Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), the lone Democrat to defect and announce that he will vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court despite allegations of sexual assault, was drowned out by protesters in the Senate as he tried to explain his decision to the gathered media.
As Manchin attempted to explain himself to the press after announcing that he would cast his vote to confirm Kavanaugh, protesters chanted, “Look at us!” and “Shame on you!” Manchin answered questions as hastily as he could before being hustled away to a waiting elevator in the spirit of Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Orin Hatch (R-UT).
Protesters furious as Manchin says he will vote yes on Kavanaugh despite finding Ford “credible.”
“Look at us!”
— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) October 5, 2018
Manchin had previously said that, despite the “serious accusations” leveled against Kavanaugh, he found Kavanaugh to be a “qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution,” and that he did not believe Kavanaugh would negatively impact any of the 800,000 West Virginians who had pre-existing conditions.
“My heart goes out to anyone who has experienced any type of sexual assault in their life,” Manchin said in a statement after the initial cloture vote. “However based on all the information I have available to me, including the recently completed FBI I report, I have found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist who will follow the Constitution and determine cases based on the legal findings before him… That is why I voted to confirm Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to serve on the Supreme Court.”
Manchin's "yes" statement: pic.twitter.com/thpjGpJ2YQ
— Alex Leary (@learyreports) October 5, 2018
Manchin is currently facing a re-election challenge in West Virginia from the Republican State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. He currently holds a nine point advantage in the polls but can take little for granted, bearing in mind the state voted for Trump by a margin of almost 70 percent and that the Republican base has been energized by the drawn-out process of confirming Kavanaugh.
The senator has said categorically that he believes Dr. Ford’s heart-wrenching testimony about her alleged sexual assault, but he doesn’t believe that “the facts show it was Brett Kavanaugh.” Manchin had also previously had a tense exchange with one protester, captured by ABC News, where he deflected questions from a protester about how he was able to vote to confirm Kavanaugh.
As multiple commentators have pointed out, however, believing Ford but not believing it was Kavanaugh who assaulted her makes no sense, as the crux of Ford’s testimony involved her remembering precisely that it was Kavanaugh that assaulted her, and that she still recalled his laughter. Not believing that Kavanaugh assaulted Ford is tantamount to not believing Ford at all.