They steered clear of Trump this time.
The GOP Senate Judiciary Committee marathon question-and-answer session with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was noticeably void of questions about decisions Jackson made against former President Donald Trump.
The shift, which saw them focus on a myriad of other concerns, points to Republican lawmakers viewing Trump as a liability rather than an asset going into the 2022 midterms in November.
Conservative strategists have called out two cases where Jackson’s ruling against Trump could receive greater scrutiny: Judiciary v. McGahn and Thompson v. Trump. Jackson’s ruling in the former, where she declared “Presidents are not kings,” was later overturned on appeal.
Despite this, not a single question about Trump made its way into the Supreme Court hearing.
The lack of Trump-centered questions also shows the vastly different influence Trump has on the GOP. Republican candidates are fighting for Trump’s endorsement ahead of the primaries; Senate incumbents are avoiding the mere mention of Trump to not turn moderate voters away.
Republican strategist Vin Weber points to this being a tactic to ensure that the 2022 elections do not act as another referendum on Trump as they pursue majorities in the House and Senate.
“Republicans believe there is very little that can screw up a new Republican majority, but there are a couple of possibilities,” Weber stated, noting some of those “possibilities” include “completely unpredictable external event, the other is Donald Trump.”
He continued, stating, “As Republicans assess the risk out there, that is one possible risk factor.”
Weber mentioned Republicans’ “real interest in not elevating the Trump issue,” which he claimed was the reason behind the Supreme Court hearing questioning.