WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he found the testimony of his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, before the Senate Judiciary Committee responding to allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct to be “powerful” and “honest.”
“Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him. His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting,” said Trump on Twitter after Kavanaugh testified late Thursday afternoon.
“Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!” the president added in the same tweet.
Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat, before the Senate Judiciary Committee defiantly, forcefully and emotionally denied the accusations of sexual assault leveled at him by Christine Blasey Ford, calling them “a national disgrace.”
Recently, a total of three women – including Ford – have come forward publicly to accuse the now-judge of sexual assault and/or misconduct when they were in high school or college.
“This confirmation process has become a national disgrace,” Kavanaugh said in his opening statement before the committee after Ford had testified on Thursday morning, adding that “The Constitution gives the Senate an important role in the confirmation process, but you have replaced ‘advice and consent’ with ‘search and destroy.’”
The Senate Judiciary Committee, which has a Republican majority – just like the overall Senate – is tasked with approving or not Kavanaugh’s nomination.
At times breaking down in tears and pausing in delivering his statement, Kavanaugh told the committee that “My family and my name have been totally and permanently destroyed by vicious and false additional allegations,” but he vowed that he would never withdraw or quit.
Ford had appeared before the committee earlier on Thursday, confirming for lawmakers that she was “100 percent” certain that it was a drunken Kavanaugh who had sexually assaulted her at a house party in 1982 when they were both teens.
Kavanaugh, in his turn before the committee, said that he was not questioning Ford’s claim that she had been sexually assaulted by someone, but he declared that he did not do so.
The Senate hearing – broadcast live by major television news networks – commanded the attention of many Americans amid increasing pressure to postpone a confirmation vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Earlier, before the committee, Ford had described taking and passing a polygraph test regarding her accusation.
“I believed he was going to rape me. I tried to yell for help. When I did, Brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me from screaming. This was what terrified me the most, and has had the most lasting impact on my life. It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me,” Ford said in her opening statement at the hearing on her accusation.
“I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school,” she told lawmakers.
Ford said that she had “agonized” for months since she learned about Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, but ultimately she said “I thought it was my civic duty to relay the information I had about Mr. Kavanaugh’s conduct so that those considering his potential nomination would know about the assault.”
One of three women who have publicly accused the judge of sexual misconduct, Ford insisted that she is a “fiercely independent” person and nobody’s “pawn,” and asserted that she felt it was incumbent upon her to tell her story about what occurred at the house party in the summer of 1982, when both she and Kavanaugh were teenagers.
The hearing scheduled for Thursday by the Republicans – who are in the majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee – was set to hear testimony from both Ford and Kavanaugh on her allegation, but the GOP members have not moved to allow calling more witnesses who might be able to corroborate or refute either of their stories, including Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s close high school friend who Ford says was present in the same room during the attack.