Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), a top Senate Republican set to retire this year, on Sunday struggled to explain his opposition to Justice Clarence Thomas’ recusal from Jan. 6-related cases after revelations of Thomas’ wife’s pro-coup texts.
Appearing on ABC News, Blunt was asked about calls for Justice Thomas to recuse himself from election cases given his wife’s, Ginni Thomas, active involvement in former President Trump’s election subversion efforts.
Blunt suggested that Justice Thomas disagrees with his wife’s Big Lie efforts in arguing his dismissal of calls to recuse himself from Jan. 6-related cases.
“Well, the idea that you can’t disagree with your wife on a public issue and still be able to function as a judge or as a government figure of any kind, I think is an idea that’s long outlived any idea that it might be reasonable,” Blunt said.
Pressed on whether he knows that Justice Thomas disagrees with his wife, Blunt said he does not know for sure, before going on to deflect from his initial argument.
“Judge Thomas has to decide that, in his personal opinions, I think in his writings over the years aren’t part of his judicial philosophy,” Blunt said. “He’s going to look at the law. He’s going to look at what the law says and what the Constitution says and rule in that regard.”
Blunt added that he is “certainly totally supportive” of the Justice Department’s effort to investigate the events surrounding Jan. 6.
Blunt then continued his deflection of his initial argument against Thomas’ recusal by pointing to an early investigation by the Senate rules committee, which he and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) run.
“We’ve made a number of changes about how to secure the Capitol and 85 recommendations on how we can prevent that from happening again,” Blunt said. “But it was totally unacceptable what happened on January 6. I think the Justice Department is pursuing that exactly as they should.”
Blunt’s remarks come as congressional Democrats demand Justice Thomas’ recusal from Jan. 6-related cases, with some calling for his resignation from the high court in light of his wife’s pro-coup texts sent to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in the weeks after the 2020 presidential election.
On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) upped the pressure on calls for Justice Thomas’ recusal when she told reporters that she doesn’t think “he should’ve ever been appointed” in the first place.
“I don’t think he should’ve ever been appointed,” Pelosi said, before saying that she wouldn’t directly address some of her colleagues’ calls for Justice Thomas’ resignation.
Pelosi then urged the House to pass a standalone bill to impose a code of ethics on Supreme Court justices.
“Why should they have lower standards than members of Congress?” Pelosi said.
Meanwhile, GOP senators have largely dodged engaging with demands for Justice Thomas to recuse himself. Among the congressional Republicans grasping at weird straws to defend the justice, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) casted calls for his recusal from election cases as part of an “inappropriate pressure campaign” by Democrats.
Watch Blunt’s remarks below: