While Christine Blasey Ford Was Testifying, Here's What Republicans Were Saying
Ford spent hours on Thursday detailing her sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee, while conservatives took to Twitter to question her credibility.
Win McNamee/JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
During Thursday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, Christine Blasey Ford delivered her opening statement, recounting her alleged sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh more than 30 years ago, on the verge of tears.
"I am here today not because I want to be," Ford said. "I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school."
Under questioning from outside counsel Rachel Mitchell, Ford was honest about not remembering certain details, a feature of her testimony Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, of Connecticut, said reassured him of her honesty. "Someone composing a story can make it all come together in a seamless way," he said. "But someone who is honest—and I speak from my experience as a prosecutor as well—is also candid about what she or he cannot remember."
And Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University, even described in great, measured detail the psychological and neurological processes she said made her form such strong memories of being assaulted by Kavanaugh—not anyone else—and how those same processes produced the trauma that stayed with her for decades.
Still, many refuse to believe her testimony.
Donald Trump Jr. and Dana Loesch, spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, both took issue with Ford testifying to a fear of flying. On Thursday, Ford said that she'd initially requested that the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee fly to her to hear her testimony, but that she'd later realized it was "unrealistic" and mustered up the courage to get on a plane and appear in DC. Ford added that she does, however, fly on planes for vacations, or to visit family—doing so, she said, is "easier" than getting on a plane to testify before the committee.
"I’m no psychology professor but it does seem weird to me that someone could have a selective fear of flying," Trump Jr. wrote on Twitter. "Can’t do it to testify but for vacation, well it’s not a problem at all."
Loesch said Ford's stated fear of flying hurts her credibility.
"Ford’s lawyers unnecessarily damaged their and their client’s credibility by manufacturing the fear of flying story," she tweeted.
Others found it questionable that Ford—who was preparing to level sexual assault allegations against a nominee to the Supreme Court—took a polygraph test in August and hired lawyers to represent her before sharing her account with the committee.
“Hiring a lawyer and taking a polygraph makes me more suspicious,” South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic. Graham also said he found the gaps in Ford's memory potentially discrediting, pointing out that she couldn't remember exactly how she got the party where the alleged assault occurred, or "how she left."
“She seems like a —something happened to this woman," Graham continued. "The question for me is, I’ve got a man who’s lived a credibly productive life adamantly denying it. And a lot of the details, I don’t know how you fill them in.” Graham, according to Crooked Media Editor-in-Chief Brian Beutler, went on to argue that Democrats are never accused of sexual misconduct, and said that if Kavanaugh's nomination doesn't go through, Republicans will try to dig up accusations against the party's nominee to, as Beutler reported, "even the score."
Charlie Kirk, the founder of right-wing organization Turning Point USA, echoed Graham's suspicions over Ford's polygraph test, which was administered by the FBI.
"Dr. Ford doesn’t know who paid for her polygraph," he tweeted, "a likely expensive procedure at an offsite location, near an airport, done secretly, without knowing who paid for it.
"Who is paying for her lawyers? Who is paying for all of this?" he added. "There is something else going on here."
As of Thursday afternoon, President Donald Trump hadn't yet publicly weighed in on the hearing, though he'd made clear during a Wednesday press conference that he thinks Ford is lying.
"I view it differently than somebody sitting home watching television where they say, 'Oh, Judge Kavanaugh, this or that,'" Trump told reporters. "It's happened to me many times. I have had many false charges. ... So when you say does it affect me in terms of my thinking with respect to Judge Kavanaugh? Absolutely, because I've had it happen many times."
The president may not believe Ford, but reports suggest he's at least somewhat worried other people will. Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman reported Thursday that Trump was "furious" with his White House aides because they didn't have "advance knowledge of how credible Ford would seem."