Republican Senator Jeff Flake decried the attacks on both Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford in an unprecedented address on the Senate floor, according to AZ Central. Apologizing to both Kavanaugh and Ford for “stripping” them of “their humanity” ahead of their testimonies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Flake reminded the American people that they “are not props for us to make our political points.”
“Whatever else they are or have become to us, whatever grotesque caricature we have made of them or ourselves, before we are Democrats or Republicans, before we are even Americans, we are human beings. As President Kennedy said, ‘We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.’
“And so these witnesses who will testify in a very important hearing tomorrow, these unwitting combatants in an undeclared war – these people are not props for us to make our political points, nor are they to be ‘demolished like Anita Hill’ as was said on conservative media the other night. Nor is one them a ‘proven sex criminal’ as has been circulating on the left side of the internet. These are human beings, with families and children – people who love them and people whom they love and live for – and each is suffering through the very ugly process that we have created.”
GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, speaking on the Senate floor, decries the attacks on both Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and accuser Christine Blasey Ford: “We owe you both a sincere apology. An apology is inadequate of course, but it’s a start" pic.twitter.com/Xmvuh3zv9h
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) September 26, 2018
Saying that we had learned nothing from the Anita Hill case 27 years ago, when she accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, her then supervisor at the United States Department of Education, of sexual assault, Flake said that we have fallen prey to the same vices that marked the response to those accusations. Calling some of the attacks on both Kavanaugh and Ford “vile,” he lamented that the “toxic political culture that we have created has infected everything,” while also ruing the response shown by Congress, the media, and the American people, saying we have only “fanned the flames, taken partisan advantage at every turn, and deepened the ugly divisions that exist in our country.”
“When Dr. Ford came forward,” Flake continued, “I felt strongly that her voice needed to be heard, and that is why I informed Chairman Grassley that the Judiciary Committee could not and should not proceed to vote until she had the opportunity to make her voice heard, until such time that her claims were fully aired and carefully considered, her credibility gauged. This is a lifetime appointment. This is said to be a deliberative body. In the interest of due diligence and fairness, it seemed to me to be the only thing to do.”
Flake also admitted that he had also received a death threat to his family for speaking up for Ford, further underlining the volatility of the entire debate. He said that many people in the Senate had already made up their minds about Kavanaugh’s and Ford’s testimonies without having had a chance to hear it. Saying he was not a “clairvoyant” or a “psychic,” he beseeched everyone in the Senate Judiciary Committee to be open when the testimonies are heard on Thursday.
“What I do know is that I don’t believe that Dr. Ford is part of some kind of vast conspiracy from start to finish to smear Judge Kavanaugh, as has been alleged by some on the right.
“And what I do know is that I don’t believe that Judge Kavanaugh is some kind of serial sexual predator, as has been alleged by some on the left…
“I say to all of my colleagues: For this process to be a process, we must have open minds. We must listen. We must do our best, seek the truth, in good faith. That is our only duty.”
Kavanaugh, in addition to Ford, has also been accused of sexual assault by two other women, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, with the latter also appearing to corroborate the timeline of the event mentioned in Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation.