A fiery diatribe by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s capped off emotional question and answer Thursday by the Senate Judiciary Committee about a federal judge nominated to the Supreme Court and a former high school acquaintance who has accused him of sexual assault.
In an impassioned defense of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the senior South Carolina senator accused his Democratic colleagues of orchestrating a politically-motivated “charade” designed to tarnish the reputation of a Republican nominee for the Court.
Earlier in the day, Christine Blasey Ford, a California psychology professor who knew Kavanaugh as a teenager, answered hours of questions from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee and a prosecutor hired to stand in for the panel’s all male Republican majority. The questions required Ford to recount the details, sometimes in tears, of the sexual attack she says have lived in her mind since she was 15 years old when the incident took place.
With Ford’s testimony over and Kavanaugh back in the chamber, as the day wound to a close, Graham launched into his Democratic colleagues, especially Sen. Dick Durbin, criticizing him for opposing the federal appeals court judge’s nomination early on and Sen. Diane Feinstein, accusing her of sitting on the allegations when they were presented to her.
Calming down a bit to praise Kavanaugh’s character, Graham turned it back up as he spoke to his fellow Republicans, saying that a vote against the judge would be “legitimizing the most despicable thing I’ve seen in my time in politics.”
Immediately after Graham finished up his speech, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway tweeted a quote from Graham encouraging the nominee’s support.