As President Donald Trump and his wife emerged at the top of the Supreme Court steps on Thursday morning to pay their respects to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a throng of onlookers broke out into a deafening chant of "Vote him out," their words echoing against the historic marble building.
But Trump claimed afterward that he could barely hear the scream for change.
"I think that was just a political chant. We could hardly hear it from where we were," Trump told reporters at the White House later in the day. "Somebody said there was some chanting ... but we could hardly hear too much. We heard a sound, but it wasn't very strong."
Trump - for once wearing a face mask - stood by Ginsburg's flag-draped casket at the top of the steps for less than two minutes.
As the chant began, he turned to first lady Melania Trump, who also wore a mask, exchanged a few inaudible words and then quickly retreated back into the Supreme Court building.
By the time they were back inside, the gathered Ginsburg admirers had switched up their chant.
"Honor her wish! Honor her wish! Honor her wish!" they shouted, a reference to Ginsburg's final request from her death bed, as recounted by her granddaughter, that she did not want her Supreme Court seat to be filled before the Nov. 3 election.
But Trump has made it abundantly clear that he does not plan to honor her wish.
He's set to unveil his pick to replace Ginsburg on Saturday and has promised that the candidate will be a woman with deeply conservative bonafides.
Senate Republicans, abandoning their previously stubborn stance that Supreme Court vacancies should not be filled in an election year, plan to rush Trump's nominee through procedural hoops in hopes of voting on her nomination before Election Day. Holding a 53-47 majority in the Senate, Republicans are all but certain to be able to pull it off.