- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 19, 2020

Fox News host Tucker Carlson flatly rejected breaking news about Ruth Bader Ginsburg reported by a longtime friend of the late Supreme Court justice shortly after her death was announced Friday.

“We’re just getting word that NPR is reporting — and so, with a grain of salt, take this please — that on her deathbed, Ruth Bader Ginsburg said to her granddaughter, and I think I’m quoting, ‘My most fervent wish’ — as she died —’…is that I not be replaced by this president’,” Mr. Carlson said on his cable program roughly an hour after it was first reported that Ginsburg had died.

“It’s hard to believe, and I’m going to choose not to believe that she said that,” Mr. Carlson continued. “I don’t think that people on their deathbeds are thinking about who’s president.”

The host of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” was referring to a report by longtime NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg, a veteran journalist among the first to report Ginsburg death moments earlier Friday.

“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” Ginsburg told her granddaughter, Clara Spera, days before dying, Ms. Totenberg reported for NPR.

“That’s a pretty limited way to think as you die,” Mr. Carlson said while casting doubt on Ms. Totenberg’s report. “But certainly, this will be used as a cudgel by the left, I would think.”

Reached by The Washington Times on Saturday, Ms. Totenberg noted that Mr. Carlson misquoted her reporting and said that other, non-familial witnesses are aware of Ginsburg’s wish — that she not be replaced until following the inauguration of the next president, whomever that might be.

Indeed, her long and well-documented relationship with Ginsburg, who died of complications from cancer at the age of 87, lends credence to her reporting so quickly dismissed by Mr. Carlson.

Ms. Totenberg first met the future Supreme Court justice in 1971, she wrote in an obituary NPR published Saturday, titled: “A 5-Decade-Long Friendship That Began With A Phone Call.”

“We would become professional friends and later, close friends after she moved to Washington to serve on the federal appeals court here and later, on the U.S. Supreme Court,” she wrote.

“In November 2000, she performed our wedding ceremony,” she wrote in the obit.

Mr. Carlson’s show drew roughly 4.3 million viewers each night in the second quarter of 2020, according to Nielsen Media Research data reported by Deadline. President Trump is often among them.

Ginsburg’s death created a vacancy on the nine-seat Supreme Court sure to cause a showdown between Mr. Trump and Democrats in the weeks before Election Day.

Mr. Trump said Saturday on Twitter that Ginsburg’s successor be selected “without delay!”

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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