The argument from prominent conservatives is that if the court strikes down Roe v. Wade, something Democrats increasingly view as an inevitability, it should do so with a woman in the majority. And they say Barrett is the smart political play for the GOP.

“If we go down a road where Roe v. Wade is litigated yet again, from an optics standpoint, it looks a whole lot better to have a woman in that 5-4 decision rather than five men. I think that’s something that has to be a consideration for a Republican president,” said David Brody, White House correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network.

Trump himself is keenly aware of the optics of decision: Aboard Air Force One on Friday en route to his golf resort in New Jersey, he told reporters he had narrowed the pool of potential candidates to about five — and noted that two were women.