President Trump jokingly thanked predecessor Barack Obama on Thursday for leaving more than 100 federal judicial vacancies for him to fill.
“I don’t know why Obama left that. It was like a big, beautiful present to all of us. Why the hell did he leave that?” Mr. Trump said while giving a speech on America’s infrastructure in Ohio.
Mr. Trump suggested Mr. Obama got complacent in not filling the vacancies.
But it was the Republican majority in the Senate at the end of the Obama administration that successfully played a role in slowing down Mr. Obama’s judicial appointments.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, successfully strong-armed the confirmation process and withheld a vote for Mr. Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Merrick Garland during Mr. Obama’s final year in office.
Once Mr. Trump was sworn into office, he nominated Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, who the Senate confirmed in less than three months.
“It was like the gift from heaven. We were left judges,” said Mr. Trump, who has nominated and confirmed more than two dozen judges since his inauguration day.