SCOTUS Nominee Gorsuch Criticizes the President

Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 21, 2017, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch said it was “disheartening” and “demoralizing” for anyone , including Trump , to criticize the integrity of the judiciary.

“When anyone criticizes the honesty, integrity, the motives of a federal judge, well, I find that disheartening, I find that demoralizing, because I know the truth,” Gorsuch said, responding to a question from Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal hours into Tuesday’s marathon grilling.

“Anyone including the president of the United States?” Blumenthal asked. “Anyone is anyone,” Gorsuch said.

The White House pushed back quickly, insisting that the judge wasn’t talking about Trump’s attacks. Gorsuch made it clear he wouldn’t name names or talk specifics, but he did make the remarks after being directly asked about the president’s actions. The remark is Gorsuch’s strongest public rebuke of the president who nominated him to date, and it came nearly 10 hours into confirmation hearings in which many senators sought to determine just how independent the judge would be from the president. It’s also the same sentiment (and exact word choice) Blumenthal told reporters that Gorsuch shared with him in a private conversation last month.