As of Saturday evening, advisers say, the president had narrowed his list down to four candidates. Raymond Kethledge was the leading contender, although officials stress that Trump has not yet settled on a choice. Trump has been describing Kethledge to aides as “Gorsuch 2.0,” a reference to his 2017 successful nominee, Neil Gorsuch. Trump sees that nomination as one of the high points of his presidency…

Kavanaugh had been considered a frontrunner, but his fortunes may be torpedoed by Trump’s grudges. Kavanaugh was a top aide to President George W. Bush, whom Trump loathes. As much as anything, personality drives the current President to action, and Trump has gone out of his way to attack all members of the Bush clan and their aides. When some Twitter users started posting a photograph of Kavanaugh walking with former Bush deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, most of Kavanaugh’s backers saw the writing on the wall given Rove’s criticism of Trump’s conduct as candidate and as President.

Privately, Kavanaugh has found the treatment of his service in the Bush White House troubling, he has told those involved in picking a nominee. But that is unlikely to sway Trump, aides say, and those involved in the process urged Kavanaugh not to dig any deeper with Trump. White House Counsel Don McGahn, a Kavanaugh booster, has largely stopped making the case for his friend, sources say.