United States Senator Ben Sasse took to the Senate floor Wednesday night to criticize how the Judge Brett Kavanaugh nomination process has been handled and to assert that sexual assault must be taken far more seriously.
Sasse said cable news and social media have distorted the choice before the Senate.
“I’m here to talk tonight about the false choice that is being repeated hour after hour after hour on television that this confirmation vote about one vacant seat on the Supreme Court, in that vote we are somehow going to be making a giant, binary choice about the much broader issue of whether we do or don’t care about women,” Sasse told colleagues. “That is simply not true. That is not what we are doing this weekend.”
The remarks made from the floor of the United States Senate came as the Senate nears a vote on Kavanaugh, an appellate court judge in the District of Columbia circuit. Kavanaugh’s nomination has been in a state of turmoil since Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of trying to rape her during a party when both were high school students.
Sasse, a member of the Judiciary Committee, noted that he has been very complementary of Judge Kavanaugh, adding he has spent 150 hours reviewing documents as part of the confirmation process.
But, Sasse said Kavanaugh was not his first choice.
“I will say that I urged the president back in June and early July to make a different choice before he announced this nomination,” according to Sasse. “I urged him to nominate a different individual. I urged the president to nominate a woman.”
Part of the reason he suggested a woman, according to Sasse, is because he perceives the Senate is not prepared to handle accusations of sexual assault, adding he didn’t know at the time who the president would choose.
Sasse said once Trump chose Kavanaugh the vote to confirm was cast by opponents not as a vote about an individual, but as a vote about whether senators do or don’t care about women.
Sasse contended the Senate is being presented a false choice by cable news and social media.
“But what you hear, if you turn on cable or if you look at social media is, ‘Pick a side!’” Sasse said, giving special emphasis to the point. “It’s good vs. evil. Everything is immediate. Everything is certain. There is no doubt. There is no gray. There are only tribes of Hatfields and McCoys, Israelis and Palestinians, a world of generational hatred without end.”
The president is not helping matters, according to Sasse.
“We all know that the president cannot lead us through this time,” Sasse stated. “We know that he is dispositionally unable to restrain his impulse to divide us. His mockery of Dr. Ford last (Tue.) night in Mississippi was wrong, but it doesn’t really surprise anyone. It’s who he is.”
On Tuesday, President Trump mocked Ford during a campaign stop in Southaven, Mississippi, impersonating her on stage, especially her lack of recall of when and where the alleged attack took place.
Sasse praised the #MeToo movement, saying it has brought to light a cultural epidemic of sexual assault.
Still, Sasse told colleagues the choice before them has been distorted for political reasons.
“This is not about choosing between believing our daughters and protecting our sons,” according to Sasse. “That choice is false. You know what my constituents back in Nebraska told me this weekend they think this is now about? They think it’s about us. They think it’s about all of us in this town being addicted to the circus. They don’t think very many of us are interested in truth.”
Sasse said Nebraskans tell him politicians are more interested in exploiting the differences and divisions of the American people to gain short-term power in a city that doesn’t deserve much respect.