Sen. Roy Blunt was among Missouri’s Republican delegation in Washington who spoke out after the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Kavanaugh’s razor-thin confirmation vote of 50-to-48 was the narrowest margin in recent American history. The proceedings were marked by extreme partisan rancor as Republicans accused Democrats in the Senate of outing sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh at the last minute.
“What they really continue to do is this unfair, really totally unrealistic behavior of guilty until proven innocent, of whatever we can do to stop our political opponents from being able to do what voters put them in place to do,” said Blunt. “I just don’t think it works. It doesn’t work for them.”
Blunt said a comment by Democratic Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York, who said a probe into Kavanaugh’s actions is possible, will work against the party in the upcoming election. Nadler, who would be in line to be the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Friday that an investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct and perjury against Kavanaugh would take place if Democrats win control of the House in November.
Shortly before Kavanaugh’s scheduled confirmation, allegations from Christine Blasey Ford that he had tried to rape her at a house party in 1982 when they were both in high school were made public. Two other accusations followed. Deborah Ramirez alleged that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her when they were in college, and Julie Swetnick alleged she was gang-raped at a party Kavanaugh attended.
During his appearance on the conservative-leaning cable news channel, Blunt said Democratic efforts to obstruct Kavanaugh’s confirmation is galvanizing GOP base voters as the election approaches.
“Frankly, what they’ve managed to do is energize the Republican base in a way that usually the party that just won a presidential election, isn’t energized in the next election cycle,” Blunt said.
An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll from last week found that as the confirmation battle over Kavanaugh played out, Republicans became more energized, narrowing a 10-point enthusiasm gap held by Democrats in July to just 2 points in October – 82%-to-80%.
The native of southwest Missouri’s Niangua told Sunday Morning Futures host Maria Bartiromo that the Republican-led Congress has largely succeeded in passing important legislation despite Democratic efforts to hinder progress.
“We actually, oddly, have gotten a lot done in this Congress,” said Blunt. “The appropriations bills at the right time, the FAA extension we just did, the opioid bill, the increase in healthcare funding. We are getting a lot done but nobody is able to see that because of so much noise and so much coverage of that noise.”
He also said Democrats have stubbornly refused to let Republicans, who occupy both houses of Congress and the presidency, fairly govern the country.
“This is an election where the side that lost has not been willing to accept the transfer of power, to be the reliable questioner of what’s going on, but not to challenge the constitutional opportunities that are there,” said Blunt. “You know, just trying to get undersecretaries of this and that and the other confirmed in today’s Senate has been almost impossible and the Supreme Court fight we just went through shows how far, I think, the other side is prepared to take this.”
Missouri’s Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill offered no comment after Kavanaugh’s confirmation. She said she would vote against him several weeks ago, not because of the sexual misconduct charges, but because of his judicial votes to allow large dark money donations to influence politics.
McCaskill was hammered by state and national Republicans for her no vote repeatedly following Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), the fundraising arm of the Senate GOP, said McCaskill would lose her election because her vote was out of step with the state’s electorate.
“Claire McCaskill has proven time and again that Missourians can’t count on her to defend their values, and today’s vote against Judge Brett Kavanaugh is just the latest example,” said NRSC Spokesman Bob Salera. “McCaskill’s decision reeks of partisanship, and Missourians will see right through her weak excuses and vote her out of office next month.”
The state Republican Party accused McCaskill of being subservient to Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.
“Throughout this ordeal, Claire McCaskill refused to denounce her colleagues and stayed silent to her constituents,” said Todd Graves, Chairman of the Missouri Republican Party. “Claire’s ‘NO’ vote on Brett Kavanaugh was fueled solely by her allegiance to Chuck Schumer and marks the eleventh time she’s voted against one of President Trump’s nominees.”
Republican Josh Hawley, McCaskill’s major party opponent in next month’s election, said her vote went against the wishes of the state’s residents.
“Senator McCaskill’s refusal to back Judge Kavanaugh is a betrayal of the people of Missouri,” said Hawley, who also slammed Democrats and McCaskill for “poisoning” the confirmation of Kavanaugh. “Her support for the disgraceful smear campaign carried out by her party indicates just how far she is willing to go to seize power, and how eager she is to overturn the 2016 election. Now her party is pledging to impeach Justice Kavanaugh. This radical obstruction and resistance will never stop—until we defeat Senator McCaskill at the polls. With the Senate in the balance, her defeat is now the urgent need of the hour for those who want to save this country.”
Missouri Republican Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer praised his Senate GOP counterparts for successfully finishing the confirmation of Kavanaugh.
“I’m proud of my Senate colleagues for adhering to the American ideals of fairness and due process throughout this nomination. Congratulations to Justice Brett Kavanaugh on his confirmation to United States Supreme Court,” said Luetkemeyer. “Based on his exemplary background and qualifications, Justice Kavanaugh will uphold our conservative American values for years to come.”
Republican Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler acknowledged the sexual misconduct charges were serious but noted Kavanaugh had been exonerated. She chastised Senate Democrats for corroding the confirmation proceedings.
“What should have been a professional, non-partisan approach to investigating serious claims was turned into an embarrassing display of partisan vitriol by Senators determined to oppose any nominee of President Trump,” said Hartzler. “Judge Kavanaugh has been a highly distinguished judge for decades, and his record has been thoroughly vetted and reviewed.”
Kansas City-based Democratic Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, like McCaskill, was silent after Saturday’s Senate vote. St. Louis based Democratic Congressman William Lacy Clay retweeted a post featuring video of Democratic Senator Mazie Keiko Hirono of Hawaii, who said Kavanaugh was overly political during his confirmation and isn’t fit to be a Supreme Court Justice.
“He’s going to be on the Supreme Court with a huge taint and a big asterisk after his name. The partisanship that he showed was astounding.”
Hirono made her comments while appearing on ABC’s “This Week”.
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