With some Republicans continuing to balk at supporting Donald Trump if he’s the party’s presidential nominee, the GOP front runner sought to reassure doubters on Sunday by pledging to release a list of 5 to 10 “great conservative judges” that he’d appoint to the Supreme Court.
Trump, speaking to the Palm Beach County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day fundraising dinner at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, has frequently invoked the Supreme Court as he tries to unite a splintered GOP.
Speaking to 670 guests who paid $300 and up for tickets to benefit the local GOP, Trump said that talk among some Republicans of getting behind a third-party candidate would hand the election to the Democrats.
“It’s not that you lose the presidency,” Trump said. “You might have five Supreme Court justices to be picked over the next four years. … You could change the balance of the court very quickly, very easily.”
So, Trump said, “I am going to give a list of either 5 or 10 judges that I will pick – 100 percent pick – that I will put in for nomination. Because some of the people that are against me say, ‘We don’t know if he’s going to pick the right judges,’ ‘Supposing he picks a liberal judge’ or ‘Supposing he picks a pro-choice judge,’ ” Trump said.
Trump didn’t specify a timetable for releasing his list.
“I’m going to get a list of anywhere from 5 to 10 judges and those are going to be the judges that I am going to pick. It will be one of those judges. And I will guarantee it personally like we do in the world of business. … I will guarantee that those are going to be the first judges that I put up for nomination if I win.”
The county GOP, which has held its annual fundraising dinner at Mar-a-Lago for the last four years, paid about $120,000 for the ballroom and dinner and expected to raise more than $300,000 overall, said county Republican Chairman Michael Barnett.
Barnett came close to endorsing Trump, telling the crowd: “The time is now. There is only one man in this race who has won consistently and massively. … We need to unify our party and support the man who will mop up the floor with Hillary (Clinton) this November.”
The dinner crowd included supporters of Ted Cruz and many who backed the failed candidacies of either Florida Sen. Marco Rubio or former Gov. Jeb Bush.
“This is unity,” Trump said at one point. “I’m not saying ‘Lyin Ted.’ I’m not saying it. I refuse to say it unless he holds up the Bible. ‘Lyin Ted’ – I will not say that. So, officially, I have not said it.”
He called Rubio “a really good guy. He’s got a great future. But I have to tell you, when you beat a popular senator from a state by 20 points, there’s something happening.”
Trump won last week’s Florida Republican primary with 45.7 percent to Rubio’s 27 percent. Rubio dropped out less than half an hour after the polls closed.
Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia attended the event and said the party will give its full backing to whoever wins the GOP nomination.
But Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, who backed Rubio, wasn’t ready to make such a pledge.
“Right now, I am focused on my race for the United States Senate and getting around Florida and talking about our successes creating jobs and cutting taxes – that’s what I’m focused on right now,” Lopez-Cantera said. “We’ll see what happens after the convention.”
Trump has been accused of encouraging violence at his rallies, but he said Sunday that protesters — or “agitators” — are causing the trouble and not getting the media scrutiny his supporters get.
“How come a group of people is allowed to use horrible language, hold up horrendous signs, scream at the top of their voice, close roadways, close an entrance to a facility that I rented so it’s my facility for the day and they’re not supposed to even be in it, OK – how come we’re the bad people all the time?” Trump said.
“What about the people that are using horrible profanity, horrible words and closing up highways?” Trump said. “They cover these people like they’re wonderful revolutionaries. So, we’re not treated fairly by the press, I have to tell you, and I think that’s one of the reasons that we’re doing so well, because the people get it. The people are really smart.”
Trump also got in a dig at President Barack Obama, who landed in Havana on Sunday afternoon and was not greeted by Cuban President Raul Castro.
“We are amateur hour, folks. Amateur hour,” Trump said. “Honestly, Obama should have turned the plane around and left.”
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