Politics

Media Applaud the Delay in Kavanaugh’s Final Confirmation Vote

After Sen. Jeff Flake cut a deal with Democrats, many anchors and talking heads liked the 'light at the end of the tunnel of a week'

Image Credit: MICHAEL REYNOLDS / AFP / Getty Images

Many mainstream media editors and reporters were jubilant on Friday when Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) cut a deal with Democrats to delay the Senate’s vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, pending a FBI probe of sexual molestation allegations against him.

“At least it seems like there was some semblance today of bipartisanship and Sen. Flake listening to what his Democratic colleagues were saying,” CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin said Friday on “CNN Newsroom.”

“Because this matters. At the end of the day, this is the highest court in the land.”

The retiring Flake, who is one of President Donald Trump’s harshest Republican critics, declared his support for Kavanaugh early Friday — but then succumbed to pressure from Democrats on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary who were demanding the FBI delay.

Flake voted for moving the nomination to the full Senate if GOP leaders agreed to a “limited in scope,” one-week delay for the FBI.

Christine Blasey Ford 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, had also come forward in the days following Ford’s September 16 accusation.

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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 Trump’s Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation.

Ford testified first before the committee on 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.

Yet MSNBC contributor and historian Jon Meacham said on “MSNBC Live” that this new development represented “a light at the end of the tunnel of a week.”

“I think it’s the result that a lot of people and sort of the middle of the country, the middle of the spectrum I should say, are in favor of. Questions have been raised,” Meacham said. “We have the means at least to see if there’s light to be shed.”

Meacham suggested that those who didn’t want to delay the final vote for “raw political power” reasons were not “interested in justice and the ongoing health of the court.”

Although MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle admitted that this was “a brutal week” for Kavanaugh and his family, she lauded the further delay in his confirmation process. She praised Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Flake for bringing “back some decency and civility.”

ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos said on “ABC News Special” that Flake “clearly had been listening intently all through the testimony yesterday.”

“[Flake] spoke again about the institution of the Senate, how this delay with proper investigation, time limited, could also be good for the institution,” Stephanopoulos said. “And Terry [Moran], one of the things I think we’re seeing here is a reaction to the toxic situation that was revealed in that Senate hearing room yesterday.”

Moran, an ABC News correspondent, replied, “Absolutely, George. The emotions, the pain and this cultural moment, this cultural wave that this whole incident had touched off around the country … One person making a difference. [Flake] was clearly in agony.”

NBC News White House correspondent Kelly O’Donnell tweeted, “Today, in this iteration of the Kavanaugh nomination and Ford testimony, Senate institutionalists reasserted themselves for the public good in an effort to build confidence in whatever outcome follows. An effort to show a process can be worthy of the stakes. More TBD.”

CNN Supreme Court analyst Joan Biskupic said on “CNN Newsroom” that this delay “really does help the integrity of the process at this point.”

“Because the message the Democrats were trying to communicate and that you felt a lot of people were buying, no matter what side they were on, is just wait a little bit, take another look,” Biskupic said. “And Jeff Flake said no more than one week. Who will argue with no more than one week?”

But conservative media members warned that a one-week delay may not have been the correct course of action for the Senate to take.

Related: Journos Offer Predictable Reactions to Kavanaugh’s Defiant Testimony

“Yes, Jeff Flake, I’m sure another week of this circus will definitely cool passions when next we take a vote,” Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire, tweeted.

“Assuming the FBI investigation lasts a week and begins, say, Monday, that takes us another week and a half. So now we’re into October. Who wants to bet that Democrats come up with some more allegations the FBI simply MUST investigate next week?” Shapiro said.

Townhall editor and Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich tweeted, “Why exactly do Senate Democrats & Jeff Flake have investigators if they don’t think they can do their jobs? Penalty for lying to a Congressional investigator is same as lying to an FBI agent. Dems have refused to participate in any real investigation of allegations over past week.”

Media Research Center (MRC) Managing Editor Curtis Houck tweeted, “Watching the broadcast and cable networks and, by and large, they couldn’t be any more jubilant.”

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