WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Democrats may try to force a vote on President Barack Obama's Supreme court nominee, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said on Thursday, inviting along Republicans who want to distance themselves from presidential candidate Donald Trump.
"We have a couple of options and we are deciding when to do that. And if we should do that. When and if," Reid said in a conference call with reporters.
The leader of the Republican-controlled Senate, Mitch McConnell, has refused to schedule hearings on the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, saying the winner of the Nov. 8 presidential election should be allowed to weigh in on the Supreme Court pick.
A number of Republican senators in tough re-election fights are trying to distance themselves from their party's controversial nominee, yet they refuse to hold a vote on Garland, Reid said.
Photos of Obama appointing Judge Merrick Garland to Supreme Court:
He said those Republicans should call on McConnell to confirm Garland, not hold the Supreme Court seat for someone as "radical and unfit" as Trump, a New York businessman who has never held public office. His Democratic Party opponent in the election is former U.S. senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
"They spend a lot of time these Republicans, spending a lot of energy trying to separate themselves from Donald Trump. But as long as they're holding a Supreme Court seat open for him, they're his minions. They're his enablers," Reid said.
"We're going to ensure that every American knows that as long as Senate Republicans are fighting to let Trump shape the Supreme Court for a generation or more, there's no daylight between them and Trump."