Trump says Supreme Court pick will ‘most likely’ be a woman, announcement could come ‘next week’

When asked if there should be a vote on a nominee before or after the election, he said “before would be good.”

President Trump said his nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be a woman.

"It will be a woman. A very talented, very brilliant woman." Trump said. "I think it should be a woman. I actually like women much more than I like men."

The commander-in-chief opened his rally in Fayetteville, N.C., by paying tribute to the late justice, saying "you may disagree with her, but she was a tremendous inspiration to a number of people, I say all Americans."

Trump told reporters before boarding Air Force One to North Carolina that his pick would likely be announced next week.

Trump said the current situation is different than in February 2016 when a seat was vacated by late Justice Antonin Scalia. “That’s called the consequences of losing an election,” the president said.

He noted her close relationship with late Justice Antonin Scalia, which he called a "powerful reminder we can disagree on fundamental issues while treating each other with decency and respect."

Trump also asserted his right to nominate a new justice before the election. "Article II of the Constitution says the president shall nominate justices of the Supreme Court. I don't think it can be any more clear, can it?"

A chant broke out among the crowd multiple times throughout the night: "Fill that seat, fill that seat."

"It says the president, we're supposed to fill the seat. That's what we're going to do."

Trump also told the crowd he would now consider his rallies protests. "This isn't a rally. From now on it's called a protest," he said. "Protest against stupidity."

Trump said that a Supreme Court seat was vacated during an election year or prior to inauguration 29 times throughout history. "Every sitting president made a nomination," he said.

President Obama nominated Merrick Garland for the seat, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in 2016 used his caucus’ numbers to hold the seat open until after the election.

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Of Sen. Susan Collins’ statement that the nominee should be voted on after the election, Trump said before the rally, “I totally disagree.” “We have an obligation, we won,” he said. “We're here now. Right now we're here and we have an obligation to the voters.”

When addressing the crowd he brought up Collins again. "Nobody ever said 'oh, let's not fill the seat. I won't say it. Susan, I won't say it... Susan."

Trump turned to his opponent Joe Biden. He said that Democrats were "trying to delay" coronavirus vaccine approval to "give sleepy Joe the credit."

"If we had listened to Joe Biden [on coronavirus] hundreds of thousands more Americans would have died," he said.

Ginsburg, 87, died Friday from complications surrounding metastatic cancer of the pancreas.

Earlier on Saturday, Trump said Republicans should fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg "without delay."

“@GOP We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices,” Trump tweeted Saturday morning.

“We have this obligation, without delay!” he added.

The president’s statement comes after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., just hours after Ginsburg’s passing, vowed that a Trump nominee to the Supreme Court “will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

“The Senate and the nation mourn the sudden passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the conclusion of her extraordinary American life,” McConnell said in a statement.

“In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term. We kept our promise,” McConnell continued. “Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year.”

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McConnell added that, “by contrast, Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary.”

“Once again, we will keep our promise,” he said. “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

But the nomination and confirmation process for the latest addition to the Supreme Court, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, took 89 days total for confirmation. It took 57 days from Kavanaugh's nomination to his confirmation hearing.

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There are 44 days until Election Day.

Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report.