Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska made some controversial statements on the Senate floor on Wednesday. He made impassioned statements about the importance of the #MeToo movement and why he urged Trump to choose a woman for his nominee.
Sasse stated, "While I've said many complimentary things about Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his distinguished record of 12 years of service on the DC circuit court, I will say that I urged the President back in June and early July to make a different choice before he announced this nomination," Sasse said. "I urged him to announce a different individual, I urged the President to nominate a woman."
He continued, “Part of my argument then was that the very important #MeToo movement was also very new and this Senate is not at all well prepared to handle potential allegations of sexual harassment and assault that might have come forward,” Sasse said, adding his warning “was absent of knowing a particular nominee.”
Sasse also spoke about the “widespread legacy of sexual assault” in America, pointing to the wounds and damage that Kavanaugh's hearing has brought to the surface. He shared his own experience with victims of sexual abuse, revealing that he has two “dear friends” who had been victims.
“I’ve wept with the victims of sexual assault, and I believe the advocacy groups’ data that between one-fifth and one-third of American women have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lives,” Sasse said, adding that, though the Me Too movement was “complicated,” it’s been a “good thing.”
Despite his passion about the issue, Sasse was one of the 11 Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee who voted last week to move Kavanaugh’s nomination forward. He also did not say they he would cease to support Kavanaugh's nomination.
Instead, he made a distinction between the case at hand and believing women in general. He said the vote on Kavanaugh should not be a “proxy” for validating women’s claims of sexual assault. He continued, adding that this confirmation vote is “about one vacant seat on the Supreme Court” and not a “giant binary choice about the much broader issue of whether we do or don’t care about women."
He added, “This is not about choosing between believing our daughters and protecting our sons. That choice is false."
In his speech, Sasse also denounced President Trump's treatment of Ford. He called his "mockery" of Dr. Ford, "wrong," but also said he wasn't surprised.
He added, “We all know that the president cannot lead us through this time."
Sasse's comments drew fire from both sides. Some criticized him for not voting no on Kavanaugh if this is how he feels.
Republicans, on the other hand, criticized him for not supporting Kavanaugh strongly enough.
What do you think about Sasse's comments? In other news, Flake and Collins just revealed how they feel about the Kavanaugh accusations after reading the FBI report.