Sen. Thune on Kavanaugh Chaos: It’s 'Entirely of the Democrats’ Own Making’

By Emily Ward | September 19, 2018 | 11:09am EDT
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) (Photo: Screen capture)

( - Commenting on the stalled confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh because of allegations that he once groped a girl at a party 36 years ago, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said this last-minute revelation and Senate disruption “was entirely of the Democrats’ own making.”

At the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Republican senators, including Thune, appeared before members of the press to discuss the allegations against Kavanaugh, which he has vehemently denied.

“The situation with the Supreme Court is entirely of the Democrats’ own making,” Sen. Thune insisted, arguing that Democrats waited too long to bring the allegations forward.

He listed the numerous ways in which Judge Kavanaugh has already been extensively vetted by both federal and state government officials.

“Remember, we had 32 hours of open testimony on the Supreme Court nomination where members had the opportunity to ask questions in an open setting. There were closed meetings, there have been 1,300 written questions that have been responded to by Judge Kavanaugh, and he met with 65 United States senators over the course of the last two months -- and never a whiff of this letter until just last week. And so this is a process that the Democrats have created,” Sen. Thune said.

Sen. Thune was responding to Democrats’ complaints that the Republicans were not treating California professor Christine Blasey Ford “fairly” and “respectfully.”

At a Democrat briefing, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said Republicans have “disrespected” Ford. “The Republican leadership has completely disrespected this survivor,” Blumenthal said. He even compared the proceedings to Russian politics. “This proceeding is more like something out of Russia than the United States of America,” Blumenthal said.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawii)  said that the confirmation proceedings “totally disadvantage” and even “victimize” Ford.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said she is “hoping that Republicans will treat Dr. Ford fairly” instead of trying to “jam this nomination through.”

The Democrats also called for another FBI background check on Judge Kavanaugh before hearings are allowed to proceed, despite the fact that he has already completed six.

The FBI “has to be allowed to complete their background check,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said.

Other Republican senators at the briefing agreed with Sen. Thune, arguing that the Democrats should not have waited to bring the allegations forward.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-K.Y.) called the Democrats’ decision to sit on such allegations “disturbing.”

“It is still disturbing. I think about the way in which this has developed right at the end. Frankly, members of the judiciary committee had notice of this for quite some time and decided to spring it right at the end. And it’s pretty obvious this is all about delaying the process,” McConnell said.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) pointed out that Republicans have contacted Ford’s lawyers with invitations to work together, but have not received a response.

“So far, Dr. Ford’s lawyers refuse to respond to invitations to participate in a bipartisan process, which is traditional in judicial nominations -- either responding to staff for an interview or even the invitation to come testify on Monday,” Sen. Cornyn said.

He expressed hope that Ford “would take advantage of this opportunity,” whether in an open or closed setting.

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