Story by Alex Derosier

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and Republican lawmakers joined a small crowd on the steps of the State Capitol in Jefferson City on Thursday afternoon to demonstrate in favor of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch.

State Republican leaders lead crowd at rally for Trump’s high court nominee

The President’s campaign organization called for supporters to demonstrate in support of his nominee in at least six Republican-leaning states with a Democratic US Senator. Many at the rally said they received an email or phone call from the campaign urging them to come out.

One demonstrator came from as far as Kansas City, after receiving an email from Trump’s campaign organization the day before. Most came from near Jefferson City.

Secretary of State Ashcroft, Rep. Tim Remole (R-Excello) and other lawmakers briefly addressed the crowd, with Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) joining later to speak with supporters.

Ashcroft criticized US Sen. Claire McCaskill for voting against the confirmation of Gorsuch. “I would hope that she starts to realize how out of touch she is with the people of the state,” he said, “She’s supposed to be representing us and doing what’s best not only for the State of Missouri but for the United States.”

Ashcroft said the Supreme Court needs a member who will strictly interpret the Constitution, and praised Sen. Roy Blunt for supporting Gorsuch.

McCaskill opposed Gorsuch’s nomination after evaluating his rulings as a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. McCaskill said she was concerned that Gorsuch had a track record of ruling in favor of corporations over people.

In a statement released this week, Missouri Democratic Party Chair Stephen Webber backed McCaskill, describing Gorsuch as a judge who has used his courtroom to let the “rich and powerful step all over working people.” Webber called Republican criticisms partisan attacks.

At least one person showed up to protest the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch. Kim Krieckhaus drove nearly 50 miles to Jefferson City after hearing about the demonstration through Trump campaign phone calls the day before. She said she wasn’t sure how she ended up on the call list, but took it as an opportunity to come speak against US Senate Republicans and President Trump.

“Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Chairman Grassley refused to hear anything from Merrick Garland,” she said. “That’s when our constitution broke.”

Republicans in the US Senate were forced to change rules of the Supreme Court confirmation process this week after failing to get the two-thirds majority typically needed to approve a nominee. Until last week, McCaskill’s stance on Gorsuch was unclear.