The Trump White House is reportedly no longer considering Sen. Mike Lee for the Supreme Court nomination to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reports Lee was on President Trump’s list of possible nominees, but the administration has narrowed their choices down to two top contenders: Judges Bett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
A senior administration official told TheDCNF that Lee is on the list of possible nominees, but that other candidates are being given more serious consideration. Other sources connected to the process confirm that the senator is not a frontrunner, and senior GOP Senate aides are extremely skeptical about his viability.
TheDCNF learned that former GOP Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina called the president to press for Lee’s nomination in recent days. A spokesman for DeMint declined to comment on the particulars of the phone call.
Republican Senate staffers note Lee has taken explicit positions on a range of issues, including Roe v. Wade, that would galvanize liberal opposition and make it practically impossible for moderate, pro-choice Republicans like Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska to support him.
Other Senate aides predicted that a tight confirmation vote could back Lee into the awkward spectacle of voting for his own nomination, which would be optically disastrous for the White House and the GOP.
Trump has promised to announce his second Supreme Court nominee on July 9.