Avowed Never-Trumper commentator Bill Kristol (above left) and liberal activist Symone Sanders (above right) sparred in a tense exchange regarding whether to believe a woman’s 11th-hour sexual assault accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh — or to believe the judge’s denials.
The exchange occurred on Monday evening on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”
“But I just think we need to have the testimony from both of them, and then see what other contemporaneous evidence or observers or witnesses there are on either side and make a sober judgment,” said Kristol, founder and editor-at-large of The Weekly Standard.
“It doesn’t do any good at this point to speculate. It’s not fair to either person at this point to impugn either,” Kristol added. “Let’s do our best to find out the truth.”
That’s when Symone Sanders, a former national press secretary for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) presidential campaign, exploded.
“I want to be clear that for me there is no debate. I believe professor [Christine Blasey] Ford,” Sanders said before claiming that Kavanaugh “has lied multiple times under oath” before.
Kristol replied, “Oh, come on, that’s ridiculous! That’s ridiculous if you think there’s no chance — you are convinced by one allegation about something that happened 35 years ago.”
Sanders insisted that she is “convinced” Ford is telling the truth because when she herself was “intoxicated” in college, “a man — who I had previously rebuffed his advances multiple times — took advantage of the fact that I could not consent one night.”
“And the next day, he denied raping me. But that’s exactly what he did,” Sanders said.
“And if he ever came — came up for a Supreme Court nomination, president of the United States, or a congressman or whatever, I don’t care, it’s been 20 years, 50 years, I would come forward,” she added. “Because I don’t think anyone that has ever done that, whether it was once in their life or 50 times, deserves to sit at the highest seat in power.”
Although Kristol said that he “totally” agreed with the latter part of Sanders’ comment, he insisted she still has “no knowledge” Kavanaugh ever sexually assaulted Ford.
Although President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh in July, it wasn’t until Sunday that a woman publicly came forward via an article published in The Washington Post, claiming that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her 36 years ago at a party in Maryland, when they were teens in high school.
Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University in northern California, stunned the nation and derailed the traditional Senate confirmation process when she came forward publicly after her previously anonymous allegations were leaked last week.
Ford detailed her accusations to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) through her congresswoman, Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), in July. The senator fielded intense backlash for her decision not to air Ford’s anonymous allegations until so late in the confirmation process.
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary originally was scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination Thursday before sending the vote to the full Senate. But now Kavanaugh and Ford have the chance to testify publicly on September 24.
“I believe Christine Ford because to come forward, she has no — there’s no enticements for her to come forward and to have her life destroyed, to have folks sit on panels such as these and others and have the Senate, the leader in the Senate, basically tear down her character and assert that she’s a liar,” Sanders insisted.
“So there’s no incentive for her to come forward except to tell the truth,” Sanders added.
But Kristol remained firm, saying, “Even the speculation — it’s just wrong.”
“I am not in any way questioning her motives or at this point saying that I know who’s telling the truth. But this is — we really need to have the hearing, really need to investigate this,” Kristol warned.
“I’m not criticizing her for speaking up. I just think we need to suspend judgment until we learn more.”