President Trump’s nominee for U.S. representative to the U.N. in Geneva stood his ground on his pro-life stance during a contentious grilling by a Democrat senator.
Nominee Andrew Bremberg was repeatedly confronted by Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, during a hearing Thursday on whether or not rape victims should be allowed to have abortions.
It is outrageous. Just outrageous. Andrew Bremberg—the man who wants to represent this nation at @UNGeneva—told me that a woman who is raped has no right to an abortion.
He has no right to represent us. pic.twitter.com/EhbtJT8GFz
— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) June 20, 2019
Menendez called the nominee’s stand and convictions “just outrageous” in a video clip he posted on Twitter Thursday.
“Should victims of sexual violence be able to terminate the pregnancy where legal?” the New Jersey Democrat asked, as seen in a video posted by the committee’s ranking member.
“Senator, I don’t believe that abortion is a moral solution to any problem,” Bremberg, who was nominated to be the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva, replied.
Menendez brought up a Security Council resolution on ending the use of sexual violence in conflicts, slamming the U.S. for making an “egregious and extraordinary” threat to veto the resolution unless certain language was removed.
“The U.S. recently made an egregious and extraordinary threat to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution on gender-based violence in conflict over a reference to survivors’ access to sexual and reproductive health,” he said, referring to the resolution introduced by Germany and passed in April.
“If in a conflict, a woman gets raped and ultimately as a result of that rape ends up with a child, a pregnancy she did not seek and that was forcibly put on her, you are telling me that it will be your position and the position that you have to say that that woman ultimately cannot have access to a legal abortion?”
“Senator, I am pro-life,” Bremberg responded. “I believe that all human life is sacred and that human life begins at conception.”
“So when you’re raped, a woman has no rights,” Menendez asked, twisting the narrative.
“I find that suggestion horrific to suggest that a rape victim has no rights,” Bremberg fired back.
“Well, I find it horrific that a woman that is raped cannot choose what to do with the consequences of that rape. And that’s exactly what you are suggesting is accepted,” Menendez exclaimed, and then cut off the nominee before he could respond, telling him his time was limited.
Bremberg found a way to get his voice heard when he was asked the next question by Menendez.
“I must say, any suggestion that I do not care for the victims of rape I find horrendous,” Bremberg countered, adding that he had family members who had been raped.
“And I am deeply sorry,” the senator began, sounding completely insincere. “But – ”
“I accept your apology,” the nominee interjected, only to have Menendez shoot him down in a testy tone.
“I am not apologizing,” the lawmaker clarified.
“You should apologize to the women who are raped who you say have to live with rape,” he lectured Bremberg. “It’s pretty outrageous that you, at a U.N. organization, are going to take that position on behalf of the United States. I don’t think that is the view of the United States – even those who share your view about the question of life very often have exceptions for the victims of rape.”
“It’s very difficult to understand how you’re going to promote U.S. views that are broadly held and in that context,” he added in conclusion.
Bremberg, who served as Domestic Policy Council Director from President Trump’s inauguration until late 2018, had previously served as an adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as well as working at the Department of Health and Human Services under former President George W. Bush.
Language in the U.N. resolution Menendez cited was removed after the U.S. threatened to use its veto power, contending that the provision implied support for abortion. A State Department spokesperson explained the U.S. opposition to the original sexual health language at the time.
“The original German resolution would have created a costly new mechanism that would have undermined the independence of the Special Representative of the Secretary General,” the spokesperson said in a statement, according to The Hill. “It also would have subjected the Special Representative to the whims of UN Members States hostile to the office’s mandate, at a substantial cost to nations like the United States, who fought for the office’s independence.”
See the uncut video of questioning by Menendez in the following clip, with the relevant portion at the 5:20 mark:
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