US President Donald Trump has been greeted with jeers and boos by a nearby crowd as he paid his respects to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Mr Trump, wearing a black face mask and accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, visited the late Supreme Court Justice’s flag-draped coffin outside the US Supreme Court.
As he stood near the casket at the marble court building on Thursday (local time) chants of “vote him out” could be clearly heard.
The moment highlighted the public flashpoint that Ms Ginsburg’s death has become ahead of the November 3 presidential election.
The Republican president, who has already installed two top court picks since taking office in 2017, has said he would unveil his latest choice on Saturday, a week after the 87-year-old justice died on September 18 after a long battle with cancer,
His decision to move quickly on a replacement just six weeks before the election has drawn sharp battle lines between Republicans and Democrats, and reshaped the race for the White House as
Mr Trump seeks re-election during a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 people in the United States and devastated the economy.
Ms Ginsburg, appointed by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1993, was an icon for liberals, especially as the court grew increasingly conservative.
Her death has sparked a renewed push by Democrats to get people to the polls in November and an outpouring of campaign donations.
Mr Trump dismissed the protests.
“I think that was just a political chant. We could hardly hear it from where we were,” he told reporters later in the day.
White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany called the chants “appalling and disrespectful”.
Before his election to president in 2016, Ms Ginsburg criticised him publicly, calling him “a faker” in one interview.
Mr Trump responded by writing that Ms Ginsburg’s “mind is shot” on Twitter. She later apologised, saying she regretted the “ill-advised” comments.
The President has maintained a respectful demeanour in his remarks about Ms Ginsburg since her death, calling her an “amazing woman” when informed of her passing.
But he has drawn criticism from Democrats for not honouring her wish, reportedly dictated in a statement to her granddaughter, that she be replaced by the next president.
Ms Ginsburg’s body will lie in state at the Capitol on Friday, the first time a woman receives that distinction.