The president of the United States, the Senate Majority Leader, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, the Judiciary Committee’s senior staff, two senators who serve on the Judiciary Committee and a network of conservative groups have spent the past week trying to railroad an alleged victim of sexual assault.
Is it really hard to grasp why Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has been reluctant to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee and field questions, possibly from an un-elected, outside counsel acting as the GOP’s hired gun?
One week ago, Ford courageously came forward with allegations that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her at a party in high school.
Just as they did with sexual misconduct allegations against Donald Trump and Roy Moore before, the Republican Party has looked the other way, in the process revealing to the American people the extraordinary lengths they will go to suppress the truth and silence women in America. It turns out Republicans were trying to beat the clock as some Senate Republican staffers were reportedly already aware of another allegation of sexual misconduct that occurred during Kavanaugh’s college years that became public on Sunday night.
Republican men who run the Judiciary Committee and the Senate have openly declared that they don’t believe Ford and that nothing she says can change their mind.
The Republican smear machine went into action as conservative conspiracy theorist Ed Whelan began stalking Ford on LinkedIn – even before her name became public. Since the only people who knew Ford’s identity at that point were The Washington Post and the White House, it’s not hard to ascertain who leaked her name to Whelan. If Democrats retake control of Congress in November, there will almost certainly be an investigation into the White House’s handling of Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Ford has spent the last week being subjected to the same sexist responses from Republican men ― including the president ― that Anita Hill experienced in 1991.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who was a part of those proceedings 17 years ago, went on national television and suggested that Ford was “mistaken” and “mixed up.” The idea that a victim of sexual assault would somehow misidentify her attacker reveals the level of ignorance and blatant sexism that exists throughout the Republican Party.
From there, a conservative public relations firm with close ties to both the White House and the Senate Judiciary Committee orchestrated a blatant smear campaign against Ford that culminated with Whelan falsely suggesting that someone else had sexually assaulted her.
Mike Davis, the Judiciary Committee staffer in charge of nominations for Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), tweeted defiantly, “Unfazed and determined. We will confirm Judge Kavanaugh. #ConfirmKavanaugh #SCOTUS.”
The all-male Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have the audacity to question her memory, judgment, character and morality.
Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell echoed Davis’ tweet in a speech on Friday. “Here’s what I want to tell you: In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court,” he declared. “We’re gonna plow right through it and do our job.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), also a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Fox News that he’s not “going to ruin Judge Kavanaugh’s life over this” and that Ford’s testimony in front of the committee wouldn’t change anything as far as he was concerned.
Amid all of this, a press adviser helping to lead the Senate Judiciary Committee’s attacks on Ford had to resign because of previous sexual harassment allegations made against him.
So the Republican men who run the Judiciary Committee and the Senate have openly declared that they don’t believe her and that nothing she says can change their mind.
The last thing Senate Republicans are interested in is the truth. They spent the bulk of the week trying to bully Ford into participating in a sham hearing designed to discredit her and expedite the confirmation of Kavanaugh.
If Senate Republicans were serious about sex crimes, they would put the brakes on Thursday’s scheduled hearing to hear from Ford and Kavanaugh. And the president would direct the FBI to re-open their background investigation into Kavanaugh. But that’s not happening.
Instead, the all-male Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are trying to orchestrate this rigged hearing where Ford will be cross-examined on national television by the best litigator taxpayer money can buy. They don’t even have the guts to question her themselves. But they have the audacity to question her memory, judgment, character and morality.
By their actions, Senate Republicans have revealed their true selves: scared, weak and cowardly old men whose time is almost up.
Kurt Bardella is a HuffPost columnist and the former spokesperson and Senior Advisor for the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee and U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). Follow him on Twitter: @kurtbardella