Mixed reactions to Kavanaugh and Ford's differing testimony

Politicians, celebrities and a White House official weigh in.

September 27, 2018, 5:35 PM

Emotions are high both in and out of the Senate hearing room where first Christine Blasey Ford and later Brett Kavanaugh testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about an allegation of sexual assault involving the Supreme Court nominee.

Kavanaugh was fired up while defending himself against the decades-old claims made by Ford, and one of the most animated moments of reaction by one of the members of the questioning committee came from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

"This is not a job interview. This is hell. This is going to destroy the ability of good people to come forward because of this crap!" Graham said.

"To my Republican colleagues, if you vote no, you're legitimizing the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics," he said.

Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Lindsey Graham shouts while questioning Judge Brett Kavanaugh during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, Sept. 27, 2018 in Washington.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Graham's handling of his time was apparently appreciated by the White House, with press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeting her support of Graham.

".@LindseyGrahamSC has more decency and courage than every Democrat member of the committee combined. God bless him," Sanders wrote in a tweet.

A senior White House official close to the confirmation process told ABC News that the reaction from the White House to Kavanaugh's testimony so far is extremely positive.

Another show of support came via White House communications adviser Mercedes Schlapp, who tweeted that Kavanaugh "is a man of highest integrity."

Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, told reporters during a break in Kavanaugh's testimony that he was impressed.

"I think he did a good job defending himself," Cornyn said of Kavanaugh.

Mixed reactions largely along party lines for Ford

During the recess after Ford's testimony and before Kavanaugh's, Graham expressed his outrage at the process and questioned the gaps in Ford's testimony.

Graham called Ford "a nice lady" but noted that she "has come forward to tell a hard story that is uncorroborated."

"All I can say is we are 40-something days away from the election and their goal is to delay this past the midterms so they can win the Senate," Graham said of Democrats. "I believe that now more than ever. I don't know who paid for the polygraph but somebody did. Here is what I am more convinced of — the friends on the other side set it up to be just the way it is. I feel ambushed as the majority."

Donald Trump Jr., the president's eldest son, expressed skepticism over Ford's alleged fear of flying.

"I’m no psychology professor but it does seem weird to me that someone could have a selective fear of flying. Can’t do it to testify but for vacation, well it’s not a problem at all," Trump wrote in a tweet.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., wrote on Twitter that Ford's testimony did not seem like enough to delay Kavanaugh's vote.

"This morning there was still no corroborating evidence or witnesses to any of the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh. That is still the case. And if it remains the case after today, the Senate should vote to #ConfirmKavanaugh without delay," he wrote on Twitter.

Some members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in charge of the hearing spoke during a recess. Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy said there was no reason to rush a vote on Kavanaugh.

"Did [Republicans] learn nothing from the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill matter? Nothing?" Leahy said.

"This thing is being rushed more than I've ever seen before in my years here. Even with Clarence Thomas we stopped long enough to get a FBI report done ... Take a couple weeks. What difference does it make? We're talking about a lifetime appointment," Leahy said.

"If you're not trying to hide anything, why rush?" he added.

Sen. Bob Corker would only tell reporters, "I don't think it makes a lot of sense to make comments until it's over."

A number of other politicians have weighed in over Twitter, including Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who wrote that Ford's testimony "is heartbreaking, credible, and compelling."

Fellow Massachusetts politician, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, tweeted about the process minutes after the hearing began, calling for the vote to be postponed.

"The accusations brought against Judge Kavanaugh are sickening and deserve an independent investigation. There should be no vote in the Senate," Baker wrote on Twitter.

    Several politically active celebrities also took to Twitter, all supporting Ford.

    Alyssa Milano, left, watches during Christine Blasey Ford's testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 27, 2018.
    ABC News

    Actress Alyssa Milano was seen in the hearing room alongside Rep. Carolyn Maloney, and Milano tweeted throughout the morning, urging Republican committee members to question Ford directly.

    Actress Ashley Judd, who, like Milano, has been an outspoken advocate and supporter of the #MeToo movement, tweeted a similar sentiment.

    "I feel very disheartened every time a Republican abdicates their Committe [sic] responsibility and does not engage with #ChristineBlasleyFord She is working so hard and staying so present and these guys come across like cowards to me. They won’t work as hard as CBF is #KavanaghHearings," Judd wrote.

    Comedian and actor Billy Eichner said on Twitter that he believes Ford "is telling the truth. It could not be more clear."

    Similarly, actor Kumail Nanjiani said Ford is an example of what "a true patriot actually looks like."

    ABC News' Justin Fishel contributed to this report.

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