Kellyanne Conway is back with some alternative facts, one of the staples of the first three months of the Donald Trump presidency.
Kellyanne Conway is back with some alternative facts.
During a conversation with Katie Couric on Wednesday, Conway made a proud claim about President Donald Trump’s first 100 days.
Couric tweeted that Conway told her “this is the first time since 1881 that a President has had a #SCOTUS justice confirmed in first 100 days.”
Conway also said this last week on Fox News Channel: “It’s the first time a president has had a Supreme Court justice in the first 100 days since 1881. The significance should not be lost.”
But the significance should be lost, because it’s basically nil – small enough to fit between the driver seat of your car and the center console, never to be seen again. This claim is somehow both true and shows a complete disdain for facts. It’s a claim that sounds impressive and means next to nothing.
The problem with Conway’s claim is that very few presidents are even confronted with a Supreme Court vacancy in their first 100 days – much less have the chance to fill it in that span. Trump also had the highly unusual advantage of coming into office with an existing vacancy – a result of Senate Republicans’ brazen move not to even allow Merrick Garland a hearing last year – and having the full 100 days with which to fill it.
A trip down history lane shows that only three presidents since 1900 have had a vacancy to fill in their first 100 days, and that all three of them faced that vacancy late in their first 100 days.
Bill Clinton got a vacancy on March 19, 1993 – 58 days into his first term. Harry S. Truman got a vacancy on June 30, 1945 – 79 days after replacing Franklin D. Roosevelt. And Warren G. Harding got a vacancy on May 19, 1921 – 76 days into his brief presidency.
So Trump had all 100 days to fill his vacancy in his first 100 days; Clinton had 42 days, Truman had 21 and Harding had 24. All but one other president didn’t even get the chance for such an accomplishment.
That one other president was Richard Nixon, who inherited somewhat of a mess on the Supreme Court from Lyndon B. Johnson. Chief Justice Earl Warren had announced his resignation in mid-1968 but was waiting to leave the court until it was filled. His Johnson-nominated replacement, Justice Abe Fortas, was blocked by the Senate, so no vacancy was filled. Nixon was sworn in on Jan. 20, 1969, and eventually nominated a replacement for Warren as chief justice – Warren Burger – but he did so after his first 100 days were up, on May 21.
Burger was confirmed just 19 days later. And to think: Nixon could have joined the rarefied air of Trump – if only he had known it would be such an accomplishment to get it done in his first 100 days.
This, of course, isn’t the only shoddy claim the White House has made about Trump’s 100-day accomplishments. A memo issued Tuesday contains…