Advertisement

Brett Kavanaugh’s angry opening remarks draw widespread criticism online

"If you couldn't imagine an angry, drunk Kavanaugh before, you can now."

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27:   U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. Christine Blasey Ford,  a professor at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland.  (Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. (Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s defiant, and at times angry, tone during his opening remarks before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday drew widespread criticism online.

The nominee — who was testifying over his alleged assault of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford when the two were in high school — began his testimony by abandoning his prepared remarks in order to attack the hearing, which he called a “disgrace,” and accusing Democrats of “grotesque and coordinated character assassination.”

“This first allegation was held in secret for weeks by a Democratic member of this committee and by staff,” Kavanaugh said, with anger apparent in his voice. “It would be needed only if you couldn’t take me out on the merits. When it was needed, this allegation was unleashed and publicly deployed over Dr. Ford’s wishes.”

The tone of Kavanaugh’s opening remarks was especially jarring when placed alongside the soft-spoken and measured testimony Ford offered just an hour earlier, and it drew stunned comments online.

Supreme Court justices have traditionally maintained a studied distance from partisan politics, and many observers were especially alarmed when Kavanaugh appeared to lash out at Democrats for what he called “pent-up anger about President [Donald] Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons, and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups.”

Advertisement

“This is a circus,” Kavanaugh said at one point, his voice rising to a pitch. “The consequences will extend long past my nomination. The consequences will be with us for decades. This grotesque and coordinated character assassination will dissuade confident and good people of all political persuasions from serving our country and as we all know in the political system of the United States in the early 2000s, what goes around comes around.”

That last line struck many as a veiled thread of political retaliation and caused some to question whether Kavanaugh will be able to maintain his independence if confirmed.

Still, some conservative commentators praised Kavanaugh’s aggressive tone, which they saw as an impassioned response to accusations they do not believe:

https://twitter.com/AnnCoulter/status/1045401578239397888