Politics

Flake Decides to Vote for Kavanaugh and Twitter Erupts

Retiring anti-Trump senator will push SCOTUS nominee through the Senate Judiciary Committee

After a conflicted Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz., pictured above) announced Friday that he’d vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and ensure his passage through the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Twitter exploded with a wide variety of hot takes.

“Jeff Flake is like a poisonous jellyfish that looks harmless because it has no spine yet still manages to sting you,” Dr. Eugene Gu, a former resident physician and liberal social media star, tweeted after the news broke.

Christine Blasey Ford, on September 16, became the first woman to come forward to publicly claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her, 36 years ago during a high school gathering in Maryland. Two other women, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, came forward in the days following Ford’s accusation.

But Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who received Ford’s allegations in July, did nothing publicly with those charges until last week — just days before the committee was scheduled to vote on President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation.

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Ford testified before the committee first Thursday and offered an emotional account widely deemed credible. But Kavanaugh, who has denied all of the sexual assault allegations against him unequivocally, issued a passionate and defiant defense of his good name and character following Ford’s participation in the hearing. Many viewed Kavanaugh’s testimony as credible, too.

With all Democratic senators on the committee planning to reject Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Flake, who is no friend of Trump’s and is retiring from the Senate , found himself to be the key deciding vote on the committee stocked with 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats.

Although Flake initially remained undecided Thursday following Kavanaugh’s testimony, he eventually reached his decision to help pass Kavanaugh through the committee and send his confirmation to the full Senate.

“Yesterday, we heard compelling testimony from Dr. Ford, as well as a persuasive response from Judge Kavanaugh. I wish that I could express the confidence that some of my colleagues have conveyed about what either did or did not happen in the early 1980s, but I left the hearing yesterday with as much doubt as certainty,” Flake said Friday.

“What I do know is that our system of justice affords a presumption of innocence to the accused, absent corroborating evidence. That is what binds us to the rule of law,” he added. “I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.”

Although many Republicans rejoiced over Flake’s decision, many Democrats and liberal activists were incensed. A group of women activists even swarmed around Flake and confronted him as he tried to take an elevator after he announced his decision.

Related: Democrats Acted in ‘Evil Way Unworthy of’ U.S., Gingrich Says

One tearful woman said, “You’re telling all women that they don’t matter, that they should just stay quiet because if they tell you what happened to them you’re going to ignore them. That’s what happened to me, and that’s what you are telling all women in America! That they don’t matter!”

Below are nine of the most notable Twitter reactions to Flake’s decision:

1.) MSNBC host Laurence O’Donnell: “Follow the money: All retiring senators like Jeff Flake have multi-million dollar lobbying offers waiting for them. Republican lobbyists must be welcome in Republican senate offices. Jeff Flake is preserving his welcome as a lobbyist.”

2.) Republican National Committee spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany: “Senator Jeff Flake made the right and just decision in supporting the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh!”

3.) CNN contributor and podcast host Dan Pfeiffer: “Jeff Flake furiously pushing the close door button while be confronted by sexual assault survivors is an image that perfectly encapsulates the Republican Party.”

4.) Conservative pundit Ann Coulter: “Fearing being stuck on the Senate Select Committee on Go F*** Yourself, Sen. Jeff Flake is a YES on Kavanaugh.”

5.) Blue Wave Crowdsource founder and Washington Post op-ed writer Holly Figueroa O’Reilly: “You can take Jeff Flake off the list. He said he’s voting FOR Kavanaugh. For all of his posturing and fiery speeches, he is, once again, without courage.”

6.) Feminist and Medium author Jessica Valenti: “I hope rape survivors confront Jeff Flake in public for the rest of his life.”

7.) Fred Guttenberg, father of a Parkland, Florida, shooting victim: “Jeff Flake did what Jeff Flake always does. He talks big but goes out with a whimper. He is the definition of a wimp.”

8.) New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow: “Jeff Flake is a Flake. Always trying to talk like he is some high moral conscience, but at the end of the day always runs home and falls in line. Dude, miss us with your faux high-minded moralizing. You’re in the same pack of wolves! #KavanaghHearing”

9.) LGBT activist and Human Rights Campaign communications team member Charlotte Clymer: “Make no mistake: Jeff Flake voted to advance a sexual assailant to a floor vote for the Supreme Court in exchange for a supposed advantage in a 2020 presidential bid that he will most assuredly lose. This is not a profile in courage. This is a profile in cynicism.”

(photo credit, article image: Jeff Flake, CC BY-SA 2.0, by )

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