NBC Admits Gorsuch ‘Unscathed,’ Justifies Dem Filibuster Anyway

Despite acknowledging Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch “sailing through his confirmation hearing relatively unscathed,” on Friday’s NBC Today, correspondent Kristen Welker still carried water for the Democratic Party and offered excuses as to why Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was going to filibuster the eminently qualified judge.

Welker proclaimed: “Senate Democrats still angry over Republicans’ refusal to give President Obama's Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland, a hearing, are vowing to block Gorsuch’s confirmation with a filibuster.” A soundbite ran of Schumer announcing: “After careful deliberation, I have concluded that I cannot support Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. My vote will be no, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.”

Rather than question Schumer’s decision or point out the hypocrisy of the liberal lawmakers throwing a tantrum because they didn’t get their way, Welker was instead more worried about Republicans changing Senate rules to overcome Democratic obstinance:

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has threatened to use the so-called “nuclear option,” a maneuver that allows senators to change the rules in order to confirm Gorsuch with only 51 votes. The problem is, it is not a one-time exception and could set a new precedent in the Senate.

Moments later, she noted: “The White House hoping the extreme move won't be necessary.”

<<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

Instead of scolding Democrats for their obstructionism, the segment began with fill-in co-host Carson Daly declaring: “There is another battle heating up on Capitol Hill, the showdown over President Trump's Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch. The Senate’s top Democrat trying to force the hand of Republicans by vowing to block the nomination.”

While the Today show was openly advancing the anti-Gorsuch effort, the CBS and ABC morning shows barely mentioned or completely ignored the partisan move.

On CBS This Morning, co-host Charlie Rose offered a scant 24-second news brief:

Senate Democrats plan to filibuster Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination for the Supreme Court. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed to lead the move. At least ten other senators declared their opposition to the nomination yesterday. The announcement came as the Senate Judiciary Committee wrapped up four days of hearings on Gorsuch. The panel's expected to send his nomination to the full Senate early next month.

ABC’s Good Morning America skipped the news completely.

In sharp contrast, in March of 2016, the NBC, ABC, and CBS morning shows breathlessly hyped that Barack Obama’s nominee to the high court was being “held hostage to presidential campaign politics” by Republicans.  

On Thursday, the network evening newscasts could only manage seconds-long news briefs to inform viewers of the irresponsible Democratic action.  

Here is a full transcript of the March 24 report on Today:

7:09 AM ET

CARSON DALY: There is another battle heating up on Capitol Hill, the showdown over President Trump's Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch. The Senate’s top Democrat trying to force the hand of Republicans by vowing to block the nomination. NBC's Kristen Welker’s got more on that for us this morning. Hi, Kristen.

KRISTEN WELKER: Hi, Carson, good morning to you. With Republicans firmly in control of the Senate, Judge Neil Gorsuch will likely be confirmed. It's just a question of how at this point. Democrats plan to filibuster Gorsuch, setting up a big fight that could change how the Senate does business.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: “Nuclear” Supreme Court Confirmation Battle; Showdown as Dems Set to Filibuster Gorsuch Nomination]

UNIDENTIFIED MAN [REPORTER]: Good morning, your honor.

NEIL GORSUCH: Good morning.

WELKER: The fate of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch and the future of the Supreme Court are both up in the air this morning.

GORSUCH: And I am humbled. I’m honored every day I come to work. And I've been humbled and honored to be here with you.

WELKER: Despite sailing through his confirmation hearing relatively unscathed, Senate Democrats still angry over Republicans’ refusal to give President Obama's Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland, a hearing, are vowing to block Gorsuch’s confirmation with a filibuster. The move announced by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER [D-NY]: After careful deliberation, I have concluded that I cannot support Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court. My vote will be no, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.

WELKER: While there are enough Republican votes to confirm Gorsuch by a simple majority, Senate rules require a super-majority of 60 votes to end a filibuster. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has threatened to use the so-called “nuclear option,” a maneuver that allows senators to change the rules in order to confirm Gorsuch with only 51 votes. The problem is, it is not a one-time exception and could set a new precedent in the Senate. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, while reluctant to change the rules, said he would support the nuclear option.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM [R-SC]: Whatever it takes to get him on the court, I will do.

WELKER: Back in January, President Trump agreed.

SEAN HANNITY [JANUARY 26, 2017]: Would you want Mitch McConnell to use the nuclear option?

DONALD TRUMP: Yes, I would.

WELKER: The White House hoping the extreme move won't be necessary.

SEAN SPICER: We call on Senator Schumer to follow Democrats [sic] to abandon this attempt to block Judge Gorsuch from receiving a fair up or down vote that he and the American people have voted for.

WELKER: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he wants to get Gorsuch confirmed before the Senate takes its Easter recess. That's in the first week of April. Carson, Savannah?

DALY: That’s Kristen Welker at the White House for us this morning. Thanks, Kristen.


Please support NewsBusters today! [a 501(c)(3) non-profit production of the Media Research Center]

DONATE

Or, book travel through MRC’s Travel Discounts Program! MRC receives a rebate for each booking when you use our special codes.

BOOK NOW

NBDaily Appointments Judiciary Gorsuch Nomination Congress Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats NBC Today Video Kristen Welker Neil Gorsuch