(Door Hugo Kijne Te Hoboken USA)
While the FBI was conducting its limited investigation into Christine Blasey-Ford’s and Deborah Ramirez’s accusations against Brett Kavanaugh the president seemed to be more relaxed than normally, probably because this time he was not directly the problem, but only indirectly because he had nominated the judge. Under severe pressure from his advisors he even succeeded in showing some respect for Dr. Ford’s ‘position.’ In one of his surreal speeches Trump declared that he had fallen in love with Kim Jong-un and Kim with him, and out of the public eye he signed a bill that will keep the government funded until December 7th, when the elections are over and he can safely shut it down if he doesn’t get money for the Wall. But the president’s good mood disappeared when on Wednesday the New York Times published an article that outlined how Trump’s father had evaded taxes all of his life and together with his favorite son committed fraud on numerous occasions. It torpedoed the myth that Trump is a self-made man, but instead showed that he was a millionaire at age 2 and in total received $413 million from his old man, while together with his siblings scheming the IRS out of half a billion dollars. Most hurtful for the president must have been the information that his father had to bail him out of all of his failed business enterprises.
Voters who hoped that Trump would do for the country what he did for himself should now have buyer’s remorse, and the article also details how the president unsuccessfully tried to manipulate his half-senile father’s will to get a larger part of the inheritance, money he needed to cover his losses. In response to the publication the White House stated that it showed that Trump’s father had a great deal of confidence in him, but denied none of the allegations. Off his medication Trump could no longer contain his urge to attack Dr. Ford and shamelessly mocked her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee at one of his mass meetings. Meanwhile it gradually became clear that the White House had micromanaged the FBI investigation to the point where 18 witnesses who could corroborate either Dr. Ford’s or Ms. Ramirez’s allegations were not interviewed, and neither were Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh. Polls showed the controversy energizing the Republican base, and for that reason Mitch McConnell may have considered to let it last somewhat longer, but since every day the risk increased that Kavanaugh might not be confirmed the FBI report was released late Wednesday night only for the senators to see, and McConnell announced that a floor vote on the nomination would take place this week.
In the week since the last hearing the assessment of whether Kavanaugh is qualified for the Supreme Court shifted. Initially it dealt with his alleged attempt to rape Christine Blasey, then it was about obvious lies he told senators, subsequently the focus was on the bad temperament and blatant partisanship he exhibited during the hearing, and finally it became about the strong impression that he doesn’t adhere to basic principles of the American justice system. The judge felt the danger his nomination was in, and in a highly unusual move published and Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal that pretended to be apologetic but in reality was a whiny complaint about the process.
Friday morning the US Senate voted on ‘cloture’ of the Kavanaugh nomination, meaning that a final vote would take place within 30 hours. All eyes were on the undecided senators Collins, Flake, Manchin and Murkowski, of which only Murkowski initially decided to vote against cloture. Opponents of Kavanaugh still had some hope that two of the other three would eventually cast a ‘no’ vote, but the chance that that would happen was slim at best. First Flake announced that he’s a ‘yes’ vote, then Collins followed suit Friday afternoon with a rambling speech that will haunt her the rest of her career, freeing Manchin up to also vote ‘yes.’
True to form as an accused and confessed sexual assaulter, Trump set out to make Kavanaugh’s case an object lesson of the risks boys and men face in life, namely the chance that at any time a false allegation can be leveled against them, destroying their career and livelihood. He urged mothers to defend their husbands and sons in an environment where men are the most threatened species, in an attempt to bring them back into the GOP fold. In the #MeToo era that’s quite a stretch.
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