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Trump: Kennedy retired now because he’s ‘confident in me to make the right choice’ to replace him

The Hill logo The Hill 6/28/2018 Justin Wise
Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie © Provided by The Hill

President Trump on Wednesday said that Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court because he knew Trump would pick the right replacement to "carry on his great legacy."

"I'm very honored that he chose to do it during my term in office," Trump said during a rally in Fargo, N.D. "Because he felt confident in me to make the right choice and carry on his great legacy. That's why he did it."

Trump added that his nominee to fill the Supreme Court's vacancy will be on the bench for 40 to 45 years. Kennedy served 30 years on the high court.

"Remember this, so we have a pick to come up, we have to pick a great one," Trump said. "We have to pick one that's going to be there for 40 years, 45 years. We need intellect, we need so many things."

Shortly after Kennedy announced he would retire from the Supreme Court this summer, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that the Senate would vote on a nominee to replace him this fall.

But several Democratic lawmakers accused McConnell of being a hypocrite considering that the GOP leader blocked President Obama's Supreme Court nominee in 2016 because it was an election year. Many urged him to wait until after the midterm elections to hold hearings on a new nominee.

Trump said earlier Wednesday that he'd choose a nominee from a short list of 25 previously announced candidates.

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