Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer demanded Tuesday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell apologize to Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, following remarks McConnell made that said an "evil smear campaign" was targeting President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee.
"Leader McConnell owes an apology to Dr. Ford for labeling her allegations a 'smear job.' Let me repeat that, Leader McConnell owes an apology to Dr. Ford for labeling her allegations a 'smear job' and he should apologize to her immediately," Schumer, D-New York, said on the Senate floor. "It is galling -- galling for the Republican leader who has done more than maybe anyone else to politicize the Supreme Court nomination process, to make these trumped up, hyperbolic charges."
Christine Blasey Ford
Crime, law enforcement and corrections
Crimes against persons
Government and public administration
Government organizations - US
Political Figures - US
Sex and gender issues
Schumer's remarks come one day after McConnell, R-Kentucky, spoke on the Senate floor to criticize Democrats, who he said "wouldn't let a few inconvenient things -- like a complete lack of evidence, or an accuser's request for confidentiality -- get between them and a good smear."
"Democrats have signaled for months they'd put on whatever performance the far left special interests demanded and throw all the mud, all the mud they could manufacture," McConnell said Monday. "Even by the far left's standards, this evil, evil smear campaign has hit a new low."
When asked by CNN about Schumer's request for an apology, McConnell's spokesman David Popp told CNN, "Apparently Sen. Schumer didn't listen to the leader's speech. The smear he referred to was done by the Democrats."
On Tuesday, McConnell again reiterated his stance that Ford's accusation against Kavanaugh should not stop his confirmation process.
"Look, the American people know that sexual misconduct is gravely serious," the Kentucy Republican said. "They expect this to be treated seriously and addressed promptly. That is precisely -- precisely what Chairman [Chuck] Grassley has done and is doing. ... But the American people also insist that vague, unsubstantiated and uncorroborated allegations of 30-plus-year-old misconduct, where all the supposed witnesses either totally deny it or can't confirm it, is nowhere near grounds to nullify someone's career or destroy their good name."
Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in the 1980s when they were both teenagers. While Kavanaugh has denied Ford's account as "a completely false allegation," the claim has disrupted his confirmation process. Both Ford and Kavanaugh are expected to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
On Sunday, The New Yorker reported on a second accusation against Kavanaugh, this one allegedly from his college years. The accuser, Deborah Ramirez, accused Kavanaugh of inappropriate sexual behavior at a party. Kavanaugh denied the allegation and called it "a smear, plain and simple."