President Trump's counselor Kellyanne Conway said that newly-confirmed Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh should not be seen as "tainted," as many women viewed him as unfairly accused, and “saw in him possibly our husbands, our sons, our cousins, our co-workers, our brothers.”
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Conway, in an interview with ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on “This Week” Sunday, pushed back against the notion that many people may see now-Justice Kavanaugh as tainted due to his being confirmed to the Supreme Court despite allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual assault against him.
“A lot of women, including me, in America looked up and saw a man who was, is a [victim of]… political character assassination,” Conway said. “And, also, we looked up and saw in him possibly our husbands, our sons, our cousins, our co-workers, our brothers.”
Kavanaugh was sworn in as a Supreme Court justice late Saturday after a tense 50-to-48 vote in the Senate that was repeatedly interrupted by protesters shouting in the gallery against senators voting to confirm him.
His nomination had been rocked by sexual misconduct allegations stemming from his time in high school and college. Christine Blasey Ford alleged he sexually assaulted her at a small house party when they were both teens in high school. A former Yale University classmate of Kavanaugh's alleged he exposed himself to her at a college party where there was drinking.
Kavanaugh strongly and categorically denied all accusations of sexual misconduct.
Conway slammed the media for what she called the framing of a general narrative around sexual misconduct in which every woman is a victim.
"Let’s stop pretending that there’s moral authority by some, including many in your industry," the counselor to the president said to Karl. "I didn’t say you, but many in your industry have lost their moral authority to pretend that they were looking for the truth, that they were on some kind of fact-finding mission, when ... they’re not even covering his testimony that he has denied under oath that this has happened and they want every woman to be a victim, every woman to lock arms and ... every man is a perpetrator."
Conway continued, "We can’t live in a country where democracy and the First Amendment and due process and fairness and the presumption of innocence thrive" amid such assumptions.
She also said that no Supreme Court nominee “has been more picked apart” than Kavanaugh, except possibly Justice Clarence Thomas, who was also accused of sexual misconduct during his 1991 confirmation process.
She asserted that Kavanaugh should not be seen by anyone as “tainted” considering his record as a federal judge and the thoroughness of the process to confirm him to the high court.
"He should be seen as somebody who went through seven FBI investigations, including just in this last week, another one that was completed this past July; had answered 1,200 written questions; had produced about a million pages of documents, submitted himself to about 33 or 35 hours of sworn testimony to the Senate," Conway said.
She added, "The Supreme Court, thank God, is a sacrosanct institution that can withstand much, and it will withstand the fact that there were a lot of political machinations" in the confirmation process for Kavanaugh.
Karl also asked Conway if the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade now that Kavanaugh is a justice. He played a video clip of Trump saying during a 2016 presidential election debate that Roe v. Wade's getting overturned "will happen and that will happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court.”
Karl asked, “So did the president keep his promise? He now has two justices on the court. Will Roe v. Wade be overturned? Is that the expectation?”
Conway did not answer directly.
She said both of Trump's appointees to the court, Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, said in their confirmation hearings "that Roe is settled law."
"So that was a broken promise?” Karl pressed on overturning Roe v. Wade.
“No, it’s not a broken promise," Conway said. "He’s appointing people, he’s nominating people, 26 to the U.S. circuit courts and two to the United States Supreme Court who are going to apply the law.”
Conway continued, "Most Americans don’t actually know what Roe provides and does not provide ... People are going to look at state law and [federal circuit court decisions] and they’re now going to look issues like late-term abortion ... They’re certainly going to look at abortion after nonpartisan scientists and doctors [said] a fetus can feel pain."
Sen. Maizie Hirono, D-Hawaii, who appeared on "This Week" after Conway, referred to her comments on abortion rights.
Hirono said she expects that with Kavanaugh now a justice, the Supreme Court is unlikely to directly overturn Roe v. Wade but "will nullify it pretty much" by allowing state restrictions on the right to abortion.
"As Kellyanne said, the states are very busy passing all kinds of laws that would limit a woman’s right to choose," Hirono said. "It’s those things that will go before" the Supreme Court.