Say this for Republicans in the age of Donald Trump: they have abandoned even the pretense of open minds.
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s show hearing will apparently go forward on Thursday, but the unflinching candor of the Republican leadership in recent days has dashed any hope that Christine Blasey Ford will get a fair hearing on her allegation that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers.
And now, another shoe drops — this time from Kavanaugh's freshman year at Yale University. In a story posted Sunday night, The New Yorker reports that a second woman is accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. Fifty-three-year-old Deborah Ramirez tells the magazine that Kavanaugh exposed himself at a dorm party and thrust his penis in her face without her consent.
But, as if the above weren’t bad enough, this is where it gets really nauseating. According to the New Yorker, after learning of Ramirez’s allegation against Kavanaugh last week, “Senate Republicans issued renewed calls to accelerate the timing of a committee vote.” In other words, as the credible accusations were mounting, the GOP was trying to expedite Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
The senators will hear her out if they must -- and the optics dictate that they must -- but they won’t believe her.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told evangelical voters on Friday they had no cause to doubt the imminent confirmation of the federal appeals court judge to the U.S. Supreme Court. “Here’s what I want to tell you,” he said. “In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the U.S. Supreme Court. So, my friends, keep the faith. Don’t get rattled by all this. We’re going to plow right through it and do our job.”
Ramming a candidate accused of sexual assault onto the nation’s highest court is an odd description of the Senate’s deliberative role to “advise and consent” on the president’s judicial nominees, but McConnell is not the only lawyer on Capitol Hill to have forgotten the chamber’s prescribed constitutional responsibility to vet candidates for lifetime appointments to the federal bench.
McConnell’s comments came on the heels of tweets by the chief counsel for nominations for Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa).
"Unfazed and determined. We will confirm Judge Kavanaugh. #ConfirmKavanaugh," Mike Davis tweeted dismissively of Blasey Ford’s allegations. "I personally questioned Judge Kavanaugh under penalty of felony and 5 years imprisonment, if he lies. I'm waiting to hear back from the accuser's attorneys, who can't find time between TV appearances to get back to me."
Perhaps her attorneys were distracted by the urgent need to arrange security for their client who was forced to move out of her home, separated from her children and hounded by reporters because she naively believed she had a civic duty to inform the Senate Judiciary Committee that there is more to their nominee than his Yale pedigree.
It is no surprise that Davis deleted those tweets, exhibiting as they did the overt contempt Republicans have demonstrated toward Blasey Ford since the research psychologist at Palo Alto University accused Trump’s Supreme Court nominee of sexually assaulting her at a party when he was a 17-year-old student at Georgetown Prep and she was a 15-year-old attending Holton-Arms, two private schools in the Maryland suburbs adjacent to the nation’s capital.
“What am I supposed to do, go and ruin this guy’s life based on an accusation?” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said on Fox News Sunday, ignoring the fact that Blasey Ford passed a polygraph test and requested a full FBI investigation of her claim. “I don’t know when it happened, I don’t know where it happened, and everybody named in regard to being there said it didn’t happen. I’m just being honest: Unless there’s something more, no, I’m not going to ruin Judge Kavanaugh’s life over this.”
Never mind how 15-year-old Chrissy Blasey’s life was ruined by the night she recalled being pushed onto a bed in a locked room and groped by a drunken Kavanaugh who tried to rip off her clothes and put his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream. She is not the GOP’s concern. The senators will hear her out if they must -- and the optics dictate that they must — but they won’t believe her. After all, Kavanaugh and his drunken friend Mark Judge, who Blasey Ford said witnessed the assault, have denied her allegation.
They’ve closed their minds, but they have also opened our eyes.
That’s proof enough for President Trump, a man who has been accused of sexual misconduct by no fewer than 19 women himself and who has in the last year reflexively defended powerful men accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault, including his own former Fox News stalwarts Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly.
“I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents,” Trump tweeted. “I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!”
The flood of personal and painful social media posts explaining why women often do not report their sexual assaults will neither enlighten nor move Senate Republicans who are exhibiting exactly the hostility that keeps women silent.
They’ve closed their minds, but they have also opened our eyes. The midterm elections are in 44 days. Women vote.