Taking a hard line on stage over the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh at The Atlantic Festival today, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham was met with boos from the crowd.
Though Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg, who was conducting the interview, was mostly able to restrain the crowd, one interjection from the crowd earned a reaction from Graham.
South Carolina’s senior senator appeared at the D.C. powerbroker event hosted by the magazine on Wednesday, less than a day after President Donald Trump traveled to a Mississippi rally and earned applause when he enumerated why Dr. Christine Blasey Ford could not be believed when she said that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while they were teenagers.
With Graham dismissing the president’s criticism of Ford as merely “factual,” Goldberg pressed him on Trump’s strategy of aiming a “personally degrading attack on someone who is a private citizen.”
Responding, Graham went on to say, “I don’t like what the president said last night. I’m the first person to say, ‘I want to hear from Dr. Ford.’ I thought she was handled respectfully. I thought Kavanaugh was treated like crap.”
Boos ensued, prompting Graham: “Yeah, well boo yourself.”
Graham continued to discuss the nomination, pledging that if a situation similar to Justice Antonin Scalia’s death occurred while presidential primaries were underway, that he would hold the seat open, implying that he may very well be the one who makes that decision as chair of the Judiciary Committee. In 2016, Scalia died suddenly and Republicans in Congress refused to consider President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Court, Judge Merrick Garland.
Also appearing at the conference on Wednesday was Sen. Kamala Harris (D – Ca.), who said she would have advised the president to “stop being mean,” reiterating that Trump was “urging a crowd to laugh” at Ford’s expense.
After ripping off a loud, gesticulating defense of the federal judge in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday, Graham was credited with saving President Trump’s nominee, who has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct.
Findings from a FBI investigation into the circumstances of Ford’s particular attack is expected to be delivered to senators this week. The Republican-controlled Senate will likely be able to muster the votes to confirm Kavanaugh.