An angry and defiant Brett Kavanaugh delivered a fiery opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, denying allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford and calling them “smears” that “destroyed my family” and “my name.”
Three weeks ago, Kavanaugh sat in a different room, in a different Senate office building serenely going through the motions of the confirmation process that seemed destined to sail through.
That cool, confident man was replaced by one full of grievances, disgusted by the allegations waged against him, and determined to clear his name. He frequently teared up, paused to drink water, and inhaled deeply as he talked about his family, his friends, and the toll this has taken on both.
Kavanaugh said that the 10-day delay between when Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations appeared in The Washington Post and Thursday’s hearing was harmful to me, the Supreme Court, and country.”
“This confirmation process has become a national disgrace,” he said. “The Constitution gives the Senate an important role in the confirmation process, but you have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy.”
He added, “I fear the whole country will reap the whirlwind.” At another point, he declared, “You’ll never get me to quit.”
Ford testified to the committee on Thursday morning that Kavanaugh groped her and covered her mouth when she tried to scream while at a party when the two were in high school.
Kavanaugh flatly denied her allegations.
“I categorically and unequivocally deny the allegation against me by Dr. Ford,” he said. “I have never sexually assaulted Dr. Ford or anyone.”
“Again, I am not questioning that Dr. Ford may have been sexually assaulted by some person in someplace at some time,” he continued.
“But I have never done that to her or to anyone.”
Kavanaugh threw barbs directly at Democratic senators on the committee telling them because of the forces they “unleashed” he may never be able to teach law or coach his daughters basketball teams again.
“When I accepted the president's nomination, [my wife] Ashley and I knew this process would be challenging,” he said. “We never expected that it would devolve into this.”
In addition to denying Ford’s allegations, he also dismissed “crazy stuff” he was accused of doing during his high school and college years.
“Gangs, illegitimate children, fights on boats in Rhode Island, all nonsense, reported breathlessly and often uncritically by the media,” Kavanaugh said.
“This has destroyed my family and my good name.”
Swetnick’s allegation that Kavanaugh was present during gang rapes and at parties where women were verbally and physically abused surfaced on Wednesday, less than 24 hours before the hearing.
Kavanaugh looked incredulous when her allegations were mentioned by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) during a line of questioning.
“The Swetnick thing is a joke. It’s a farce,” he said.
“Would you like to say more about it?” Feinstein asked.
“No,” Kavanaugh replied.
Later, after a several of his Democratic colleagues suggested Kavanaugh ask for an FBI investigation, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) seemed to have had enough.
“What you want to do is destroy this guy's life, hold this seat open and hope you win in 2020,” Graham said. “This the most unethical scam since I've been in politics.”
Graham wasn’t done.
“If you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn't have done what you did to this guy,” he said to Democrats on the panel.
He then turned to Kavanaugh.
“Are you a gang rapist?” he asked.
“No,” Kavanaugh replied.
“I cannot imagine what you and your family have gone through,” Graham said, and then turned back to his Democratic colleagues.
“Boy, ya'll want power,” he said. “God, I hope you never get it.”