Trump's Criticism of Ford's Testimony Made the Difference
Donald Trump can see over the horizon, and it made all the difference in the Kavanaugh nomination. With the benefit of hindsight, it seems the Kavanaugh nomination turned on two events. First, as I discussed here, Kavanaugh chose to fight. He wasn't going to quietly and gently absorb all of the false, outlandish accusations.
Trump's speech October 2 in Southaven, Mississippi, was the second event that drove Kavanaugh toward confirmation. Trump rehashed Christine Ford's testimony.
How did you get home? I don’t remember. How did you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don't know.
You'd hardly know it at the time how this helped Kavanaugh. Democrats and MSNBC pundits were outraged. NeverTrump Republicans were mortified. Even Republican senators critical to Kavanaugh's confirmation were critical of Trump.
The Washington Examiner's Robert Donachie adopted the language of the Democrats when he wrote — as many did — that Trump "mocked" Ford.
Trump wasn't mocking Ford, he was transcribing her.
It turns out Trump's transcription made the difference. He accomplished in 36 seconds what took Senator Susan Collins nearly an hour to do — shine a 100,000 megawatt spotlight on the failure of Ford to convince us that Brett Kavanaugh did anything to her.
The pearl clutching about Trump's speech among Republicans was misplaced. The Washington Post has a comprehensive examination of how Kavanaugh's confirmation was sealed, and Trump's 36 seconds made all the difference (emphasis added):
Establishment Republicans initially reacted with horror. But Trump’s 36-second off-script jeremiad proved a key turning point toward victory for the polarizing nominee, White House officials and Kavanaugh allies said, turbocharging momentum behind Kavanaugh just as his fate appeared most in doubt.
Tuesday evening in Southhaven, Miss., Trump laid into Ford with the ruthlessness of an attack dog and the pacing of a stand-up comedian. The crowd roared with laughter and applause. Aides privately crowed as footage of the performance was played and replayed many times over, shifting the national discussion from scrutiny of Kavanaugh’s honesty and drinking habits to doubts about Ford’s memory. And in Washington, Republican senators — though they condemned Trump’s mockery of Ford — felt emboldened to aggressively demand Kavanaugh’s confirmation, which became a near-certainty Friday and looks to become official with a vote Saturday.
Some will be slow to absorb this. The Woman is Always Right crowd probably never will. The ones in most need of schooling, however, are the establishment Republicans who are filled with animosity toward Trump and his tactics. Perhaps they should listen to Senator Richard Blumenthal, the hero of Helm's Deep. Again, the Washington Post.