Influential conservative leaders are attacking Republican Sen. John Kennedy over his reluctance to support President Trump's judicial nominees.
Following the freshman Louisiana senator's decision to vote against a Trump nominee this week and speak publicly about his reluctance to support others, conservatives are putting pressure on Kennedy. He voted against Greg Katsas' confirmation to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, after voting for him in committee, and has slowed the nomination of Kyle Duncan to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry sharply criticized Kennedy on Family Research Council President Tony Perkins's radio program on Wednesday evening. Perkins is a former Louisiana congressman and head of the prominent social conservative lobbying group in Washington.
Landry told Perkins he was "watching very closely" Kennedy's actions and called Kennedy's actions "troubling."
"Look, this is easy for Senator Kennedy," Landry said. "This is as easy as you, Tony, calling Michael Jordan up and saying, “Would you just do a layup for us, sir?” I mean this is easy."
Perkins said on his show that Trump's team deserves high marks for its judicial selections thus far.
"I think [Kennedy] needs to hear from folks, especially those folks in Louisiana because I will tell you as a Louisianan, I don’t think he is representing us well," Perkins said.
Kennedy also is facing pressure from the leadership of influential conservative groups working to boost Trump's judicial nominees.
Tea Party Patriots head Jenny Beth Martin and Judicial Crisis Network chief counsel Carrie Severino sought to turn the heat up on Kennedy this week.
"Senator Kennedy should immediately let the people of Louisiana know whether he joins them in supporting President Trump and his exceptional judicial nominees or if he stands with liberal Democrats doing everything they can to resist the president,” Martin said.
Severino, whose work with the Judicial Crisis Network has led multimillion-dollar campaigns to confirm Trump's judges, similarly spoke out against Kennedy.
"The people of Louisiana are waiting to find out if Senator Kennedy stands with them and President Trump or liberal special interest groups in Washington," Severino said.
Kennedy has cited concerns with the nomination process and paperwork submitted to Congress from Trump's nominees as the reasoning for his hesitation to support Trump's nominees.
The Family Research Council said Perkins does not have the phone number of former Chicago Bulls star Jordan, a six-time world champion basketball player.