A crowd of approximately 300 people made a final plea against Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation yesterday by crowding into the U.S. Capitol. In response to these actions, President Donald Trump tweeted a long, seemingly angry message dismissing these protesters as “paid professionals.” This happened within 90 minutes of GOP Senator Chuck Grassley making the same claim live on Fox Business News early this morning.
Protesters initially flocked to the Senate confirmation hearing for potential future Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh after repeated claims of sexual assault and misconduct became public.
Protesters also descended upon Kavanaugh’s hearing regarding Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s specific claims. During that particular session, women confronted Republican Senator Jeff Flake on an elevator. AZ Central reported that one of them said, “Look at me when I’m talking to you. You’re telling me that my sexual assault doesn’t matter. That what happened to me doesn’t matter.” Shortly after this encounter, Flake requested an FBI investigation into Ford’s claims.
Now that the short-lived investigation, which is believed to have been very limited in scope, has ended, protesters are once again rallying against Kavanaugh. Per The Guardian, many of the protesters who got inside the U.S. Capitol were arrested, including celebrities Amy Schumer and Emily Ratajkowski.
During this morning’s Fox Business Channel interview with Grassley, the senator was asked about George Soros and rumors that the billionaire philanthropist paid people to protest in elevators. Grassley responded, “I have heard so many people believe that. I tend to believe it.” This appeared to act as the catalyst for Trump’s tweet.
Maria Bartiromo asked Chuck Grassley this morning if he thinks George Soros is paying the elevator protesters. "I have heard so many people believe that. I tend to believe it," Grassley said. Trump tweeted the accusation about 80 minutes later pic.twitter.com/az8QtMZwma
— Dave Brown (@dave_brown24) October 5, 2018
Trump doubled-down on Grassley’s claims by writing that “The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad.” He further accused them of using “professionally made identical signs” as opposed to those “made in the basement with love.” Due to this, he drew the conclusion that “Soros and others” had paid for the signs, along with the protesters holding them.
The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2018
George Soros has been a popular target of radical conservatives for years. So far, none of their claims have been verified by any reputable sources, but conspiracy theories about Soros continue to gain traction. According to Al Jazeera, these easily debunked theories are spread quickly via social media by paid trolls and bots, which helps make them look legitimate to some internet users.
Regardless of the claims by Trump and Grassley, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center reports that 20 percent of women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime. Of these, 80 percent will know their attacker and only 37 percent of victims will report their assault. False accusations are also very rare; studies show that only 2.1 percent of rape allegations are fraudulent.
Despite the protests and controversy, Kavanaugh appears poised to be confirmed to a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court. Senators Susan Collins and Joe Manchin have pledged their support for Kavanaugh, thereby giving him an easy road to confirmation. Collins is facing a lot of flack on Twitter for her apparent decision, especially in light of numerous sexual assault victims coming forward specifically to urge her to vote no. Unless something unexpected happens, Kavanaugh will be confirmed during tomorrow’s final vote.
Susan Collins says she will vote to confirm Kavanaugh, partially because the man who lied repeatedly in his confirmation hearings told her he considered Roe “settled law.” Senator Collins, there is still time to change your mind and do the right thing.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 5, 2018