For the better part of two months now, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has tried to position herself as a voice of careful consideration on the matter of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
First she insisted she would be extremely diligent in sussing out whether he would be the decisive vote in striking down Roe v. Wade (which Collins likes to pretend she supports). More recently, she made it very clear that she is “aware” of the spate of sexual assault allegations leveled against Kavanaugh.
It was obvious from the get-go that Collins couldn’t care less if Kavanaugh helped strip away women’s reproductive rights, and this week we are learning that the four-term senator has no interest in believing women when they step forward with credible allegations of sexual assault, either.
So far, three women have publicly and independently accused Kavanaugh of sexual predation, physical assault, and general scuzziness towards women. On Monday, excerpts from Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook leaked to the public; these included references to a fourth woman, Renate Schroeder, who attended a women’s school near Georgetown Prep. Two of Kavanaugh’s high school football teammates told the New York Times that references to Renate “were part of the football players’ unsubstantiated boasting about their conquests.”
HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic asked Collins about Kavanaugh’s yearbook, and in addition to her trademark hemming and hawing, she dipped her toes in the latest conspiracy theory currently circulating along the toxic fringes of the far-right.
Here's Susan Collins commenting on Kavanaugh's high school yearbook page: pic.twitter.com/HQuHxdOTmL
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) September 25, 2018
“I was just handed the yearbook page and I don’t know what to make of it,” Collins told HuffPost. “Frankly, at the risk of sounding very naive, I don’t know what many of the references mean, and so I just don’t know what to make of it. There are rumors — there are so many rumors — that there are issues with Christine Ford’s yearbook as well. I don’t know whether that’s accurate or not accurate. I don’t know what to make of someone’s high school yearbook.”
In response to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s original allegation, conservative activists got hold of a yearbook from the Holton-Arms School where she attended high school. The select pages feature several photographs of students, some dressed in insensitive or slightly suggestive outfits.
Largely absent from those pages? Christine Blasey Ford. Only one image of Dr. Blasey appears in the pages being circulated by conspiracy theorists, in which she is dressed up as a mother for a Halloween party, complete with a baby doll. That didn’t stop certain conspiracy theorists from circulating other photographs — particularly one of an unidentified student wearing a modest skirt — to insinuate Blasey Ford was promiscuous during her high school years.
Those false insinuations reached a wider audience thanks largely to the efforts of the U.S. Senate’s newest conspiracy theorist: Susan Collins. By likening irrelevant excerpts of Blasey Ford’s yearbook to the very legitimate concerns raised by Kavanaugh’s, Collins once again went out of her way to excuse the abhorrent, sexist, and possibly felonious behavior of a man she desperately wants to appoint to the Supreme Court.
Of course, Collins is far from the only conservative to stoop this low. Several Republican Senators have insisted — without so much as a shred of evidence — that the allegations against Kavanaugh are the work of Democratic lawmakers or activists hellbent on keeping Trump’s nominee off the bench.