In emotional speech, Ben Sasse says he told Trump to nominate a woman to Supreme Court

October 5, 2018

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., delivered an emotional floor speech Wednesday night rejecting suggestions that the vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is about whether lawmakers care about women.

“A Supreme Court confirmation vote isn’t a grand choice about whether we love our daughters or whether we trust our sons,” Sasse said. “That is not the choice before us. This is a consent decision about one person for one seat.”

Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that Brett Kavanaugh drunkenly attacked her at a party when they were both teenagers. Kavanaugh testified as well, denying Ford’s allegations and claims by two other women of additional misconduct.

Sasse, a member of the Judiciary Committee, revealed that before the nominee had been announced he urged President Donald Trump to nominate a woman to the seat.

Part of his argument at the time, Sasse said, was that the Senate is poorly prepared to handle potential allegations of sexual harassment and assault that might come forward.

Sasse choked up at times during the speech that lasted a little less than 20 minutes. He decried the circus surrounding the process, cable news and die-hard partisans seeking to use the nomination for cynical political aims.

He also had harsh words for Trump, particularly the president’s mocking of Ford during a Tuesday night political rally and his previous statements questioning why Ford did not report the incident at the time.

“We all know that the president cannot lead us through this time,” Sasse said. “We know he is dispositionally unable to restrain his impulse to divide us.”

Sasse said his comments were not about the specific vote on Kavanaugh, expected this weekend, and did not indicate that he’s backing off his support of the nomination.

Rather, Sasse repeatedly criticized the ongoing debate as presenting false choices, false choices he said Nebraskans see through.

Sasse said that most Americans saw two hurting families in last week’s hearing, including his wife who called him sobbing after listening to the opening statements.

Sasse said that he has wept with the victims of sexual assault and that he believes data about the prevalence of sexual assault.

“I’ve had two dear, dear friends who’ve been raped, and it is an act from the pit of hell,” Sasse said.

Update hourly