Donald Trump was caught on camera apparently learning the news of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, while Joe Biden said she ‘stood for all of us’ and tributes poured in for the ‘smart and humorous trailblazer’ from both sides of the political line.
The president made the baffling claim he didn’t know Ginsburg had died when a reporter asked him for comment after his Minnesota rally Friday evening.
‘She just died? Wow. I didn’t know that, you’re telling me now for the first time,’ he claimed.
Tributes flooded in from former presidents including George Bush and Jimmy Carter and several Democrats including Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The White House lowered its flags to half staff and social media users pointed out that in Jewish tradition, a person who dies on Rosh Hashanah – which started tonight – is regarded as a person of great righteousness.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (pictured 2009) died aged 87 after a battle with metastatic pancreas cancer, the Supreme Court has announced
Donald Trump claimed he didn’t know Ginsburg had died when a reporter asked him for comment after his Minnesota rally Friday evening. ‘She just died? Wow. I didn’t know that, you’re telling me now for the first time,’ he claimed (above)
The president claimed he was unaware of her death after the rally finished, despite a supporter shouting out that Ginsburg had died during his rally, the White House flag being lowered to half staff and his Chief of Staff Mark Meadows tweeting a tribute to the ‘trailblazer’ and ‘dedicated public servant’
Trump carried on with his campaign rally Friday night, while the rest of the political world paid tribute and questions started flying about Ginsburg’s possible replacement.
However while on stage – and moments after the Supreme Court announced her death – he reeled off his list of potential Supreme Court nominees for if and when a seat became available.
The president claimed he was unaware of her death after the rally finished, despite a supporter shouting out that Ginsburg had died during his rally, the White House flag being lowered to half staff and his Chief of Staff Mark Meadows tweeting a tribute to the ‘trailblazer’ and ‘dedicated public servant’.
When asked about her death by reporters, Trump said: ‘She just died? Wow. I didn’t know that, you’re telling me now for the first time.’
He then paused and held his hands in the air before paying tribute to Ginsburg – who he had a fraught relationship with since he moved in to the White House.
‘She led an amazing life. What else can you say? She was an amazing woman whether you agreed [with her] or not. She was an amazing who led an amazing life.
While Trump seemed oblivious to the news, his Democrat rival Joe Biden paid his respects to the legal pioneer and champion of equal rights. Biden called ‘not only a giant in the legal profession but a beloved figure’ who ‘stood for all of us’ in an interview on CNN
‘I’m actually sad to hear that. I’m sad to hear that,’ he said, before he turned and walked toward his jet.
There was no love lost between Trump and Ginsburg even before Trump entered the White House in 2016.
Ginsburg’s staunch criticism of the president earned her the nickname the Notorious RBG and made her a heroine among the left.
She branded him a ‘faker’ and said she could’t imagine what would happen if he became president.
Trump hit back saying it was ‘highly inappropriate that a United States Supreme Court judge gets involved in a political campaign’ and calling on her to resign from her position.
Ginsburg later apologized for mocking Trump saying ‘judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office’ and calling her comments ‘ill advised’
Ginsburg, only the second woman to serve as a Supreme Court Justice, died Friday evening aged 87 after a battle with metastatic pancreas cancer, the Supreme Court announced.
The judge, who served for 27 years on the highest court of the land, passed away surrounded by her family at her home in Washington D.C. following complications after she has battled the disease on and off since 2009.
While Trump seemed oblivious to the news, his Democrat rival Joe Biden paid his respects to the legal pioneer and champion of equal rights.
Biden called ‘not only a giant in the legal profession but a beloved figure’ who ‘stood for all of us’ in an interview on CNN.
The presidential candidate insisted a new justice should not be chosen until after the election in November and said this was the process followed in 2016.
‘There is no doubt – let me be clear – that the voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider,’ he said.
‘This was the position that the Republican Senate took in 2016 when there were almost 10 months to go.’
Tributes poured in from Democrats including Hillary Clinton, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Washington Governor Jay Inslee
Chief Justice John Roberts led the tributes to his colleague Friday describing her as a ‘champion of justice’.
‘Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,’ Roberts said in a statement.
‘We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we kne
Hillary Clinton tweeted that Ginsburg, a staunch advocate for women’s rights, paved the way for other women.
‘Justice Ginsburg paved the way for so many women, including me. There will never be another like her. Thank you RBG,’ Clinton wrote.
Bernie Sanders called her passing a ‘tremendous loss’ to America.
‘Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was one of the great justices in modern American history and her passing is a tremendous loss to our country,’ he tweeted.
‘She will be remembered as an extraordinary champion of justice and equal rights.’
Former president George Bush also paid tribute to Ginsburg in a statement Friday.
‘Laura and I join our fellow Americans in mourning the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She dedicated many of her 87 remarkable years to the pursuit of justice and equality, and she inspired more than one generation of women and girls,’ he said.
‘Justice Ginsburg loved our country and the law. Laura and I are fortunate to have known this smart and humorous trailblazer, and we send our condolences to the Ginsburg family’.
Former presidents George Bush and Jimmy Carter also paid tribute to the legal pioneer Friday
Former president Jimmy Carter also paid tribute to the ‘powerful legal mind and a staunch advocate for gender equality’.
‘Rosalynn and I are saddened by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A powerful legal mind and a staunch advocate for gender equality, she has been a beacon of justice during her long and remarkable career,’ he said in a statement.
‘I was proud to have appointed her to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1980. We join countless Americans in mourning the loss of a truly great woman.
‘We will keep her family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.’
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke of the state’s heartbreak over the loss over one of its own.
‘NY’s heart breaks with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,’ the Democrat tweeted.
‘During her extraordinary career, this Brooklyn native broke barriers & the letters RBG took on new meaning—as battle cry & inspiration. Her legal mind & dedication to justice leave an indelible mark on America.’
Washington Governor Jay Inslee, also a Democrat, described her as an ‘American hero’ and demanded that her ‘dying wish’ to not be replaced on the bench until after the election be respected.
He tweeted: ‘We have lost an American hero and a giant of justice.
‘May we honor Justice Ginsburg’s legacy by fighting for the civil rights of all Americans and respect her dying wish that she ‘will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
His words were echoed by Senator Cory Booker who urged the nation to carry on ‘her legacy of fairness and equality’.
‘Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a true giant, an American hero and a warrior for justice,’ Booker tweeted.
‘Our country mourns her loss deeply—we must honor her by carrying on her legacy of fairness and equality.’
Tributes also poured in from those on the other side of the political spectrum.
Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted that he was filled with ‘great sadness’ at the news and that despite their ‘many differences’ he ‘appreciate[d] her service to our nation’.
‘It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Justice Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer who possessed tremendous passion for her causes. She served with honor and distinction as a member of the Supreme Court,’ he wrote.
Tributes also poured in from those on the other side of the political spectrum
‘While I had many differences with her on legal philosophy, I appreciate her service to our nation. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends. May she Rest In Peace.’
President Trump is yet to tweet about her passing however estranged niece Mary Trump urged Americans to continue her ‘fight for our country’.
‘Take a moment. Breathe. And then we fight for our country the way she always did for us. Or we will lose everything,’ she wrote on Twitter.
Ginsburg’s death gives Trump the opportunity to name her successor at a critical time just six weeks before the nation heads to the polls.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her engagement photo taken in December 1953
The president has already appointed two members of the Supreme Court, Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh, in a move that pushes the court increasingly right wing.
The replacement of Ginsburg, a Democrat and women’s rights champion, by another Republican will leave the court Democrats outnumbered, with six Republicans to their three.
A debate is expected to ensue over whether Trump should nominate her successor or leave the seat vacant until after the outcome of the election.
Senator Chuck Schumer tweeted Friday after the news broke of Ginsburg’s death that the position should not be filled until the White House race was over.
‘The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,’ he tweeted.
‘Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.’
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement saying the Senate and nation mourns for Ginsburg alongside a statement where he said Trump’s nominee would be voted for by the Senate.
‘The Senate and the nation mourn the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the conclusion of her extraordinary American life,’ he tweeted.
Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Clinton in 1993 and has served more than 27 years.
She leaves behind her two children Jane Carol Ginsburg and James Steven Ginsburg, four grandchildren Paul Spera, Clara Spera, Miranda Ginsburg and Abigail Ginsburg, two step-grandchildren Harjinder Bedi and Satinder Bedi, and one great-grandchild Lucrezia Spera.
Her husband Martin David Ginsburg died in 2010.
Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York, on March 15 1933.