It's one thing for Donald Trump to express indifference toward Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dying wish; it's something else for the president to question the validity of the late justice's request.
As RBG's health started failing, she took the time to make plain what she wanted to see happen. "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed," Ginsburg told her granddaughter in the days before her death. As the Associated Press emphasized, the quote was first reported by NPR’s Nina Totenberg, a longtime personal friend of the late justice.
This morning, Fox News asked Trump about the statement. He responded in a decidedly Trumpian way.
Asked about Ginsburg's dying wish, in which she reportedly said she didn't want to be replaced until a new president was in office, Trump said, without evidence, "I don't know that she said that, or was that written out by Adam Schiff and Schumer and Pelosi? I would be more inclined to the second, OK, you know. It came out of the wind, it sounds so beautiful. But that sounds like a Schumer deal, or maybe a Pelosi or shifty Schiff. So that came out of the wind."
Ah, yes, Trump has uncovered his latest hoax. Sure, it's only been a few days since the iconic jurist's death. And sure, Ginsburg's own family stands behind the legitimacy of her dying wish. And sure, it probably took no shortage of effort for the late justice to make her wishes known.
But there's the president, telling a national television audience that RBG's statement may have been concocted by his perceived political enemies. "It came out of the wind," Trump said, pretending it didn't come directly from Ginsburg's own granddaughter.
House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) responded soon after, “No, I didn’t write Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish to a nation she served so well, and spent her whole life making a more perfect union. But I am going to fight like hell to make it come true. No confirmation before inauguration.”
What I find curious, though, is the president inadvertently giving Ginsburg's dying wish added significance: Trump didn't say RBG's wishes were irrelevant; he suggested they're fake.
So let's go ahead and raise the unasked follow-up question: if Ginsburg's statement is real, should lawmakers and White House officials prioritize her wishes?