Donald Trump, in possibly his biggest win to date as president, celebrated Neil Gorsuch’s ceremonial swearing-in to the Supreme Court at the White House on Monday, nodding to the fact that not everything has been easy in his first 100 days in the White House.
Gorsuch now becomes part of Trump’s legacy as president. And someone who, with his lifetime appointment, will outlast the President in the upper echelons of government.
And Trump, addressing the nomination fight from the Rose Garden, couldn’t contain his excitement.
“We are here to celebrate history,” Trump said. “I have always heard, the most important thing that a President does is appoint people, hopefully great people, like this appointment, to the United States Supreme Court. And I can say, this is a great honor.”
Then, in a nod to the complications he has run into throughout his first 80 days in office and the looming symbolic 100-day deadline for his presidency, Trump gave himself a pat on the back.
“And I got it done in the first 100 days,” Trump said to laughs. “That’s even nice. You think that is easy?”
Trump said he had faith in Gorsuch.
“Our country is counting on your to be wise, impartial and fair. To serve under our laws, not over them and to safeguard the right of the people to govern their own affairs,” Trump said. “I have no doubt you will rise to the occasion and that the decision you will make will not only protect our Constitution today but for many generations to come.”
All eight other Supreme Court justices attend Gorsuch’s ceremonial swearing in, including Anthony Kennedy, who swore in the new justice. Gorsuch clerked for Kennedy in the 1990s and said the justice was his mentor.
Political triumph for Trump
The Supreme Court, and Trump’s power to appoint at least one justice, if not more, was a key reason many conservatives backed Trump in the primary against a host of other Republican challengers.
Trump — then the presumptive Republican presidential nominee — released a potential list of conservative jurists he would pick in May, should he be elected president. He issued a second list later in that summer.
The announcement was politically savvy: As Trump struggled to convince conservatives to join his team, the list stood as a promise that he would alter the Supreme Court, should he get the chance.
Trump also thanked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the moment. McConnell last year refused to consider the nomination of President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, and then worked to discard with the custom of 60 votes needed to break a Democratic filibuster.
“I especially want to express our gratitude for Sen. Mitch McConell for all that he did to make this achievement possible,” Trump said.
Gorsuch, speaking briefly after the swearing in, used much of his time to thank those who helped him through the process.
“Thank you for the very warm welcome,” Gorsuch said to other members of the Supreme Court. “I look forward to many happy years together.”
And to the American people, Gorsuch said he was humbled by their trust.
“I will never forget for to whom much is given, much will be expected and I promise you that I will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant of the constitutional laws of this great nation,” he concluded.