Attacks on Christine Blasey Ford could backfire on Republicans, says Rebecca Solnit

The Senate judiciary committee is hearing testimony Thursday from U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, one of the women who accuses him of sexual misconduct. Commentators say the proceedings represent a pivotal moment for both the #MeToo movement, and the United States in general.

Emotion in Ford's voice makes it hard to doubt testimony, says feminist writer

Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate judiciary committee hearing on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. She responded with certainty that Kavanaugh was her attacker. (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)
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Christine Blasey Ford's testimony before a Senate judiciary committee should give her detractors pause for thought, according to feminist writer and historian Rebecca Solnit.

"Dr. Ford is an incredible compelling narrator of her experience," said Solnit.

"The emotion in her voice … makes it even harder to doubt and, you know, attack her, although that may not stop all the people on the right wing who've been doing it," she told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

"And I wonder how much this may backfire on the Republicans who decided to do it."

Ford was testifying in Washington D.C., about her allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers. Kavanaugh faces four allegations of sexual misconduct, all of which he denies. At time of writing, Kavanaugh was expected to testify later in the day.

President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh is shown on Capitol Hill on Sept. 5 in Washington. Kavanaugh has denied accusations of sexual misconduct. (Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press)

At the hearing, Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein called for an FBI investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh — a move that Republicans oppose.

David Frum, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, said that "the personality that overhangs this room is President Trump."

Republicans are beholden a president who makes decisions "on the basis of a lot of hostility to women," he said, adding that Kavanaugh may not have even been nominated by a different president, who would have checked his record.

Frum said that "President Trump is exactly the kind of person" who would disregard allegations that Kavanaugh also had a history of heavy alcohol use.

"As he said in his press conference yesterday — feels a kind of identity with Brett Kavanaugh, because he himself has been so plausibly accused of much more serious forms of sexual assault in his life," he explained.

Trump says his opponents are obstructionists who destroyed Brett Kavanaugh's reputation 0:35

Case will leave U.S. 'more divided'

The Kavanaugh accusations put the U.S. is in a moment "that is ultimately going to be unsolvable," according to Conservative commentator Charlie Sykes.

"It is the culture wars on steroids," said Sykes, author of How the Right Lost Its Mind.

"You have two really awful alternatives here: number 1, that Brett Kavanaugh did engage in these kinds of behaviours, and may end up on the Supreme Court — Republicans may jam this through," he told Tremonti.

The U.S. is in a moment "that is ultimately going to be unsolvable" amid the accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, according to Charlie Sykes, author of How the Right Lost Its Mind. 9:22

The other alternative, he posited, is "what if he, in fact, is an innocent man, and the country is caught up in what the president describes as a massive con job?

"Either way … you have this moment of intense emotional engagement over issues that are fundamentally irreconcilable, facts that are unknowable, and whatever the outcome will be, someone is going to be profoundly disillusioned and feeling betrayed and we will be more divided."


Written by Padraig Moran. Produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal, Samira Mohyeddin and Allie Jaynes.

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