Story by Collin Morris, Assistant Sports Editor
Finding support for Gorsuch
The same weekend President Donald Trump teed off under the spring sun at the Trump National Golf Club, a federal judge approved a $25 million settlement in the Trump University lawsuit and U.S. senators continue to haggle over the vacant Supreme Court seat.
Through the weekend, reports began surfacing of Republican senators scourging for Democrats willing to vote for the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. So far, only three have publicly announced their intent to support Gorsuch, leaving the Republican majority five seats away from numbers large enough to prevent a filibuster by Democrats.
If the Republican leadership is unable to sway the remaining moderate Democrats, they will forced to either abandon Gorsuch as nominee or proceed using an unprecedented maneuver known as the “nuclear option,” which will permanently alter Senate rules to allow a nominee to be confirmed by a simple majority vote.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Republicans have the votes to initiate the rule change, and also filed a cloture, which — if approved — will end debate on Gorsuch and trigger a final vote. At that point, if numbers hold, Democrats will reject Gorsuch and Republicans will have the opportunity to exercise the “nuclear option.”
McConnell led the opposition against President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland in 2016, behind the belief that the next president should choose the successor to the late Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016, creating the current opening in the Supreme Court.
Trump has dealt with controversies surrounding his for-profit institution since the early days of the 2016 Republican Party primary, with accusations of fraudulent sales tactics coming from multiple former customers, such as lying about course content.
As a candidate, Trump deflected the allegations, praising his business and even saying he would not pursue a settlement.
“Trump University has a 98 percent approval rating. I could have settled but won’t out of principle!” Trump tweeted on Feb. 29, 2016.
At the time, Trump questioned the biases of the federal judge who is now presiding over the new settlement case, Gonzalo Curiel, who is of Mexican descent but was born in East Chicago, Indiana.
“I think the judge has been extremely hostile to me,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News on Feb. 28, 2016. “I think it has to do with perhaps the fact that I’m very, very strong on the border. Very, very strong on the border. And he has been extremely hostile to me. This is a case that in our opinion should have been won a long time ago…Now, he is Hispanic, I believe. He is a very hostile judge to me. I said it loud and clear.”
Curiel issued the settlement order in response to a class-action lawsuit including thousands of former Trump University customers, but one of the customers, Sherri Simpson, said the ruling was not enough and the president should face racketeering charges.
In response to Simpson, Curiel said his order is the best possible outcome for the plaintiffs, who will be receiving approximately 90 cents of every dollar paid to Trump University, according to The New York Times. They will also have their court fees waived.
Trump met with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, Sunday on the greens of his own golf course in Sterling, Virginia. Which, according to Independent, marks the 14th time Trump has played golf in the last 10 weeks. According to an analysis done by U.S. News and World Report in 2010, Obama had not yet played a round of golf in his first term as president.
Prior to being elected president, Trump tweeted about Obama’s golfing habits 26 times, and at a campaign rally, Trump said, “I’m going to be working for you, I’m not going to have time to play golf, believe me, folks.
According to official agency documents reviewed by the Washington Post, the U.S. Secret Service has requested $60 million for next year — of which $26.8 million will be used to provide security for Trump’s family who has opted to remain in New York at Trump Tower, including Melania Trump. $33 million will be used on travel costs.
Paul was a vocal opponent of the Trump-backed American Health Care Act, and went so far as to call it “Obamacare Lite.” Kentucky’s junior senator has also introduced Senate Bill 222, his own replacement of the Affordable Care Act titled the “Obamacare Replacement Act.”