As the future of his nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court remains in question, President Donald Trump will spend parts of four of the next six days on the campaign trail, imploring voters to help him maintain a crucial Republican majority in the U.S. Congress, making stops for GOP candidates this week in Tennessee, Mississippi, Minnesota and Kansas.
"We are just five weeks away from one of the most important congressional elections in our lifetimes," the President said on Saturday night at a rally in Wheeling, West Virginia, where he plugged Judge Brett Kavanaugh, whose nomination remains in limbo in the U.S. Senate.
"The American people saw the brilliant and really incredible character, quality and courage of our nominee for the United States Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh," Mr. Trump said to loud cheers.
"A vote for Judge Kavanaugh is also a vote to reject the ruthless and outrageous tactics of the Democrat Party," the President said, accusing Democrats of "trying to overturn the results of the last election."
The President could well echo those remarks on Kavanaugh, as he holds a rally Monday night in Johnson City, Tennessee, trying to boost the U.S. Senate campaign of Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who is running against former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen.
Blackburn is running to hold on to the seat of the retiring Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee; if Democrats are going to have a chance to win back the Senate, the Volunteer State is one of the key races for them on Election Day.
As for the Kavanaugh nomination - it is officially pending on the floor of the U.S. Senate, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not indicated when he would push to hold a vote.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), along with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) are seen as the holdouts at this point, as Flake and Murkowski have both said more review is needed by the FBI on certain allegations related to Judge Kavanaugh.
Flake is taking flak from both parties on this - from Republicans who feel he is undermining the President, to Democrats worried that the retiring Senator is all talk - and no action.
The President's campaign trip to Tennessee also coincides with the first Monday in October - as the Supreme Court will convene for its new term - with an empty seat on the bench.
The last time the Court was without a full complement of justices was after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February of 2016 - Republicans in the Senate refused to hold a hearing on President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, ultimately holding the seat open for President Trump, allowing him to place Justice Neil Gorsuch on the bench.
If Kavanaugh's nomination is derailed - the November elections for U.S. Senate could turn into a flash point over whether the President will face a Senate controlled by Democrats, who would be free to reject his Supreme Court choices.
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