A coalition of conservative women’s groups and Liberty University students rallied on Capitol Hill this morning in support of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh ahead of Christine Blasey Ford’s scheduled testimony during which she said that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in 1982, while he was drunk at a party. Both attended high school at the time.
Although many speakers at the rally acknowledged Blasey Ford’s planned testimony and feigned concern over what Blasey Ford might say, the message was clear: “Confirm Kavanaugh.”
The event was billed as a “grassroots” support rally for Kavanaugh, but the women gathered at the rally were slightly outnumbered by young men in attendance. Three hundred student participants had been bused in from Liberty University, half of which had their accommodations paid for by Concerned Women for America. According to a Facebook event page for the trip, Liberty University students who attended that rally received an “excused absence from class and a free trip to DC.” At one point, the students were asked to raise their hands, revealing that they comprised a majority of the crowd.
The event was emceed by Penny Young Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America. CWA earned recent press recently for its sponsorship of a “Women for Kavanaugh” bus tour, especially in light of recent accusations.
I found the bus pic.twitter.com/x1YAWFajgA
— Jared Holt (@jaredlholt) September 27, 2018
The rally also attracted reporters and Trump supporters. Some in the latter group carried signs that name-dropped billionaire philanthropist George Soros and insinuated that he was behind the allegations facing Kavanaugh. One sign read, “She faked ‘it’ up a la Soros;” another stated, “Brett, yes. Soros, no.”
Peggy Nienaber, vice president of operations at Faith & Action, a ministry that she said preaches to “the elected officials, throughout the Supreme Court, and to anyone on the streets,” opened the rally in prayer.
Nienaber said, “Brett Kavanaugh and his wife announced their strong faith. I want to pray for him, his family, his extended family, his friends. We really want to lift them up in prayer.”
“Pray for the accused!” a rally attendee yelled out after Nienaber closed her prayer.
Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director at the conservative legal organization Judicial Crisis Network, said that what Blasey Ford says she experienced sounded awful, but “as the mother of sons, I want to speak for the fact that men need to have due process as well.” Severino then spoke to Kavanaugh’s character and said “there is no concerning pattern of actual action here.”
“What we’re seeing here, unfortunately, is a pattern of Democrats pushing forward allegations that, as soon as you press on them, start to fall apart,” Severino said. She added, “This is not how our American system ought to work.”
She said that the accusations are being wielded by Democrats for “partisan ends,” which she said is “doing a disservice to all women, that’s doing a disservice to all men, it’s doing a disservice to all Americans.” Severino said that America could either confirm Kavanaugh or “confirm a smear campaign as our way of doing politics.”
CRTV host and conservative commentator Allie Stuckey said that those who oppose Kavanaugh don’t actually believe that Kavanaugh may have sexually abused Blasey Ford and others, but rather they were afraid that Kavanaugh would overturn Roe v. Wade.
“They don’t actually care what happened 35 years ago. They care about what he’s going to do for the next 30 years. Specifically, what they’re scared of—they’re scared that he is going to, for example, overturn Roe v. Wade, which he has never said that he is going to do,” Stuckey said. “He said that he’s going to take every decision and weigh it against the Constitution. But they accuse us, they accuse people like me, of secretly wanting to see Roe v. Wade overturned. And I say that’s absurd. I don’t secretly want Roe v. Wade to be overturned. I openly want to see Roe v. Wade overturned.”
“No later than tomorrow, we need to confirm Kavanaugh,” Stuckey said.
Patrice Onwuke, a senior policy analyst for Independent Women’s Forum, said that “fairness is at risk right now” because Kavanaugh had become “the stand-in for every predator and perpetrator” of sexual violence. Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder and national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, described Kavanaugh as a judge who will interpret laws as they are written and that he is “the kind of judge that we want.”
“We understand that when that happens, every single ruling we may not like, because we may not like the underwritten law. But at least when that happens, we have the ability to go back through the legislative process and make changes to the law,” Martin said. “It’s time for us to end this circus. It’s time to confirm Kavanaugh.”
Chants of “vote, vote, vote,” briefly broke out among those in support.
Later on in the rally, the message shifted course after Kimberly Fletcher, of Mom’s March for America, highlighted a sign that read “When feminists go low, we go high.”
“Feminism has been destroying our country for the last 50 years,” Fletcher said. “We need to stand up and fight it now, for our daughters, sons, for every citizen in this country who wants to remain free.”
Fletcher said that people who oppose Kavanaugh are a “minority,” unlike the women who support Kavanaugh who she insisted are a “silent majority.”
Jessica Anderson, vice president of Heritage Action for America (the political arm of the Heritage Foundation) urged the Senate to hear today’s testimony and move on to confirm “an un-politicized” and “unbiased” judge, “and to vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court swiftly.”
Mallory Quigley, vice president of communications at Susan B. Anthony List, said that Democrats opposed Kavanaugh, in part, because they want to keep the “radical status quo” of elective abortion procedures after five months. She said that both Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh should be heard out today, but that the Senate should move to confirm Kavanaugh “immediately.”