Trump’s Pick For Kavanaugh’s Replacement Faces Scrutiny About Date Rape Comments

The nominee is accused of blaming victims for their sexual assault.

Neomi Rao, President Donald Trump's nominee to be U.S. circuit judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, testifies during a Senate Judiciary confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill on February 5, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Zach Gibson / Getty Images

The nominee is accused of blaming victims for their sexual assault.

On Tuesday, judicial nominee Neomi Rao fended off tough questions from members of both parties of the Senate Judiciary Committee over comments she had made about sexual assault while attending college at Yale. Rao, who is nominated to replace Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, wrote about date rape and sexual assault, placing part of the responsibility on women to avoid being assaulted.

Neomi, who currently serves as Donald Trump’s regulatory czar, defended herself against criticism for her controversial writings which pose that a woman who “drinks to the point where she can no longer choose, well, getting to that point was a part of her choice,” reveals the Hill.

In one essay titled “Shades of Grey,” Rao says that even if a woman drinks to excess, she is responsible for what happens to her, according to the Cut.

“It has always seemed self-evident to me that even if I drank a lot, I would still be responsible for my actions. A man who rapes a drunk girl should be prosecuted. At the same time, a good way to avoid a potential date rape is to stay reasonably sober,” she wrote.

In other columns, the nominee says that “no means no” only exists in an “artificial alternative world.”

When questioned about her opinion, Rao both attempted to distance herself from her writings and re-affirmed that she believed the onus to avoid assault lies with, in part, the victim of the assault.

“I tried to make the commonsense observation that women can take certain steps to make sure they’re not a victim,” she told the committee.

Rao faced questions not only about her college writings but about her recent track record on helping sexual assault victims feel comfortable reporting crimes. As head of Trump’s White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, she supported rolling back protections for victims of assault on school campuses, forcing the burden of proving that a crime took place on the victim.

At the same time, she says that she doesn’t believe anyone should blame the victim of a crime and that she found her college writings “cringeworthy” and said she wasn’t sure why she wrote some of the things she did.

Rao also faced questions about her opinions on race, which she described in her writing as a “hot, money-making issue” and called racism a myth. She also called government support programs like welfare “for the indigent and lazy.”