Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued a blistering statement this morning, excoriating members of both political parties for their conduct during the hearings regarding the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court and the weeks prior, especially regarding Thursday’s hearing where both Kavanaugh and Professor Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Rubio’s statement began by expressing sympathy for both victims of sexual harassment, abuse, or assault, as well as those who face accusations of such conduct, and emphasized the need to treat both groups with respect and discretion.
Instead, said Rubio, “Senators and their staff, journalists and partisans have disgraced themselves by ignoring and violating every one of these norms in the matter before us.”
Rubio then listed a series of specific criticisms directed at whoever leaked Ford’s identity and accusations to the media, the Democrat and Republican Senators who made up their minds before hearing the evidence, and journalists who have acted irresponsibly in covering this story:
Instead of seeking to find a way to investigate her claims without revealing her identity, someone in the U.S. Senate leaked Dr. Fords’ identity and accusations to the media, forcing her into the public eye against her express wishes.
Before even hearing from Dr. Ford, some senators had decided she was lying and implied that no matter what emerged from the hearing we would be moving forward on the nomination.
Without a single piece of corroborating evidence, some senators went on national television and stated that they knew for a fact that Judge Kavanaugh was guilty of sexual assault.
Without any independent corroboration, some national journalists printed, reported and spread serious and salacious accusations against Judge Kavanaugh.
Rubio added comments decrying how both sides failed to treat both Ford and Kavanaugh as human beings, and instead sought to use them as weapons in a partisan political fight:
We have lost the capacity to view Dr. Ford as a fellow human being who clearly did not seek the attention she is receiving, and who clearly is dealing with deep pain and anguish. Instead she is treated as yet another actor in a political drama, whose feelings and desire for privacy must take a back seat to her utility as a weapon in a larger political fight.
We have lost the capacity to view Judge Kavanaugh as a son, husband and father, whose parents, wife and young children have had to endure watching him labeled a deviant and even a rapist. Instead he is treated as a dispensable combatant whose right to be treated fairly must take a back seat to the role his nomination plays in a broader partisan and cultural war.
I had hoped that as fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, we would treat both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh the way we would want our own daughters and sons, or husbands and wives, to be treated if they found themselves in a similar predicament. Instead, this has become a modern political equivalent of the Roman circus – where the crowd is entertained by the spectacle of watching human beings destroy one another or get devoured by wild animals.
“The ramifications of the rot we have witnessed will be felt far beyond the question before us now,” wrote Rubio about the consequences for the national spectacle this hearing became, calling it a “dark moment in the Senate’s history”:
How many victims will now choose to remain silent? And who in their right mind would ever offer themselves up for public service if all that is required to have your reputation permanently destroyed is uncorroborated claims which are then spread far and wide?
…This will be recorded as a dark moment in the Senate’s history. I hope that from it we will all try to do better. For if we do not, we will all be condemned by future generations for tearing apart a great nation by abandoning the norms that allowed us to live as a free and diverse people.
Rubio will be voting to confirm Kavanaugh.
He explained his decision by noting that both Ford and Kavanaugh had offered testimony “under a sworn oath…that was unequivocal, compelling and heartbreaking,” and he had analyzed the situation “on the basis of evidence and established facts,” adding that “voting against Judge Kavanaugh would no longer be simply a rejection of his nomination, but an endorsement of the serious allegations against him.”
“I will not vote against the nomination of someone who I am otherwise inclined to support and in the process add credence to charges which have already done permanent damage to his reputation, on the basis of allegations for which there is no independent corroboration and which are at odds with everything else we have heard about his character,” wrote Rubio.
Read Rubio’s full statement here: Rubio Statement on Nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.
Photo by Jamelle Bouie via Flickr.
[Cross-posted at RedState.]