Rep. Kevin Cramer, the Republican nominee for Senate in North Dakota, questioned whether the allegation of sexual assault against Judge Brett Kavanaugh would be disqualifying for his Supreme Court nomination even if it were true.
In an interview with a local TV station, Cramer said if Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her three decades ago were true, it would be “unfortunate” and “terrible,” but should be weighed against his life and judicial record since that time.
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“Even if it’s all true, does it disqualify him? It certainly means that he did something really bad 36 years ago, but does it disqualify him from the Supreme Court?” Cramer asked.
Kavanaugh has firmly denied the allegation, and he and Ford are set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Cramer, meanwhile, is a key player in Republicans’ drive to maintain their Senate majority this fall. He is running against Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) in one of the GOP’s top opportunities to flip a state in the general election. President Donald Trump won North Dakota by 36 points in 2016.
The local TV host, Chris Berg, asked Cramer whether it would be disqualifying if Kavanaugh was found to have lied about the incident.
“I think that disqualifies him,” Cramer said. “If it’s found that he knew, that he recalls it, he knew it happened and lies about it, then I think that would disqualify him. Because that’s something that he’s doing today, not 36 years ago.”
Cramer’s comments were first reported by The Washington Post. In the TV interview, Cramer also cast doubt on the account of Deborah Ramirez, who told the New Yorker Kavanaugh exposed himself to her while in college. Cramer dismissed that second allegation as “far more suspicious than the first one.”
“The timing of all of it raises suspicion about the validation of any of it,” he said.
It’s the second time in recent days Cramer made headlines for his comments about the allegations against Kavanaugh. In a radio interview last week, he called Ford’s allegation “even more absurd” than Anita Hill’s allegations against Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991 because they were “teenagers when this supposed, alleged incident took place.”
“These are teenagers who evidently were drunk, according to her own statement. They were drunk. Nothing evidently happened in it all, even by her own accusation,” Cramer said in the radio interview. “Again it was supposedly an attempt or something that never went anywhere.”
Cramer defended those comments in the TV interview.
“My point was there was no type of intercourse or anything like that. That was my point that nothing happened in terms of a sexual event, beyond, obviously, the attack,” he said. Cramer added: “We don’t know that even what she described happened.”
A spokeswoman for Heitkamp condemned the new comments.
“Once again, Congressman Cramer displays a stunning lack of empathy for victims and the trauma they experience,” said Julia Krieger, Heitkamp’s spokeswoman. “While Heidi is committed to listening to the testimony of both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh, Congressman Cramer has already prejudged.”