Bestselling author and Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi blasted Senate judiciary committee chair Chuck Grassley for trying to reach out to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser Christine Blasey Ford on Twitter.
Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her while they were in high school, an allegation Trump’s Supreme Court nominee has vehemently denied. Ford has expressed a willingness to testify before the Senate judiciary committee ahead of Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote, but her lawyers have made certain demands, including “that Kavanaugh testify first, that the committee call additional witnesses that Ford requests, and that only senators be allowed to ask questions,” as reported by the Guardian. She has also demanded that Kavanaugh not be present when she testifies.
The Senate judiciary committee staff are still negotiating the terms for her testimony. But Grassley, who leads the committee, pressed Ford to make up her mind as quickly as possible — on Twitter.
Five times now we hv granted extension for Dr Ford to decide if she wants to proceed w her desire stated one wk ago that she wants to tell senate her story Dr Ford if u changed ur mind say so so we can move on I want to hear ur testimony. Come to us or we to u
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) September 22, 2018
Padma Lakshmi blasted Grassley for “making a mockery” of the entire process, asking the senator why he wouldn’t communicate with Kavanaugh’s accuser directly.
“Why are you tweeting at her? Why aren’t you communicating with her directly? You’re making a mockery of this entire process.”
Padma Lakshmi is among the celebrities who have supported Christine Ford in her allegations against Kavanaugh. Ford has reportedly received death threats since she first came out with the sexual assault story, and while Donald Trump and the GOP initially refrained from attacking her directly for fear of alienating women ahead of the midterms, it all changed on Friday.
Trump used Ford’s name for the first time while attacking her in a sarcastic tweet, saying she should have reported the assault when it happened back in 1983, not when Kavanaugh was to be confirmed to the Supreme Court.
“I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!”
This led to a massive backlash, especially by women who have been assaulted themselves at some point in their lives. #WhyIDidntReport became a trending hashtag on Twitter soon after Trump made his tweet, with several women mentioning their reasons for not reporting instances of sexual assault against them. Padma Lakshmi recounted the three times when she had been assaulted, the first time being when she was 7-years-old.
The second time I was 16 years old and a virgin. He was my boyfriend. "Date rape" wasn't discussed in the 80's. I was horrified and ashamed. #WhyIDidntReport
— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) September 21, 2018
Just as Padma Lakshmi blasted senator Grassley and Donald Trump for their entire approach to the allegations, Ford’s lawyer Debra Katz also slammed the “cavalier treatment” meted out by the judiciary committee in such a serious matter.
“The imposition of aggressive and artificial deadlines regarding the date and conditions of any hearing has created tremendous and unwarranted anxiety and stress on Dr Ford,” Katz wrote.
“Your cavalier treatment of a sexual assault survivor who has been doing her best to cooperate with the committee is completely inappropriate.”