White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made a point of applauding Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham for his impassioned defense of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and criticism of the Democrats handling of the confirmation process.
When it was his chance to say a few words near the end of the hearing on Thursday, Graham held nothing back, launching into a full-throated condemnation of the Democrats for turning the confirmation process into an "unethical sham" that had created a living "hell" for Kavanaugh and calling on his fellow Republicans to confirm the nominee, or else legitimize "the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics."
Sanders took to Twitter to praise Graham for his strong statement. "[Sen. Lindsey Graham] has more decency and courage than every Democrat member of the committee combined," she wrote. "God bless him."
Graham began by pointing out that the Democratic leadership, in particular Sen. Chuck Schumer, declared within minutes of Kavanaugh's nomination their intentions of doing everything in their power to block his confirmation. Graham then informed Kavanaugh that by the time he met with ranking Senate Judiciary Committee Democrat Dianne Feinstein on August 20, her office had already recommended a lawyer to his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford. They'd had the allegation by that point for over 20 days, said Graham.
Graham then looked over at his Democrat counterparts and said: "If you wanted an FBI investigation, you could have come to us. What you want to do is destroy this guy's life, hold this seat open and hope you win in 2020. You've said that, not me." (full video below)
Turning back to Kavanaugh, Graham said: "You've got nothing to apologize for. When you see Sotomayor and Kagan, tell them that Lindsey said hello because I voted for them."
Pointing his finger back at the Democrats, Graham said: "I would never do to them what you've done to this guy. This is the most unethical sham since I've been in politics. And if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn't have done what you've done to this guy."
"I cannot imagine what you and your family have gone through," he said to Kavanaugh before again turning to the Democrats on his left: "Boy, you all want power. God, I hope you never get it. I hope the American people can see through this sham. That you knew about it and you held it. You had no intention of protecting Dr. Ford. None."
"She's as much of a victim as you are," he said to Kavanaugh. "God, I hate to say it because these have been my friends, but let me tell you when it comes to this, you're looking for a fair process, you came to the town at the wrong time, my friend. This is going to destroy the ability of good people to come forward because of this crap."
The salacious accusations against Kavanaugh in high school, Graham suggested, are simply not believable. "You have interacted with professional women all your life, not one accusation. You're supposed to be Bill Cosby when you're a junior and senior in high school. And all of a sudden you got over it. It's been my understanding that if you drug women and rape them for two years in high school, you probably don't stop. Here's my understanding. If you lived a good life, people would recognize it like the American Bar Association has the gold standard. 'His integrity is absolutely unquestioned. He is very circumspect in his personal conduct, harbors no biases or prejudices. He's entirely ethical. He's a really decent person. He is warm, friendly, unassuming. He's the nicest person.'"
Graham finished by issuing a strong charge to his fellow Republicans: "To my Republican colleagues: If you vote no, you are legitimizing the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics." He turned to the Democrats: "You want this seat? I hope you never get it." Then back to Kavanaugh: "I hope you are on the Supreme Court. That is exactly where you should be and I hope the American people will see through this charade. And I wish you well. And I intend to vote for you and I hope everybody that is fair-minded will."
Transcript via RCP. Video below: