Trump has no replacement for Obamacare that he wants SCOTUS to nix

  • The Trump administration is supporting a lawsuit asking the courts to throw out the Affordable Care Act, even though the White House has no concrete replacement for the Obama-era healthcare law.
  • President Donald Trump has repeatedly promised a backup plan but hasn’t unveiled a detailed proposal. His domestic policy chief, Brooke Rollins, said the White House was still working on one.
  • “Obviously if the Affordable Care Act is struck down, we will be ready,” Rollins told Insider in an exclusive interview last week. “If it is not, then we’re going to continue to improve the current system.”
  • The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments next month in the ACA case that was initiated by the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, which Rollins once oversaw.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The White House’s policy shop lacks a clear replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act if the Supreme Court throws out the healthcare law. 

Brooke Rollins, the acting director of the Domestic Policy Council at the White House, told Insider in an exclusive interview last week that a backup plan was “being worked on” but indicated that administration officials hadn’t settled on a solution.

“Obviously if the Affordable Care Act is struck down, we will be ready,” she said. “If it is not, then we’re going to continue to improve the current system.” 

The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the ACA a week after the November 3 election. The Trump administration argues the entire law, which was signed by President Barack Obama, should be wiped out, which would threaten coverage for 20 million people. 

Democrats, including Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, have focused on raising alarm about the lawsuit in the weeks leading up to the election and as Senate Republicans rush to confirm the third new conservative Supreme Court justice of the Trump era.

They say President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, could be the deciding vote to strike down the law, even as the US continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic. Senate Republicans opened confirmation hearings Monday on Barrett’s nomination and want to hold a final floor vote on her lifetime appointment before Election Day.

Rollins told Insider that striking down the law would be “the right way” to go. “We not only think it was unconstitutional but that it hasn’t worked as promised,” she said.

Read more: EXCLUSIVE: Trump’s White House policy chief spells out a 2nd-term agenda, including what would happen to taxes, drug prices, and manufacturing jobs

‘All to be worked out’ 

Before she joined the White House Office of American Innovation in 2018, Rollins was the president and CEO of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a powerful conservative organization that was behind the ACA lawsuit that’s now before the Supreme Court. The think tank has pushed for states to take the lead in setting up their own healthcare plans.

Rollins has overseen the Domestic Policy Council since May. The office operates largely behind the scenes but

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Dr. Fauci Says WH Rose Garden SCOTUS Event Was a COVID-19 ‘Superspreader’

Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the White House Rose Garden event on September 26 to mark the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett was a coronavirus “superspreader.”



a group of people sitting at a table in front of a crowd: Judge Amy Coney Barrett speaks after being nominated to the US Supreme Court by President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on September 26, 2020.


© Olivier Douliery/Getty
Judge Amy Coney Barrett speaks after being nominated to the US Supreme Court by President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on September 26, 2020.

“Well, I think the data speaks for themselves. We had a superspreader event in the White House,” the nation’s leading infectious disease expert told CBS News Radio on Friday. “And it was in a situation where people were crowded together without wearing masks, so the data speaks for themselves.”

President Donald Trump officially announced Barrett as his nominee for the Supreme Court last month, following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Less than a week after the White House ceremony, the president said that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the novel virus. A number of other White House staff members and Republican lawmakers who attended the event also confirmed they were diagnosed with COVID-19 as well.

A Simple Timeline Of President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 Diagnosis

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Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated when more information becomes available.

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9 attendees at SCOTUS nomination Rose Garden event test positive for COVID-19

A week ago, several top White House officials mingled with guests in the Rose Garden as President Donald Trump officially nominated Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

Many of those guests were seen not wearing masks, fist bumping and greeting one another in close proximity, and their seats didn’t appear to be 6 feet apart.

PHOTO: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Oct. 4, 2020, at the White House in Washington.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Oct. 4, 2020, at the White House in Washington.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Oct. 4, 2020, at the White House in Washington.

On the following Monday, nine days after the event, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany confirmed she had tested positive, becoming the ninth person who attended the affair to become infected. She said she had no symptoms and it wasn’t clear how she might have caught the virus.

On the previous Friday, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, also at the Rose Garden, announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing “symptoms consistent with longtime allergies.”

Lee said he took a test only a few days ago “while visiting the White House,” which came back negative. He said he will “remain isolated for the next 10 days” and “will be back to work in time” to pursue Barrett’s nomination.

Prior to her judgeship, Barrett made a name for herself at Notre Dame Law School, also her alma mater. During her 2017 confirmation process, her Notre Dame Law colleagues penned a glowing – and unanimous – endorsement letter.

University of Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins was also at the Rose Garden event and also announced Friday he had tested positive for the virus.

In a statement

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Pictured: Attendees of White House SCOTUS nomination ceremony who tested positive for coronavirus

The late fall afternoon was lovely. The scene at a packed White House Rose Garden to formally announce a conservative replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was jubilant. Republican senators, leading conservatives and dozens of President Trump’s top supporters and aides hugged and cheered as Trump introduced Amy Coney Barrett on Sept. 26.

[Visual timeline of Trump’s movements before his positive coronavirus test]

The ceremony, which included indoor receptions in addition to the outdoor announcement, is drawing scrutiny as a possible superspreader event as a coronavirus outbreak continues to spread through official Washington.

At least eight people who attended have tested positive for the virus. Trump is hospitalized with the disease it causes. Many of those who caught the infection were seated closely together. Scroll to see who else attended the ceremony.

Tested positive

President Trump

President Trump stands with Amy Coney Barrett on Sept. 26 as they arrive to announce Barrett as a nominee to the Supreme Court.
President Trump stands with Amy Coney Barrett on Sept. 26 as they arrive to announce Barrett as a nominee to the Supreme Court. (Alex Brandon/AP)

First lady Melania Trump

President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Alex Brandon/AP)

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah)

President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Alex Brandon/AP)

The Rev. John I. Jenkins, the University of Notre Dame’s president

President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Alex Brandon/AP)

Kellyanne Conway

President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Alex Brandon/AP)

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.)

President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Alex Brandon/AP)

Chris Christie

President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (Alex Brandon/AP)

Tested negative

Vice President Pence and Karen Pence

President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump,
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7 attendees of SCOTUS nomination at Rose Garden test positive for COVID-19

Less than a week ago, several top White House officials mingled with guests in the Rose Garden as President Donald Trump officially nominated Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

Many of those guests were seen not wearing masks, fist bumping and greeting one another in close proximity, and their seats didn’t appear to be 6 feet apart.

First lady Melania Trump sits next to Seventh Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett's family as President Donald Trump announces Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington.

First lady Melania Trump sits next to Seventh Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s family, including husband Jesse Barrett and their seven children, as President Donald Trump announces Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

First lady Melania Trump sits next to Seventh Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s family, including husband Jesse Barrett and their seven children, as President Donald Trump announces Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

On Friday, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, also at the Rose Garden, announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing “symptoms consistent with longtime allergies.”

Lee said he took a test only a few days ago “while visiting the White House,” which came back negative. He said he will “remain isolated for the next 10 days” and “will be back to work in time” to pursue Barrett’s nomination.

Prior to her judgeship, Barrett made a name for herself at Notre Dame Law School, also her alma mater. During her 2017 confirmation process, her Notre Dame Law colleagues penned a glowing – and unanimous – endorsement letter.

University of Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins was also at the Rose Garden event and also announced Friday he had tested positive for the virus.

In a statement from the university’s vice president, Paul J, Browne, he said Jenkins “learned that a colleague with whom he has been in regular contact tested positive for COVID-19. … As a result, he is entering an extended period of isolation as indicated by University medical personnel and county health officials.”

“My symptoms are mild and I will continue work from home,” Jenkins said in the statement. “The positive test is a good reminder for me and perhaps for all of how vigilant we need to be.”

North

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6 attendees of SCOTUS nomination at Rose Garden test positive for COVID-19

Less than a week ago, several top White House officials mingled with guests in the Rose Garden as President Donald Trump officially nominated Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.



a group of people sitting on a bench: First lady Melania Trump sits next to Seventh Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett's family as President Donald Trump announces Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington.


© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
First lady Melania Trump sits next to Seventh Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s family as President Donald Trump announces Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington.

Many of those guests were seen not wearing masks, fist bumping and greeting one another in close proximity, and their seats didn’t appear to be 6 feet apart.

MORE: Trump COVID-19 live updates: President has ‘mild symptoms,’ Biden tests negative

On Thursday night, Hope Hicks, one of Trump’s closest advisers, tested positive for coronavirus, then the president and first lady Melania Trump also tested positive. The president and his wife were present at the event, but Hicks was not.



a group of people in a garden: President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington.


© Alex Brandon/AP
President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington.

On Friday, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, also at the Rose Garden, announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing “symptoms consistent with longtime allergies.”

Lee said he took a test only a few days ago “while visiting the White House,” which came back negative. He said he will “remain isolated for the next 10 days” and “will be back to work in time” to pursue Barrett’s nomination.

Prior to her judgeship, Barrett made a name for herself at Notre Dame Law School, also her alma mater. During her 2017 confirmation process, her Notre Dame Law colleagues penned a glowing – and unanimous – endorsement letter.

MORE: President Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court seat

Video: Trump Aide Tests Positive to Covid-19 (QuickTake)

Trump Aide Tests Positive to Covid-19

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University of Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins was also at the Rose Garden event and also announced Friday he had tested positive for the virus.



Kellyanne Conway et al. standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Attorney General William Barr and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway talk in the Rose Garden after President Trump introduced Judge Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee, Sept. 26, 2020 in Washington, D.C.


© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Attorney General William Barr and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway talk in the Rose Garden after President Trump introduced Judge Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee, Sept. 26, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

In a statement from the university’s vice president, Paul J, Browne, he said Jenkins “learned that a colleague with whom he has been in regular contact tested positive for COVID-19. … As a result, he is entering an extended period of isolation as indicated by University medical personnel and county health officials.”

“My symptoms are mild and I will continue work from home,” Jenkins said in the statement. “The positive test is a good reminder for me and perhaps for all of how vigilant we need to be.”

North Carolina Sen. Thom

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4 attendees of SCOTUS nomination at Rose Garden test positive for COVID-19

Less than a week ago, several top White House officials mingled with guests in the Rose Garden as President Donald Trump officially nominated Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

Many of those guests were seen not wearing masks, fist bumping and greeting one another in close proximity, and their seats didn’t appear to be 6 feet apart.

PHOTO: Guests watch as President Donald Trump introduces 7th U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House Sept. 26, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

On Thursday night, Hope Hicks, one of Trump’s closest advisers, tested positive for coronavirus, then the president and first lady Melania Trump also tested positive. The president and his wife were present at the event, but Hicks was not.

MORE: Trump COVID-19 live updates: President has ‘mild symptoms,’ Biden tests negative

PHOTO:President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington. (Alex Brandon/AP)

On Friday, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, also at the Rose Garden, announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing “symptoms consistent with longtime allergies.”

Lee said he took a test only a few days ago “while visiting the White House,” which came back negative. He said he will “remain isolated for the next 10 days” and “will be back to work in time” to pursue Barrett’s nomination.

Prior to her judgeship, Barrett made a name for herself at Notre Dame Law School, also her alma mater. During her 2017 confirmation process, her Notre Dame Law colleagues penned a glowing – and unanimous – endorsement letter.

MORE: President Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court seat

University of Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins was also at the Rose Garden event and also announced Friday he had tested positive for the virus.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Attorney General William Barr and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway talk in the Rose Garden after President Trump introduced Judge Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee, Sept. 26, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In a statement from the university’s vice president, Paul J, Browne, he said Jenkins “learned that a colleague with whom he has been in regular contact tested positive for COVID-19. … As a result, he is entering an extended period of isolation as indicated by University medical personnel and county health officials.”

“My symptoms are mild and I will continue work from home,” Jenkins said in the statement. “The positive test is a good reminder for me and perhaps for all of how vigilant we need to be.”

Attorney General William Barr also was at the event and seen without a mask, but a Department of Justice spokesperson said he tested negative

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5 attendees of SCOTUS nomination at Rose Garden test positive for COVID-19

Less than a week ago, several top White House officials mingled with guests in the Rose Garden as President Donald Trump officially nominated Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.



a group of people sitting on a bench: First lady Melania Trump sits next to Seventh Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett's family as President Donald Trump announces Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington.


© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
First lady Melania Trump sits next to Seventh Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s family as President Donald Trump announces Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington.

Many of those guests were seen not wearing masks, fist bumping and greeting one another in close proximity, and their seats didn’t appear to be 6 feet apart.



a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Guests watch as President Donald Trump introduces 7th U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House Sept. 26, 2020 in Washington, D.C.


© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Guests watch as President Donald Trump introduces 7th U.S. Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House Sept. 26, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

On Thursday night, Hope Hicks, one of Trump’s closest advisers, tested positive for coronavirus, then the president and first lady Melania Trump also tested positive. All three were at the event.

MORE: Trump COVID-19 live updates: President has ‘mild symptoms,’ Biden tests negative


a group of people in a garden: President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington.


© Alex Brandon/AP
President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a news conference to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House, Sept. 26, 2020, in Washington.

On Friday, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, also at the Rose Garden, announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing “symptoms consistent with longtime allergies.”

Lee said he took a test only a few days ago “while visiting the White House,” which came back negative. He said he will “remain isolated for the next 10 days” and “will be back to work in time” to pursue Barrett’s nomination.

Prior to her judgeship, Barrett made a name for herself at Notre Dame Law School, also her alma mater. During her 2017 confirmation process, her Notre Dame Law colleagues penned a glowing – and unanimous – endorsement letter.

MORE: President Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court seat

University of Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins was also at the Rose Garden event and also announced Friday he had tested positive for the virus.



Kellyanne Conway et al. standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Attorney General William Barr and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway talk in the Rose Garden after President Trump introduced Judge Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee, Sept. 26, 2020 in Washington, D.C.


© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Attorney General William Barr and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway talk in the Rose Garden after President Trump introduced Judge Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee, Sept. 26, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

In a statement from the university’s vice president, Paul J, Browne, he said Jenkins “learned that a colleague with whom he has been in regular contact tested positive for COVID-19. … As a result, he is entering an extended period of isolation as indicated by University medical personnel and county health officials.”

“My symptoms are mild and I will continue work from home,” Jenkins said in the statement. “The positive test is a good reminder for me and perhaps for

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Trump will not meet Barbara Lagoa in Miami on SCOTUS opening

President Donald Trump will not meet with Judge Barbara Lagoa, a top contender to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, during his visit to Miami at the end of this week.

The president had earlier this week suggested they might meet in Florida. But White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said in a statement that “there are no plans to conduct interviews in Florida.”

“The entire process will be handled in Washington, D.C. as expeditiously as possible,” Meadows said. “Any suggestion of interviews with any candidate in other locations is not accurate.”

A source close to the White House vetting process said that a meeting in Washington remains a possibility, but was unable to confirm Lagoa’s travel plans.

Lagoa, a Cuban-American born in Miami serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, is on a short list of women who Trump is considering to nominate to the high court.

Ginsburg, an anchor of the liberal wing of the Supreme Court, died last Friday.

Speaking with reporters on Monday, Trump said that he could meet with Lagoa while in Florida.

“She’s highly thought of and has got a lot of support,” Trump said at the White House. “You know, a lot of people – I’m getting a lot of phone calls from a lot of people. She has a lot of support. I don’t know her, but I hear she’s outstanding. And she’s one of the people we’re looking at.”

Lagoa and Amy Coney Barrett, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, are considered the two frontrunners for the nod to replace Ginsburg. Trump met with Barrett at the White House on Monday and again on Tuesday, a senior administration official confirmed.

Ginsburg’s death less than six weeks from Election Day has ignited a fierce debate in Washington over whether to proceed with the nomination process before the Nov. 3 election.

On Tuesday, two Republican senators who were viewed as on the fence with moving forward before the election – Mitt Romney of Utah and Cory Gardner of Colorado – said they would support actions to proceed with the nomination.

Their support all but ensures that Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the Senate floor.

Michael Wilner is a White House correspondent for McClatchy. He has led coverage of the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus. Previously, Wilner served as Washington bureau chief for The Jerusalem Post. He holds degrees from Claremont McKenna College and Columbia University and is a native of New York City.

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White House pushes for pre-election SCOTUS vote, ‘Zoombie’ storm Paulette and CDC issues Halloween warnings

Good morning, NBC News readers.

President Donald Trump appears to have secured enough Senate support to push a vote on his Supreme Court nominee. “Zombie” storm Paulette has come back to life and Covid-19 claims another victim: Halloween.

Here’s what we’re watching this Wednesday morning.


White House gets behind idea of pushing Supreme Court nominee vote before the election

A consensus has formed within the West Wing to push for a vote on President Donald Trump’s coming Supreme Court nominee before the election, with aides and advisers saying they are increasingly optimistic that they will be able to pull off the speedy confirmation, three NBC News White House correspondents report.

Some outside advisers had initially argued that waiting to hold a vote until after Election Day could be the most politically advantageous strategy, said a person familiar with the thinking. Having the seat vacant could motivate conservatives to turn out for Trump to ensure that it got filled and save senators in tight races from having to make a controversial vote so close to the election.

But the momentum in the past 48 hours has swung toward getting a vote done as soon as possible, with those inside and outside the White House arguing that the quicker the process, the more likely they are to fill the seat, senior administration officials said.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, added to GOP confidence Tuesday when he threw his support behind Trump’s push to fill the seat vacated by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg quickly.

All eyes had been on Romney, often a Trump critic who voted to convict the president during the Senate impeachment trial earlier this year, as someone who could join Democrats to block the confirmation vote.

Trump even expressed appreciation toward his frequent foe during a rally in Pennsylvania Tuesday, saying: “Thank you, Mitt.”

To date, only two Republican senators have said it is too close to the presidential election to consider a court nomination, not enough to block it.

The president promised to “reveal” his nominee at the White House at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Meantime, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden punted on the hypothetical question of how Democrats should retaliate if Republicans manage to secure their nominee. Asked if he’d be open to expanding on the number of Supreme Court seats if given the opportunity, he demurred.

“It’s a legitimate question. But let me tell you why I’m not going to answer that question. Because it will shift the focus,” Biden said.

The former vice president also won an interesting endorsement Tuesday: Cindy McCain threw her support behind Biden in a stinging rebuke of Trump by the widow of the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee.

Trump has had a fraught relationship with members of John McCain’s family since he disparaged the Arizona senator during his 2016 campaign. But the McCains have stopped short of endorsing Trump’s rivals until now.

Cindy McCain’s backing could help Biden appeal to Republicans disaffected with Trump and give him a boost the crucial swing state

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