Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
On Friday, amid the unfolding disaster that is Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual assault accusation by California professor Christine Blasey Ford, one GOP Senate candidate decided to weigh in decisively against the accuser.
According to a report from CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski, Rep. Kevin Cramer, who is challenging Democratic North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, remarked on a conservative talk radio show that Dr. Ford’s allegations are “even more absurd” than Anita Hill’s 1991 allegations against Clarence Thomas — in part, Cramer argued, because she is not even alleging that Kavanaugh actually succeeded in violating her:
“If to the degree there was any legitimacy to Anita Hill’s claims, and she tried and didn’t prevail — Clarence Thomas did and America did — this case is even more absurd because these people were teenagers when this supposed alleged incident took place,” Cramer said on the Jarrod Thomas Show on 1310 KNOX, a local North Dakota radio station. “Teenagers. Not a boss-supervisor-subordinate situation, as the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill situation was claimed to be. These are teenagers who evidently were drunk, according to her own statement. They were drunk. Nothing evidently happened in it all, even by her own accusation. Again, it was supposedly an attempt or something that never went anywhere.”
Every aspect of what Cramer said is appalling. Putting aside the fact that Dr. Ford in fact alleged that only Kavanaugh was “stumbling drunk” and she herself had only had one beer, alcohol does not equal consent.
Additionally, Cramer’s seems to be implying that an incident in which Kavanaugh supposedly backed a girl into a room, pinned her down, groped her, tried to undress her, and covered her mouth to muffle her screams, is not actually that bad because she managed to escape. By his apparent standard, attempted rape is not a criminal act.
Cramer has previously gone to bat for men accused of sexual misconduct. In May, following the resignation from the ballot of North Dakota GOP Secretary of State candidate Willow Gardner following reports he had been convicted in 2006 for peeping into women’s college dorm rooms with his pants unzipped, Cramer went on the very same talk radio show and said that Gardner was a “good man” and that he hoped he would run for office again in the future.
The North Dakota race is widely considered to be one of the closest Senate contests of the election cycle. Roll Call lists Heitkamp as the most endangered Senate incumbent.