On one front he has been clear, however - while he admires Kavanaugh's credentials, he is also concerned by his work in the Bush administration.
The decision has far-reaching implications for America on everything from abortion to guns to immigration. "If confirmed, the conservative wing of the court - composed of five men - will be poised to strip women of the freedom to make their own health choices and control their own futures".
"He is from Washington", Santorum said.
With reality television-style suspense, he had kept everyone guessing up until the last moment.
For all the parsing of differences between the finalists on the president's shortlist in recent days - Judge Amy Coney Barrett was praised by conservative Christian groups who believed she held the deepest anti-abortion beliefs, Judge Thomas Hardiman was criticized by those same groups who anxious he might slide to the left as Justices Souter, Kennedy and Blackmun did before him, Kavanaugh raised concerns from some because his anti-abortion opinions were not strong enough - all of those under consideration effectively posed a similar threat to abortion access in the United States.
Trump's made-for-TV announcement mirrored his January selection of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Throughout this process I have witnessed firsthand your appreciation for the vital role of the American judiciary. "No president has ever consulted more widely or talked with more people from more backgrounds to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination".
"I am grateful to you and I am humbled by your confidence in me".
Kavanaugh has been dubbed a Washington insider, having worked in both Bush administrations, and is now a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit. He also was a key aide to Kenneth Starr during his investigation of President Bill Clinton and worked in the White House during George W. Bush's presidency.
Kethledge, who was a clerk for Kennedy in 1997-98, has been described as very similar ideologically to Gorsuch.
Mr Kavanaugh is a federal appellate judge on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.
In a 2013 law review article, Kavanaugh wrote that after seeing firsthand the many hard duties that a president encounters, he thinks that presidents should operate free from the threat of civil suits, such as the sexual harassment suit that led to President Clinton's impeachment, and that presidents should also be free from criminal investigations.
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Yet, following Trump's nomination, McConnell called on his colleagues "to put partisanship aside and consider his legal qualifications with the fairness, respect, and seriousness that a Supreme Court nomination ought to command". Justice Elena Kagan, who was then dean of Harvard Law School, hired Kavanaugh to teach there, he said.
He praised Kavanaugh as an originalist, noting that he coaches basketball, serves meals to needed families, and tutors children at elementary schools.
His appointment will not change the ideological tilt of a court that already has a 5-4 conservative majority, but he could nevertheless shift the bench further right.
Current justices range in age from Elena Kagan, 58, to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85.
"Three Democratic senators - Heitkamp, Manchin, and Donnelly - voted for Trump's last Supreme Court nominee", said Ezra Levin, co-executive director of The Indivisible Project.
The front-runner was a front-runner for a reason.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told Trump he believes Kethledge and Hardiman might be easier for the Senate to confirm than either Kavanaugh or Barrett, The New York times reported, citing Republican officials briefed on the conversations.
If the party sticks together, the president's choice will be sitting on the Supreme Court when its new term starts in October.
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of CT, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said the president "outsourced" his decision to the conservative Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation, which first helped Trump compile a list of 25 prospective Supreme Court justices during the 2016 campaign.
Republicans outnumber Democrats, 51 to 49, in the Senate. Feinstein is the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
"My judicial philosophy is straightforward", Kavanaugh said. The others are Republican targets for the confirmation vote who come from Trump-won states where they face re-election this fall.