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‘Very exciting!’ Trump heralds Kavanaugh’s confirmation

President Donald Trump repeated his claim, without evidence, that some opponents to Brett Kavanaugh are “paid” protesters. | Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Saturday basked in the successful confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, telling reporters his second pick to the nation’s highest court will go down as “a totally brilliant justice.”

“We’re very happy about it. Great decision,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One. “I very much appreciate those 50 great votes. And I think he’s going to go down as a totally brilliant Supreme Court justice for many years. Many years.”

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Kavanaugh was confirmed by narrow vote of 50-48, with one senator absent from voting and another voting present shortly after 4 p.m. ET, paving the way for a conservative majority on the nation’s highest court for decades to come.

Trump celebrated the victory on social media immediately after the vote ended.

“I applaud and congratulate the U.S. Senate for confirming our GREAT NOMINEE, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, to the United States Supreme Court,” the president wrote on Twitter. “Later today, I will sign his Commission of Appointment, and he will be officially sworn in. Very exciting!”

Earlier Saturday, Trump heralded a demonstration by supporters of his Supreme Court pick while assailing protesters.

“Women for Kavanaugh, and many others who support this very good man, are gathering all over Capital Hill in preparation for a 3-5 P.M. VOTE,” the president wrote on Twitter. “It is a beautiful thing to see – and they are not paid professional protesters who are handed expensive signs. Big day for America!”

Trump continued to attack protesters as Kavanaugh approached the Supreme Court for his private swearing-in ceremony, posting that the throng of people chanting outside and at one point pounding on the court’s door amounted to a “tiny crowd” that was focusing on too much.

“The crowd in front of the U.S. Supreme Court is tiny, looks like about 200 people (& most are onlookers) – that wouldn’t even fill the first couple of rows of our Kansas Rally, or any of our Rallies for that matter!,” Trump wrote on Twitter, alluding to his rally in Topeka, Kan. later Saturday. “The Fake News Media tries to make it look sooo big, & it’s not!”

The White House feels that the president’s decision to stick with Kavanaugh despite multiple accusations of sexual assault has jolted Trump’s base just as early and absentee voting is beginning in a number of states and ahead of what until now was expected to be a brutal November for the GOP.

After proudly flashing two thumbs up for reporters, Trump predicted Republicans to do “great” in the midterms with the Kavanaugh’s confirmation sparking new momentum among the GOP’s base.

“I think the Republicans are going to do great in the midterms. I think we have a momentum that hasn’t been seen in years,” the president said.

In the tweet, Trump is referencing an earlier claim he made, without evidence, that protesters opposing Kavanaugh awerere “paid” — a common tactic used to delegitimize protests. On Friday, Trump on Twitter called anti-Kavanaugh demonstrators who had swarmed Capitol Hill “rude elevator screamers” who were being paid to make senators look bad. Some of those protesters are self-identified sexual assault survivors who say that senators’ support for Kavanaugh has made them feel as if their stories don’t matter.

Before the vote, Trump praised Sen. Susan Collins’ vital vote to support the nominee, the Maine Republican was one of the final senators who remained undecided on Kavanaugh’s fate until Friday afternoon when she declared on the Senate floor that she would vote in favor of his confirmation.

“I thought that Susan was incredible yesterday. You could see how hard she worked, how hard she was working, she didn’t stop. But I know for a fact because I spoke with her. She didn’t stop. And she gave an impassioned, beautiful speech yesterday and that was from the heart,” the president said, according to pool reports.

The president also defended Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who conservative commentator Ann Coulter had attacked on Twitter for attending his daughter’s wedding instead of the final confirmation vote. Trump said he gave Daines his blessing to attend his daughter’s nuptials and that his vote would not have changed the outcome anyway.

“I have asked Steve Daines, our great Republican Senator from Montana, to attend his daughter Annie’s wedding rather than coming to today’s vote,” the president wrote on Twitter. “Steve was ready to do whatever he had to, but we had the necessary number. To the Daines Family, congratulations-have a wonderful day!”

Kavanaugh is now the second Supreme Court justice the president has sworn in during his less than two years in office, following Justice Neil Gorsuch.

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