Months of well-funded, coordinated efforts to derail the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh failed to do what the words of one woman may accomplish – force President Donald Trump to withdraw the nomination or erode Republican support in the Senate for Kavanaugh.
At times during her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford sounded more like the 15-year-old teen alleged to have been attacked by Brett Kavanaugh than the accomplished, professional middle-aged woman she is today.
Ford described going to Safeway about six weeks after the alleged assault and running into Mark Judge, Kavanaugh’s friend said by Ford to have been in the room during the assault.
“I said ‘hello’. His face went white. He looked a little sick,” Ford recounted.
Republican efforts to discredit Ford fell flat early in the day as Rachel Mitchell, a career Arizona prosecutor of sex offenders and defender of victims, chosen by Republicans to interrogate Ford, was put in the awkward position of attempting to impeach the alleged victim.
Mitchell pointed out that Ford, who dislikes flying, has traveled by air on vacations.
Mitchell’s efforts to elicit testimony from Ford implicating Democrats in a coordinated anti-Kavanaugh campaign fell flat.
Ford testified she reached out to the Washington Post and her congresswoman in early July, noting she had been advised to contact senators or the New York Times.
“Who advised you to contact senators or the New York Times?” Mitchell inquired.
“People on the beach,” Ford replied, “I was panicking. I knew the timeline was short. People were giving me advice on the beach. People who didn’t understand the process. People were telling me to call the Washington Post, call the New York Times, go to your Congressperson.”
Ford testified she was motivated to come forward by a sense of civic duty.
“I thought it was very important to get the information to you but I didn’t know how to do it while there was still a short list of candidates,” she said.
Mitchell asked Ford why she took a polygraph test.
“I didn’t see any reason not to do it,” Ford responded.
Ford testified she was in Delaware for her grandmother’s funeral and took the polygraph test the same or next day.
Ford’s personal accounts were punctuated by professional observations that sounded more like an expert witness testifying on the effects of sexual assault than a victim – discussing the Fight or Flight Mode, surges of adrenaline, cortisol and epinephrine as being instrumental in her escape from the alleged assault.
The woman’s compelling story, her early academic failures and subsequent embrace of post-traumatic stress as a career seemed to corroborate her account of the alleged event and the long-lasting impact, surfacing in couples counseling in 2012.
“With what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?” Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois asked Ford.
“100 percent,” she replied.
Democrats criticized the process for its lack of prior investigation and praised Ford for her courage.
“How we deal with survivors who come forward right now is unacceptable,” said Senator Cory Booker, a Democrat.
“I have found your testimony powerful and credible and I believe you,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal. “You have given America a teaching moment. You have inspired and you have enlightened America. You have inspired and given courage to women to come forward as they have done to every one of our offices. You have inspired and enlightened me to listen respectfully to women and men who have survived sexual assault. The teachers of America, the people of America, should be really proud of what you’ve done.”