WASHINGTON (UPI) — Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz wasted no time blasting President Barack Obama’s controversial nomination Wednesday of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace the late Antonin Scalia.

Cruz’s rival for the GOP nomination, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, also frowned on Obama’s decision to submit a high court appointee, saying the president should not have made a nomination during an election year because it will only serve to worsen Washington gridlock.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has pledged the upper chamber will not hold hearings on Garland’s confirmation and he won’t receive an up-or-down vote before Obama leaves office.

“Merrick Garland is exactly the type of Supreme Court nominee you get when you make deals in Washington, D.C. A so-called ‘moderate’ Democrat nominee is precisely the kind of deal that Donald Trump has told us he would make — someone who would rule along with other liberals on the bench like Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor,” Cruz’s campaign said Wednesday. “We cannot afford to lose the Supreme Court for generations to come by nominating or confirming someone that a deal-maker like Donald Trump would support. Washington deal-makers cannot be trusted with such crucial lifetime appointments.

“The people will decide.”

Kasich spoke at a town hall event in Philadelphia, blaming Obama for the breakdown with Congress.

“The president has failed in this: You cannot stiff the legislative body that you have to work with,” he said. “I didn’t think the president should send anybody up now, because it’s not going to happen.”

The GOP’s front-runner, Donald Trump, was largely silent on Garland’s nomination Wednesday.

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