ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos would not tolerate another word from Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) on Sunday after the freshman senator said a president would have the authority to defy the Supreme Court, cutting his mic off to end the interview.
The tense moment came after Stephanopoulos pressed Vance on This Week about comments the senator made in 2021 urging Trump to fire every civil servant working within the federal government during a second term and ignore any Supreme Court ruling that ordered him to stop. Vance had suggested Donald Trump “stand before the country like Andrew Jackson did and say, ‘The Chief Justice has made his ruling, now let him enforce it.’”
“You think it’s OK to defy the Supreme Court?” Stephanopoulos asked.
Vance tried to equivocate, arguing that civil servants in the government were not carrying out the rulings of administration officials. He cited the deaths of three U.S. servicemen in Jordan as an example of bureaucrats who “aren't listening to the political branches.”
“That’s a fundamental component of our government, George, that whoever is in charge, agree or disagree with him, you have to follow the rules,” Vance said. “If those people aren't following the rules, then of course, you’ve got to fire them.”
But Stephanopoulos would not back down from the proposition, demanding Vance clarify whether the president had to abide by Supreme Court rulings. Vance, however, seemed to view the rulings as guidances the president could pick and choose from to follow.
“The Constitution says that the Supreme Court can make rulings but if the Supreme Court—and look, I hoped that they would not do this—but if the Supreme Court said the president of the United States can’t fire a general, that would be an illegitimate ruling,” Vance said. “The president has to have Article II prerogative under the Constitution to actually run the military as he sees fit. This is just basic constitutional legitimacy.”
“You’ve made it very clear—you believe the president can defy the Supreme Court,” Stephanoupolos said in response. “Senator, thanks for your time this morning.”
Vance could still be seen talking on screen as his mic was cut and the show went to a commercial break.