Minutes after saying he will vote yes at Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Republican Sen. Jeff Flake was confronted on the elevator by two women who said they are sexual assault survivors.
Flake was on his way to the hearing on Friday when he was stopped by protesters, angry that he said he would vote in favour of nominating Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual assault.
“You are telling all women they don’t matter … that they should just stay quiet. That’s what you’re telling all of these women in America, that they don’t matter,” one of the women said through tears.
“Look at me when I’m talking to you, you’re telling me that my assault does not matter and that you are going to let people who do these things into power. That’s what you’re telling me when you vote for him.”
Flake stood quietly and nodded, saying he needed to get to the vote.
Another protester said, “You have power when so many women are powerless.”
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“You have children in your family, think about them. I cannot imagine for the next 40 years they will have someone in the Supreme Court who has been accused of violating a young girl,” one of the women said.
“Thank you, I need to get to the hearing,” Flake responded.
“Saying thank you is not an answer, sir. This is about the future of our country, sir,” one of the women said.
Flake was one of the senators rumoured to be on the fence about Kavanaugh’s nomination.
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But on Friday morning he released a statement before the hearing saying he will “vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.”
“What I do know is that our system of justice affords a presumption of innocence to the accused, absent corroborating evidence. That is what binds us to the rule of law. While some may argue that a different standard should apply regarding the Senate’s advice and consent responsibilities, I believe that the constitution’s provisions of fairness and due process apply here as well,” Flake said in his statement.
The vote comes a day after an emotionally charged testimony from Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford who accused him of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers.