Trump had narrowed the field from an announced roster of 21 hopefuls and named Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman as finalists to take the seat on the Supreme Court that has been vacant since Scalia died nearly a year ago. On Monday, Trump announced he would reveal the winner tonight in a primetime TV special.
“When Justice Scalia passed away suddenly last February, I made a promise to the American people,” Trump began from the East Room, after walking out to a standing ovation.
Boasting of the “most transparent judicial selection process in history,” Trump commended himself for having, as promised, picked Gorsuch from that list of 21 contenders he revealed while still running for POTUS.
“I am a man of my word. I will do as I say – something that the American people have been asking for from Washington for a very, very long time,” Trump continued, still speaking about himself.
“Today I am keeping another promise to the American people by nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch of the United States Supreme Court to be of the United States Supreme Court,” Trump, the former Celebrity Apprentice star, said – a surprising flub of his line at the moment of the Big Reveal.
“So, was that a surprise? Was it?” Trump asked the crowd in the hall, as Gorsuch and his wife came up to the podium.
Gorsuch now goes before a sharply polarized U.S. Senate for confirmation. Wrapping up his remarks before turning over the podium to Gorsuch, Trump said, “I only hope Democrats and Republicans can come together – for once – for the good of the country.”
In what could be the largest audience ever for a reality TV series reveal, Trump’s unveiling of Gorsuch as winner of Extreme Makeover: SCOTUS Edition was carried live by the broadcast and cable news networks and streamed live on Facebook.
Trump’s decision to summon both men to Washington today, and his Monday announcement that he would reveal the winner tonight in a primetime TV special, seemed to shock some TV news talking heads and Supreme Court scholars not familiar with reality TV tropes.