We all knew Donald Trump was going to blow his top at some point about the sexual assault accusations against his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. If there’s one thing a self-professed predator can’t stand, it’s watching one of his own get taken down a notch for behavior he himself has both committed and considers his right of passage. As Trump reminded us repeatedly during a press conference last week, more than a dozen women have accused him of assaulting them. “I’ve been accused. False accusations,” he said. It was almost like a tic. “I’ve had a lot of false charges made against me.”
So it was only a matter of time before Trump took his presidential bazookas and turned them on a woman who had the temerity to threaten the elevation of another man repeatedly accused of sexual assault. Not only did he use a campaign rally to derisively mock Dr. Christine Blasey Ford for not remembering every detail of a traumatic experience 36 years ago that irrevocably altered the course of her life, by week’s end he was calling activist survivors “rude elevator screamers” who were “paid professionals.”
Senate Republicans, in the mold of their soulless leader, decided to get in on Trump’s full-tilt survivor assault by releasing a cringeworthy statement from a man who dated Kavanaugh’s third accuser for a “couple of weeks.” Dennis Ketterer claimed Julie Swetnick’s admission that she enjoyed group sex “derailed” their two-week relationship and he swore under oath that she never mentioned being gang raped or even named Brett Kavanaugh. Not once, during their entire two weeks of bliss! Ketterer also managed to work into his statement that he initially thought she was a “high end call girl.”
In some ways, the Ketterer statement was a footnote on the week that epitomized the GOP’s slash-and-burn approach to all of Kavanaugh’s female accusers. After keeping 90 percent of Kavanaugh’s work product during the George W. Bush administration under wraps while ramming through his nomination, they decided the Ketterer statement was worthy of being posted to the official Senate Judiciary Committee website. Right—so the public shouldn’t have access to more than 90 percent of the paper trail revealing Kavanaugh’s political views and legal disposition, but what the public does need to see is a trash statement from a guy who “dated” Swetnick for the blink of an eye.
Senate Republicans’ approach to undercutting Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh’s other accuser, Deborah Ramirez, was slightly less public but equally as aggressive. Republicans handcuffed the FBI in terms of both the scope of the questioning and the interviewees questioned for their follow up background check into the allegations of the two women. Agents were not permitted to explore Kavanaugh’s underage drinking habits (and therefore whether he lied under oath to the Judiciary panel about them and/or his denials of assaulting Blasey Ford were even credible). They were also forced to ignore more than 40 potential witnesses who could have provided information about the episodes in question. Perhaps most glaringly, they seemingly never got the okay to interview Blasey Ford in order to jog her memory about details she may have overlooked related to the assault. They also didn’t interview Kavanaugh, meaning he never had to face the questions of people who recreate these scenes and judge people’s veracity for a living.
As it became increasingly clear the FBI investigation was nothing short of a rigged effort to produce cover for wavering Republicans, the intensity of protesters swelled in the Capitol. Faced with throngs of women feeling the power of their numbers and the courage of their convictions elicited the inner caveman in the Party of Men.
As protesters approached Senate relic Orrin Hatch, he flicked his hand at them as if swatting away a fly as one woman asked, “Why aren’t you brave enough to talk to us?” Nevertheless, they persisted, prompting Hatch to respond that he’d be happy to talk “when you grow up.” It’s must-watch video.
— #VOTEPROCHOICE (@VoteChoice) October 4, 2018
Meanwhile, Trump was telling White House reporters that, while women in America are thriving (“doing great”), “It’s a very scary time for young men in America.”
More than likely, it’s an even scarier time for many old men in America. After centuries of women disproportionately bearing the burden of sexual assault and abuse, men might actually have to do their fair share. To serial predators like Trump and their buddies also in positions of power, that burden of responsibility is disrupting the power structures they have depended on for millennia. Indeed, that must be scary for the Grand Old Patriarchy.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.