Oliver’s program appeared to have been taped before The New Yorker published a report Sunday night, co-bylined by Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer, detailing a second woman’s allegations against Kavanaugh, when he was in college. According to New Yorker, Yale classmate
Oliver’s commentary focused on Christine Blasey Ford, who alleged that, at a party in high school, Kavanaugh pinned her down, groped her, attempted to pull off her bathing suit and the clothes she wore over it, and put his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream.
“I know that that is graphic. But the details of these terrible allegations are really important. And they cast chilling light on past comments he has made about his time in high school,” Oliver said before playing that tape of Kavanaugh delivering a speech in which he said of his high school, “What happens at Georgetown Prep stays at Georgetown Prep; that has been a good thing for all of us.”
“For the record, the motto ‘What Happens Here Stays Here’ making anything sound awful and creepy by default,” Oliver acknowledged.
Kavanaugh has denied Ford’s allegations, and those of
Oliver detailed the hard push back on Ford’s claims, including a letter vouching for Kavanaugh, signed by 65 women who knew him during high school. Which, Oliver pointed out, doesn’t prove anything “Because there is no person on earth who hasn’t not assaulted 65 women; even people who have assaulted 65 women…have also not assaulted at least as many.”
Meanwhile, Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro, like many others, questioned the timing of Ford’s accusations, suggesting it was a political tactic by Dem Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her “pack of Demon Rats…aka Democrats” only after discovering their “bag of tricks was not working against Kavanaugh.”
Pirro has been pushing that “Demon Rats” gag for some time now; Oliver showed viewers a clip from June in which she gave is a test run, advising, “Jeanine, stop trying to make Demon Rats a ‘thing’.”
But the most disturbing arguments of all may have been made by a bunch of Florida women active in Republican politics, who told CNN that, even if Kavanaugh was lying and the incident in high school did happen, it was too long ago to be relevant.
One of the women told CNN “you can’t judge the character of a man based on what he did at 17.”
Another said, “In the grand scheme of things, my goodness, there was no intercourse. There was maybe a touch. Really, 36 years later, she’s till stuck on that?”
Yet another insisted, “We’re talking about a 17 year-old boy in high school, with testosterone running high. Tell me what boy hasn’t done this in high school.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?!” Oliver asked the woman on the CNN video. “That is a terrible thing for any high school girl to hear, and perhaps even worse for high school boys to hear. She’s acting like an assault is a natural consequence of puberty!”
Despite Kavanaugh’s protestations of innocence, neither he, nor Trump, nor Senate Republicans have called for the FBI to look into Ford’s claims – something Ford has said she would welcome.
Instead, Kavanaugh allies have been spinning alternative theories. Like his pal Ed Whelan, a prominent conservative who, last Thursday, tweeted that Ford has got the wrong guy. In a 26-tweet threat, Whelan claims Ford mistook Kavanaugh for a classmate, who Whelan then named.
Hours before Oliver’s broadcast, the Ethics and Public Policy Center, which boasts Whelan as its president, announced he is taking leave of absence from the organization.
President Trump initially was uncharacteristically restrained about Ford, though a source close to him was quoted saying, “You have no idea” how hard that has been for Trump’s handlers.
“I don’t know about that. I’ve seen a raccoon gnaw through a garbage lid, so I have some idea how hard it is to prevent an animal from indulging in its rankest beastly impulses,” Oliver snarked.
Trump, of course, did not contain himself long, tweeting that, if the attack was a bad as Ford claims, charges would have been immediately filed by her or “her loving parents.”
Not only is the President of the United States casting doubt on someone who says she was sexually assaulted, he also implied her parents don’t love her which, said, taking a line from Trump, “is one of the most shit-headed things I’ve seen from the standpoint of shit-headedness.”
(Earlier in the week, Trump had described Hurricane Florence as “a tough hurricane – one of the wettest we’ve ever seen from the standpoint of water,” of which Oliver observed, “Wow I know it’s high bar, but that statement is one of the dumbest I’ve ever heard fro the standpoint of words.”)
Kavanaugh’s bid to land a spot on the Supreme Court mirrors closely Clarence Thomas’s hearing in the 90’s, in which Anita Hill had her character assassinated. Oliver, who interviewed her back in July, played an excerpt that had not made that July episode, but has become “depressingly relevant.”
In the clip, Oliver asked Hill if she thinks the tone of a Supreme Court nom hearing would be different today. Hill predicted that, these days,”we’re going to be vetting people to see if some of these issues are in their past.”
if there were a hearing today “and we did get to that, I think absolutely the tone would be different,” Hill said.
“I really hope she is right,” Oliver said, “because now Ford is now set to testify Thursday” and already the victim blaming and character assassination are setting up this hearing to be a “sad litmus test for where we are as a society.”