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Biden says McConnell has been 'nothing but a no' when asked about SCOTUS threat

President Joe Biden was asked Wednesday on the tarmac in Geneva what he thought about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's threat to block a Biden Supreme Court nominee if there was a vacancy in 2024, the year of the next presidential race. 

'The answer is Mitch has been nothing but no for a long time. And I'm sure he means exactly what he says, but we'll see,' Biden told reporters before leaving Switzerland for Joint Base Andrews. 

On Monday, McConnell had appeared on Hugh Hewitt's radio show and was asked if he'd repeat with Biden what he did to President Barack Obama in 2016 - not give Obama's Supreme Court pick, now Attorney General Merrick Garland, a vote, because it was during a presidential election year. 

McConnell would have to first win back the Senate majority during the 2022 midterms.  

'I think it's highly unlikely - in fact, no, I don't think either party, if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election,' McConnell answered. 

President Joe Biden was asked on the Geneva tarmac Wednesday about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's threat to hold up Biden's Supreme Court picks in 2014 if he regains the majority 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would block President Joe Biden's Supreme Court nominee if the person was nominated in 2024, the next presidential election year

Obama announced Garland in March 2016, nearly nine months before voters headed to the polls. 

He was to replace conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died the month before. 

Then, in 2020, when liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away in September, now former President Donald Trump swiftly picked Judge Amy Coney Barrett to take her place.

Against Ginsburg's dying wishes, the Republican-controlled Senate confirmed Barrett to the bench on October 27, one week before the presidential election. 

McConnell and the Senate Republicans have defended their actions pointing out that in 2016 party control of the White House and Senate was split, whereas in 2020, the same party, the Republicans, controlled both.      

'What was different in 2020 was we were of the same party as the president. And that's why we went ahead with it,' McConnell said. 

On the show, McConnell said holding open Scalia's seat - so the late justice was eventually replaced by Trump with conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch - was 'the single most consequential thing I've done in my time as majority leader of the Senate.'   

Conservatives now hold a 6-3 majority on the high court. 

McConnell famously blocked President Barack Obama's (left) pick to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, Judge Merrick Garland (right), who now serves as President Joe Biden's Attorney General 

McConnell, however, had no problem pushing through the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett (right), a week before the election. She's photographed with then President Donald Trump (left) during her nomination ceremony on September 26, 2020 

McConnell wouldn't say what he would do if, for example, liberal Justice Stephen Breyer retired at the end of the 2023 court session, and Republicans retook the majority after the 2022 midterms.    

'Well, we'd have to wait and see what happens,' the Kentucky Republican said. 

Hewitt told McConnell he was worried about some of the Republicans jumping into Senate primaries in states the GOP needs to hold on to if there's any chance of becoming the majority party again next year.  

Hewitt warned 'unelectable Republicans' could lose the GOP 'easily defended seats.'

McConnell answered, 'yes, if necessary,' he would get involved if it looked like someone who didn't appeal to a general election audience was poised to win.   

'You have to appeal to the general election audience,' McConnell said. 

'I'll be keeping an eye on that, hopefully we won't have to intervene, but if we do, we will,' the minority leader added.    

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