Trump lashes out at Kavanaugh protesters before key vote

Trump lashes out at Kavanaugh protesters before key vote

Hundreds of protesters have taken over the atrium of the Senate Hart Office Building on Thursday afternoon as the supplementary FBI probe into Brett Kavanaugh has been delivered and as the Senate is expected to move forward on his confirmation, (Photo ©2018 Doug Christian)
Protesters filled the Senate Hart Office Building's atrium late Thursday afternoon after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said Judge Brett Kavanaugh's appointment to the Supreme Court will be oted on Saturday. (Photo ©2018 Doug Christian)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Friday attacked protesters speaking out against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, singling out those who confronted Senators in elevators.

“The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad,” Trump tweeted. “Don’t fall for it!”

Last Friday, Ana Maria Archila and Marie Gallagher, who identified themselves sexual assault survivors, held an elevator door while they shouted at Flake, who was inside.

Video of the exchange quickly spread online.

In a statement, Archilia pushed back against the president’s tweet.

“No one can pay for someone’s lived experiences,” Archilia said. “The pain, the trauma, and the rage that I expressed when I spoke with Senator Jeff Flake in an elevator were my own, and I held it for more than 30 years to protect the people I love from it.”

Archilia added that Trump is “again, trying to ignore the experiences of people in this country by discrediting individuals who dare to raise our voices and force elected officials to listen to our stories, to look us in the eye, to not turn away.”

On Thursday, activists also confronted Sen. Orrin Hatch as he entered an elevator.

Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual assault and other sexually inappropriate behavior, allegations that he has vehemently denied in statements and in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The FBI conducted an investigation into the allegations after Flake, who is considered to be a potential swing vote on Kavanaugh, pushed for a probe as a condition of moving the nominee out of the Judiciary Committee.

The FBI’s report was provided to senators on Thursday, prompting Republicans to state that it conclusively showed there was no evidence to corroborate the claims against Kavanaugh.

Democrats quickly dismissed it, noting that the agency did not interview either the nominee or Christine Blasey Ford, the California-based professor who publicly testified that Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were both teens.

The Senate is expected to hold a procedural vote Friday morning that will pave the way for a final floor vote on Saturday.

Trump came under fire for mocking Ford during a rally Tuesday night.

He was met with criticism from Flake and Republican Senators Susan Collins (R-Me.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak.), all of whom are undecided on confirming Kavanaugh.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders denied that Trump was attempting to mock Ford and claimed that he was simply trying to highlight gaps in the professor’s account of the alleged incident.

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