Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Apologizes For Trump Comments Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has apologized for remarks she made about Donald Trump. NPR's Nina Totenberg has the latest.
NPR logo

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Apologizes For Trump Comments

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/486037765/486037842" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Apologizes For Trump Comments

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Apologizes For Trump Comments

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Apologizes For Trump Comments

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/486037765/486037842" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has apologized for remarks she made about Donald Trump. NPR's Nina Totenberg has the latest.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg caused a stir this week over her comments about Donald Trump suggesting it would hurt the country if he were elected president. Justice Ginsburg apologized this morning, and we're joined now by NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg. Good morning.

NINA TOTENBERG, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: Tell us what Justice Ginsburg said in her statement of apology.

TOTENBERG: She issued a statement through the press office to go to everybody that said (reading) on reflection, my recent remarks in response to press inquiries were ill-advised, and I regret making them. Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office. In the future, I will be more circumspect.

MONTAGNE: Well, remind us of everything she did, in fact, say.

TOTENBERG: Well, she said a number of things. The first interview she gave, she said she couldn't imagine - she didn't even want to think what the country would be like with Donald Trump as president. That raised a few eyebrows. Then she gave two more interviews where she expanded on that and finally said in an interview with CNN online that Trump was a faker, who said totally inconsistent things and that the press was letting him get away with not releasing his press - his tax returns when every other candidate does that.

And the pundit class then sort of went wild and said this is the first time - accurately, this is the first time in modern times anyway - that a Supreme Court justice has given a critique of a presidential candidate. And she clearly didn't like that. She clearly then thought about it and said oops.

MONTAGNE: Not OK. Had to...

TOTENBERG: Not OK.

MONTAGNE: All right. Not OK. Well, you have covered Justice Ginsburg for a long time, Nina. Were you surprised that she said these things sort of in quick succession?

TOTENBERG: I was very surprised, and I think perhaps when, you know - when people started asking her questions about something that she doesn't normally get involved in, she made a mistake. Now, I have to say she is the most transparent justice on the court. She is the one who when she gets sick tells you what's going on in statements about her medical care. She's the first justice who when she made a mistake - a minor error, but an error nonetheless - in the Supreme Court opinion in the - and - it was going to be corrected in the final opinion. She announced that she had made a mistake and was correcting the opinion and now other justices do that. So - and here she's very clearly said, I goofed.

MONTAGNE: That's rather refreshing in a way.

TOTENBERG: In a way, it is rather refreshing. You know, she can only hope that the controversy will now subside. Donald Trump, after all, commented - tweeted about her that her mind was shot, and she should resign. I think this is pretty clear evidence her mind isn't shot, and that she's not going to resign.

MONTAGNE: All right. Well, Nina, thank you very much.

TOTENBERG: I'm going to see her later today, and I'll see if I can get any more out of her, but I suspect this is pretty much it.

MONTAGNE: OK, great. NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg.

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Ginsburg Apologizes For 'Ill-Advised' Trump Comments

Ginsburg Apologizes For 'Ill-Advised' Trump Comments

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/486012897/486037702" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she regrets calling Donald Trump a "faker" and making other disparaging remarks about the candidate. Allison Shelley/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Allison Shelley/Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she regrets calling Donald Trump a "faker" and making other disparaging remarks about the candidate.

Allison Shelley/Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has apologized for what she called "ill-advised" comments she made earlier this week criticizing presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

"On reflection, my recent remarks in response to press inquiries were ill-advised and I regret making them," Ginsburg said in a statement Thursday morning. "Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office. In the future I will be more circumspect."

In an interview with the New York Times over the weekend, Ginsburg didn't hide her contempt for Trump, saying, "I can't imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president" and that her late husband would have said it was "time for us to move to New Zealand."

She doubled down on those statements Monday to CNN, calling Trump a "faker."

"He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego...How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that," Ginsburg continued.

While it's not surprising that the liberal justice, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, would be no fan of Trump, her harsh words were surprising coming from a sitting Supreme Court Justice.

As NPR's Nina Totenberg reported Wednesday on All Things Considered, modern-day justices have been heard overheard making comments about presidential candidates in the pat, "but Ginsburg is the first I'm aware of in modern times, anyway, to publicly criticize a presidential candidate."

On Wednesday, Trump called on Ginsburg to resign in a series of tweets.

Trump wasn't alone in the blowback against Ginsburg. The Washington Post editorial board called her comments "inappropriate." And the New York Times wrote that Trump was "right" and that she should "drop the political punditry and the name-calling."