Fox News reports Monday that the White House has an extensive, two-pronged plan to protect Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett as she navigates her upcoming Senate confirmation process — a process expected to be especially brutal for the 7th Circuit judge who hopes to fill the seat vacated by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Aides told the network that the White House plans to deploy “‘knife fighters’ to ‘fiercely’ defend the nominee ahead of what’s expected to be a heated battle on Capitol Hill” and that a team is already in place to help Barrett weather the storm, guiding her through the process of handling upcoming Senate hearings and the inevitable attacks.
“Senior White House officials told Fox News that the team is broken into two parts: one focused on communications and the other focused on guiding Barrett through the process on Capitol Hill,” Fox News reports.
Much of the team is comprised of existing White House communications professionals, including Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, several of her deputies, and at least two other communications officials, “Alyssa Farah and Ben Williamson, who are veterans of Capitol Hill and who have unique relationships with Republican leadership in both chambers of Congress.”
Trump administration officials say they’re prepared for what the expect to be a brutal battle with Democrats over Ginsburg’s seat and her legacy — and they acknowledge that the “opposition” sees nothing as “off-limits.”
“We will need to be knife fighters with the opposition, and will be prepared to marshal information quickly, and disseminate it to push back on any false narratives or attacks on her and her family, because we anticipate, unfortunately, that Democrats will go there,” a source told the network. “So we’re mounting an offensive strategy on her behalf because she is such an incredible and inspiring nominee. We’ll be defending her fiercely every day.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is also said to be working closely with the White House, informing Barrett’s team of efforts to whip Senate votes into her corner. Also likely on speed dial, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who will set the timeline for Barrett’s confirmation hearings in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Prominent Democrats are already voicing concerns over Barrett’s nomination and the truncated timeline; Barrett will have to be vetted and confirmed before the November elections and Republicans are already planning to begin proceedings on October 16th and to hold a final vote on her nomination to the Supreme Court the final week of October.
Several, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), have indicated they do not plan to participate in any run-up interviews ahead of Barrett’s appearance in front of the Judiciary Committee.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) fired back at Democrats refusing to meet with Barrett Sunday night, suggesting that a Judiciary Committee hearing devoid of an opposition party would greatly speed the nomination and confirmation process.
Author: Emily Zanotti