than in decades.
We were told yesterday how the federal judicial system in in disrepair. Why? Because the Senate Judiciary Committee is not confirming the nomination President Obama has made.
What has the Judiciary Committee done instead? It has spent its time carrying out a political hit job on Secretary Clinton. Senator Grassley has wasted countless dollars and staff time developing partisan opposition research that he hoped could be used to help Trump’s candidacy against Secretary Clinton. It hasn’t done anything but help shorten the pocketbook of the American people.
Senator Grassley has been so desperate to drag Secretary Clinton’s name through the mud that he even encouraged the FBI to leak an independent review of Secretary Clinton’s use of email.
At every turn, the senior senator from Iowa has used his committee for partisan purposes that benefit only one person: Donald Trump. There is no better example than the current vacancy on the Supreme Court. Rather than doing his constitutional duty and processing Merrick Garland’s nomination, Chairman Grassley took his marching orders from Trump, who said: “delay, delay, delay.” And that’s exactly what the senior senator from Iowa has done – delay, delay delay.
Chairman Grassley is hoping to run out the clock. He’s hoping President Trump gets to nominate the next Supreme Court Justice. That’s why last month, Senator Grassley said of Trump:
“I think I would expect the right type of people to be nominated by [Trump] to the Supreme Court.”
After Donald Trump’s latest attacks on the judiciary, does Senator Grassley honestly believe that Trump is the right man to pick nominees to the Supreme Court – or any court?
Donald Trump said that a federal judge should be disqualified from presiding over a case because of his Mexican heritage – even though he was born in Indiana. He said the same would apply if the judge were Muslim. Does Senator Grassley believe that Trump’s comments were racist? This is place for the senior Senator from Iowa to start his quest for fairness.
The Republican junior senator from Nebraska agrees it was racist. This is what he tweeted yesterday:
“Public Service Announcement: Saying someone can’t do a specific job because of his or her race is the literal definition of ‘racism.’”
The junior senator from South Carolina, also a Republican, called Trump’s remarks: “racially toxic.” But what does the senior Senator from Iowa say? Zero.
Does the chairman of the Judiciary Committee agree with Donald Trump? Does Senator Grassley also believe that judges should face a religious test? The senior senator from Iowa said he trusts Donald Trump’s judgment. He said – and I repeat – “he’s building confidence with me.”
After everything we’ve heard from Donald Trump – all of his vile, unhinged rants – does Senator Grassley honestly have confidence that Donald Trump should pick the next Supreme Court Justice? I don’t trust Trump to make that decision. The people of Iowa and America don’t.
Senator Grassley must stop using his committee to do Trump’s bidding. He must stop using the once-proud Judiciary Committee as an extension of the Trump political campaign. Instead of continuous delay, Chairman Grassley should give Merrick Garland a hearing and a vote – and do it now. Waiting for Donald Trump to choose the ninth member of the Supreme Court is not the answer.