WASHINGTON — Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) decried the “rot” now permeating the Senate and “sick and demented” culture in a lengthy statement declaring he would ultimately vote for the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Rubio was never viewed as a potential “no” vote on Kavanaugh, but told PJM after the hearing with Kavanaugh and accuser Christine Blasey Ford on Thursday that he wouldn’t “have anything else to say about it until I see the end of the hearing – the testimony from both sides.”
“Anyone who comes forward claiming to be a victim of sexual harassment, abuse or assault should be taken seriously and have their claims heard. This is especially true when those they accuse are in a position of power or influence,” he began today’s statement. “For both the accuser and the accused, allegations of sexual harassment, abuse and assault can have a devastating impact on their reputation, career and life. Which is why, to the extent possible, an accuser’s wish to not be identified should be accommodated. And why evidence of wrongdoing should be clearly established before someone is branded an abuser.”
In the case of the Kavanaugh accusations, he charged that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle made up their minds before hearing from Ford or Kavanaugh and that “senators and their staff, journalists and partisans have disgraced themselves by ignoring and violating every one of these norms in the matter before us.”
“Watching a nominee for the Supreme Court be grilled by a U.S. Senator about what he wrote in his high school yearbook is something we might expect to see in a satirical comedy, not a real life hearing of the Judiciary Committee,” Rubio continued. “The embarrassing behavior of so many of my Senate colleagues makes it hard to blame reporters, commentators and partisans for treating yesterday’s hearing as if it was a theatrical performance.”
“We have lost the capacity to view Dr. Ford as a fellow human being” and “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,” he added, calling the proceedings “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.”
Rubio declared that the “entire ordeal is indicative of something that goes beyond the nomination before us — it has revealed how our culture has become increasingly sick and demented, unmoored from the values upon which this great nation was founded and which have allowed our society to flourish.”
“Compassion is now viewed as a weakness. Restraint is now viewed as cowardice. Humility is now viewed as shameful. And being deliberate is now viewed as spineless,” he said. “Instead, ruthlessness is viewed as strength. Impulsiveness is viewed as courage. Arrogance is viewed as evidence of greatness. And being reactionary is viewed as decisiveness.”
“The virtues at the core of our Judeo-Christian heritage have become character flaws. And the character flaws the ancient prophets warned against, and Christ challenged us to overcome, have become virtues.”
The senator added that the “ramifications of the rot we have witnessed will be felt far beyond the question before us now.”
“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?” Rubio asked. “Under a sworn oath, Dr. Ford has offered testimony that was unequivocal, compelling and heartbreaking. Under a sworn oath, Judge Kavanaugh offered a denial that was equally unequivocal, compelling and heartbreaking.”
Rubio said he felt 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,” he said, adding that “this will be recorded as a dark moment in the Senate’s history.”
Rubio does not sit on the Judiciary Committee, which is scheduled to take a vote on the Kavanaugh nomination at 1:30 p.m. EST. The Senate is expected to take up the nomination Saturday.