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.