Image Credits: AP Photo
This morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard from Christine Blasey Ford, who detailed her sexual assault allegation involving Brett Kavanaugh, more than 36 years ago. She gave a compelling testimony, one that was well received by many members of the committee. Many of the Senate democrats used their time to commend her bravery, and to let her know that they believed her. Republican Texas senator John Cornyn said “I found no reason to find her not credible.” Coming out of her testimony and into Kavanaugh’s, many believed he was fighting an uphill battle, and weren’t sure how he could convince the committee that he was innocent.
I think it’s fair to say that this whole thing has been messy at best. Even among staunch conservatives, who believed in and cheered for Kavanaugh before the allegations, there’s been a pause, and many have hoped this hearing would help to form their opinion.
Enter Kavanaugh. A far cry from the Supreme Court nominee that we saw in this same room just a few weeks ago, this Kavanaugh is fired up, he’s passionate, and he’s emotional. Kavanaugh opened by indicating that he wrote his 40-minute opening statement himself, and then goes on to passionately describe what he has been through, saying “my family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed.” He continued by emphasizing the testimony of Ms. Kaiser, who denies knowing or attending social gatherings with Kavanaugh, despite Dr. Ford’s testimony. Kavanaugh then addressed the court, saying “you have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy.” He called out the Democratic senators who opposed him within hours of his nomination, addressing the letter detailing this allegation that had been “held in secret for weeks by a Democratic member” until “it was needed” as a political tactic “publicly deployed over Dr. Ford’s wishes” to derail him. Undeterred by recent events, Kavanaugh passionately declared, “I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process.” And, in one of the most tweeted about lines of the speech, he said, “You may defeat me in the final vote but you’ll never get me to quit. Never.”
The original tone of Kavanaugh’s speech, fired up and resolute, then shifted. “I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone, not in high school, not in college, not ever,” he said, “Allegations of sexual assault must always be taken seriously, always.” Kavanaugh assured the American people that he was not questioning that Dr. Ford may have been assaulted, but he knew it wasn’t by him. Despite the allegation, Kavanaugh emphasized several times that he had no ill will toward Dr. Ford, and choked up as he told a moving story about his 10-year old daughter, Liza.