clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Trump’s comment about Roy Moore this week perfectly explains what’s happening with Kavanaugh

Trump said he supported Moore because he was a Republican. 

President Trump Holds News Conference In New York John Moore/Getty Images

In the face of multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Republican leaders remain adamant about moving forward with the confirmation process. President Donald Trump may have explained the party’s rationale best.

During a solo press conference, Trump was asked why he consistently sides with the accused over women accusers, and his answer was simple: He puts his political party first. Specifically, he was asked about Roy Moore, the failed Alabama Republican Senate candidate who received Trump’s support despite a laundry list of issues: Moore was accused of multiple instances of inappropriate sexual behavior with teenage girls — one as young as 14 — when he was in his 30s; he questioned whether Muslims should be allowed to serve in Congress; and he said homosexuality should be illegal.

Here’s what Trump said Wednesday evening:

“I wasn’t happy with Roy Moore, let’s get that straight. But Roy Moore was a ... Republican candidate. And I would have rather had a Republican candidate win.”

As one of Kavanaugh’s accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, it’s no secret that many Republican senators’ votes are already locked down in favor of Kavanaugh. Forty-five have already said they’ll vote for him; just six said they’d wait to hear from Ford to decide. For two weeks, since Ford’s allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school went public, Republicans have called the accusations a Democratic “smear campaign.”

Kavanaugh called it a last-minute “character assassination” and has denied allegations from Ford and two other women, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick.

Republican senators have forgone calling for an independent investigation from the FBI — something Ford and Democrats have demanded, and something even Anita Hill was afforded in 1991 when she accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. The investigation that has been done has been largely conducted exclusively by Republican congressional staff. Democratic staffers have been increasingly frustrated that they were left out of several interviews — including one where Republican aides interviewed a man who claims he was involved in the incident with Ford, not Kavanaugh. Politico reported that Democrats are worried that Republicans are releasing disinformation before the hearing to make all the allegations look less credible.

It’s unclear what exactly Republicans asked witnesses during their investigation, and the credibility of the people they’re talking to. What we do know is that the position of the Republican Party has been that it comes down to Kavanaugh’s word against his accusers’, and there is no reason to believe the women.

As Trump clearly explained: This is about partisanship.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.