Sen. Jeff Flake no sooner had announced he would be voting to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh than he was cornered by protesters.
Considered a key swing vote on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Arizona Republican was confronted by two women claiming they were sexual assault survivors as he made his way through the US Capitol Friday morning.
“What you are doing is allowing someone who actually violated a woman to sit on the Supreme Court! This is not tolerable!” one woman yelled at the senator as he stood in the elevator. “You have children in your family. Think about them! I have two children. I cannot imagine that for the next 50 years they will have to have someone in the Supreme Court who has been accused of violating a young girl. What are you doing, sir?!”
Flake listened politely, nodding at times and mostly keeping his head down.
“You’re telling all women that they don’t matter, that they should just stay quiet because if they tell you what happened to them you’re going to ignore them,” a second woman shouted, through tears.
“That’s what happened to me, and that’s what you are telling all women in America! That they don’t matter! They should just keep it to themselves because if they have told the truth they’re just going to help that man to power anyway,” she continued.
“That’s what you’re telling all of these women. That’s what you’re telling me right now. Look at me when I’m talking to you,” she demanded. “You’re telling me that my assault doesn’t matter!”
When a reporter standing by asked if Flake cared to respond, the first woman commanded “No, I want to talk to him. Don’t talk to him!”
The women continued to pepper the lawmaker with questions about his vote and whether he believed Kavanaugh was telling the truth in refuting the decades-old allegations of sexual assault made by Christine Blasey Ford. The first woman who spoke actually stood in the elevator entrance, preventing the door from closing and prompting a call for security to intervene.
Flake told reporters he did not want to address the women’s comments amid their disruptive confrontation.
“I need to go to the hearing. I just issued a statement. I’ll be saying more as well,” he said.
Flake’s statement was issued Friday morning ahead of the Committee’s planned vote.
Flake is a yes. From his office: pic.twitter.com/oNMcVzD0xl
— Byron York (@ByronYork) September 28, 2018
The GOP lawmaker slammed Committee Democrats for their twisted version of the presumption of innocence.
“I left the hearing yesterday with as much doubt as certainty,” Flake says.
“What I do know is that our system of justice affords a presumption of innocence to the accused, absent corroborating evidence.”
— Eliza Collins (@elizacollins1) September 28, 2018
The vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination Friday comes after a full day of testimony by the judge and his accuser on Thursday.
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