A raw, emotional scene played out on Capitol Hill on Friday morning, minutes after Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, one of a handful of Republicans expected to decide the fate of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, announced he would vote in favor of confirmation.
Two women confronted the Republican lawmaker as he boarded an elevator, telling him they are survivors of rape and sexual assault. Their identities were not immediately available to NPR.
“I recognized in Dr. Ford’s story that she’s telling the truth. What you are doing is allowing someone who actually violated a woman to sit on the Supreme Court,” one protester said.
“I was sexually assaulted and nobody believed me. I didn’t tell anyone, and you’re telling all women that they don’t matter, that they should stay quiet,” another woman said, as Flake stood by silently with a somber look on his face.
The scene was captured by CNN on live television, adding to the drama of a remarkable and emotional week.
Flake repeatedly said, “Thank you,” refusing to answer whether he thinks Kavanaugh told the truth when he gave a fiery defense before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, categorically denying the allegations of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford and other women that have beset his confirmation in the past couple of weeks.
In a statement announcing his intent to support Kavanaugh’s nomination, Flake said he “left the hearing yesterday with as much doubt as certainty,” and he cited “a presumption of innocence to the accused, absent corroborating evidence.”