The Republican Party has a long and disturbing history of protecting alleged abusers, harassers and sexual predators.
Take, for instance, the example of President Donald Trump.
The commander-in-chief was caught on tape bragging about using his stardom to molest and grope women without their consent. Yet, despite the damning audio and a number of sexual misconduct allegation against him, he still managed to snag the Republican nomination and subsequently win the election.
Similarly, former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore was endorsed by the GOP despite being accused of pedophilia, child molestation and having sexual relationship with teenage girls when he was in his 30s.
Then there was White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who stepped down from his position amid allegations of domestic abuse. Hiss first ex-wife, Colbie Holderness, alleged he punched her in 2005 while his second ex-wife, Jennifer Willoughby, had to obtain a protective order against Porter because she said he would “not leave their apartment.”
The Trump administration was apparently aware of the protective order. However, not only did Porter get the job, White House officials also expressed shock at the accusations against him.
The case of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is no different.
Less than a week ago, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) released a cryptic statement about receiving “information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” which she had forwarded to the FBI. A day later, the New Yorker reported Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual assault.
Just recently, the woman who had accused Kavanaugh of misconduct stepped forward – and the Republican Party’s response to her alleged experience with the SCOTUS nominee has been appalling, to say the least.
Christine Blasey Ford is currently a professor at Palo Alto University in California. She recalled her 1982 encounter with Kavanaugh during an interview with The Washington Post, during which she said she thought the judge would “inadvertently kill her” as he held her down with his hand on her mouth to drown her protests.
Ford alleged when Kavanaugh tried pulling her clothing, another one of his classmates, Mark Judge, was present in the room. They played loud music so that any yell for help would not be heard. She managed to escape after the SCOTUS nominee’s friend allegedly jumped on them. Ford and his friend stumbled after her, as she locked herself in the bathroom.
She described the altercation as a “rape attempt” to one of her therapists.
Sadly, this is how GOP Sen. Susan Collins, who once called for former Democratic Sen. Al Franken’s resignation over sexual harassment allegations, responded to the allegations against Kavanaugh.
“Well, I obviously was very surprised and it’s an issue that I brought up with him last Friday and he denied as he did in his written statement,” she said, adding that is all she really had to say at this point,” she told CNN. “I’m going to be talking with my colleagues, but I really don’t have anything to add at this point, as I said. I did ask — I did read the letter last week and — and asked the judge in a telephone conversation on Friday about it, and he was very emphatic in his denial.”
However, when asked if she believes the accuser, Collins replied, “I don’t know enough to make a judgment at this point.”
That’s not it.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) also took to Twitter to share a pro-Kavanaugh letter signed by 65 women who reportedly knew the SCOTUS nominee around the time the alleged sexual assault took place.
65 women of bipartisan backgrounds who knew Judge Kavanaugh in high school: "For the entire time we have known Brett Kavanaugh, he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect" & has "stood out for his friendship, character, and integrity" #SCOTUS https://t.co/9dT54BC2qM pic.twitter.com/5QtcPfwjX5— Senate Judiciary (@senjudiciary) September 14, 2018
In the letter, reportedly arranged by a website funded by the Judicial Crisis Network, the signatories claimed “[f]or the entire time we have known Brett Kavanaugh, he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect.”
Basically, the letter attempted to defend Kavanaugh by saying he knew at least 65 women whom he did not try to assault.
I would imagine that the typical sexual assaulter also comes across dozens of women who he does not sexually assault. It seems immaterial.— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) September 14, 2018
Also, why did Grassley have a character certificate for Kavanaugh on hand?
1. That letter from 65 women who say Kavanaugh did not sexually assault them?— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) September 14, 2018
It's a common tactic.
We've seen this movie before.
It's designed to discredit the accuser(s) but has absolutely no relevance
The fact that GOP is embracing it is telling.
As gross as this justification was, it was Donald Trump Jr.’s unsettling Instagram post that took the cake.
Soon, former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer also joined the list of conservatives who went to absurd lengths to defend Kavanaugh.
“There’s a bigger ethical issue I want to get to here, too. And I want to say this with a lot of sensitivity because these are sensitive issues,” the Fox News commentator said during a segment on the SCOTUS nominee. “But high school behavior -- how much in society should any of us be held liable today when we lived a good life, an upstanding life by all accounts, and then something that maybe is an arguable issue took place in high school? Should that deny us chances later in life? Even for Supreme Court job, a presidency of the United States, or you name it. How accountable are we for high school actions, when this is clearly a disputable high school action? That’s a tough issue.”
To put it simply, Fleischer was wondering why committing something like sexual assault in high school “deny us chances later in life.”
Sen. Jeff Flake appears to be one of the only notable Republicans who have suggested delaying the vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation.
Judiciary Committee member Flake tells POLITICO: "If they push forward without any attempt with hearing what she's had to say, I'm not comfortable voting yes ... we need to hear from her. And I don't think I'm alone in this" https://t.co/NgoiK6L5Pr— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) September 16, 2018
Although nothing has been proved yet and Kavanaugh has denied the allegations, it is in no way acceptable or even OK to demean alleged sexual assault victims.
It is for this very reason, the demonization that comes with taking a stand, that most victims of misconduct refuse to come forward.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: REUTERS/Chris Wattie