As Ruth Bader Ginsburg's health started failing, she took the time to make plain what she wanted to see happen after her passing. "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.
Donald Trump didn't just announce his intention to ignore RBG's dying wish; he also questioned its validity. As we discussed yesterday, the president told Fox News, "I don't know that she said that." After suggesting his congressional Democratic detractors may have concocted the late justice's wishes, the president added, "It came out of the wind, it sounds so beautiful.... That came out of the wind."
Yesterday afternoon, a reporter asked the Republican why in the world he thinks this. He replied:
"Yeah, it just sounds to me like it would be somebody else. I don't believe -- it could be. It could be. And it might not be, too. Just too -- it was just too convenient."
Ginsburg's entire dying wish was a grand total of 17 words: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed." Trump, the noted constitutional scholar, known for carefully scrutinizing Supreme Court decisions in his free time, doesn't think the sentence "sounds" like Ginsburg.
What's more, I'm not at all sure what's "too convenient" about the late justice's sentiment. Clara Spera, Ginsburg's granddaughter, spoke to the BBC yesterday about what transpired.
"In the final days of her life, my grandmother and I spoke a lot about a lot of things, and I asked her if there was anything she wanted to say to the public, to anyone, that wasn't already out there and she said there was, and I pulled out my computer and she dictated the following sentence to me. She said, 'My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.' And I read it back to her, she was very happy with that. And when I asked her, 'Is that it? Is there anything else you'd like to say?' She said. 'The rest of my work is a matter of public record,' so that was all she wanted to add."
For the president, this familial interaction strikes him as "just too convenient." I don't even know what those words mean in this context.
But circling back to our earlier coverage, I remain interested in 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 legitimate, should lawmakers and White House officials give deference to her wishes?