Senator Lindsey Graham had some of the harshest words for the explosive hearing regarding Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. The blunt senator from South Carolina said to reporters on Thursday that “this is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics.”
“What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open and hope you win in 2020,” Mr. Graham yelled at his Democratic colleagues. “This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics.”
Senator Graham became the fiercest defender of the president’s choice to replace Anthony M. Kennedy on the Supreme Court in the face of explosive allegations of sexual misconduct.
For almost two hours, Graham and the rest of the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, sat silently during the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford.
But when it came time for Mr. Kavanaugh to testify, Mr. Graham, who is a former Air Force lawyer, could no longer sit still.
With Judge Kavanaugh sitting before him, Mr. Graham assailed the Democrats on the panel. He accused them of merely wanting to accumulate power. And he dared his Republican colleagues to vote against Mr. Kavanaugh’s nomination.
“If you vote no, you’re legitimizing the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics,” Mr. Graham said.
Throughout 2016, Graham supported Republican political tactics to block former President Barack Obama from filling a similar vacancy on the Supreme Court.
Graham spoke directly to Kavanaugh with an announcement to Trump’s nominee: “I intend to vote for you. And I hope everybody who is fair minded will.”
It is not yet known whether the dramatic and emotional performance will help persuade his Republican colleagues to vote for Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination in the face of the allegations by Dr. Blasey and two other women.
Graham’s emotional anger is certain to be noticed by the president, who had pledged the evening before that he would watch the testimony of Mr. Kavanaugh and his accuser.
And for Mr. Trump, who has bragged about never saying he is sorry, one particular phrase said directly to Kavanaugh may be highlighted by Graham: “You’ve got nothing to apologize for.”