Senator Lindsey Graham concedes that he isn’t pleased when he sees President Trump mocking Christine Blasey Ford’s recollection of a sexual assault that she alleges Brett Kavanaugh committed against her. But the way he sees it, it’s not like the commander in chief is out there resorting to violence or intimidation towards her, either.
Graham stated as much during his appearance in Washington, D.C. for The Atlantic Festival on Wednesday, October 3. Before drawing boos with his assertion that Kavanaugh was mistreated during last week’s hearing over Ford’s testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Graham raised eyebrows by suggesting that President Trump’s approach to the scandal could be worse — considering that there are those who have allegedly gone so far as to use criminal means to silence accusers in the past.
“President Trump went through a factual rendition that I didn’t particularly like, and I would tell him knock it off — you’re not helping. But, it can be worse. You can actually kill somebody’s cat and puncture their tires to get them to shut up,” Graham said to the bewilderment of editor in chief of The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg.
The exchange prompted Goldberg to halt Graham in his tracks in an effort to gain clarity into what it was that the South Carolina senator meant to infer by the remark. In response, Graham invoked the names of Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey in an attempt to contrast the reaction that Trump has had to Ford’s allegations, to the reaction of prominent Democrats in the 1990s when confronted with accusers alleging that they were raped by former President Bill Clinton.
“The point is that we’ve come a long way. We’ve come a long way since 1998,” Graham said.
Throughout the discussion, Graham would engage several topics that have kept his name in the headlines over the past year — including his criticisms on Trump’s handling of diplomacy with North Korea, and his objection to the President’s treatment of the late Sen. John McCain. But he’d prove adamant in defending Trump whenever the Supreme Court Confirmation hearings were raised. And the passion with which he lashed out during last week’s hearing carried over, inasmuch as it concerned his position on Kavanaugh.
As was the case during his Senate Judiciary Committee address, Graham deplored what he characterizes to be “despicable tactics” used while examining Kavanaugh, and vowed that he will not be “rewarding” the opposition by disqualifying the judge. It is a stance that he insisted Republicans are as unified on as ever. He reminded The Atlantic Festival attendees that he was fair-minded about the process when it was his turn to consider Democratic nominees.
“When it’s their turn, I’ve honored their picks,” Graham said, citing his support of Obama nominees Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor — when the shoe was on the other foot.