Protester who confronted Flake in elevator: He’s 'torn between his conscience and his party'
© Greg Nash

One of the protesters who confronted Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeHow to survive an impeachment Are Senate Republicans certain that Trump can return to office? Jeff Flake calls Trump's language 'authoritarian' MORE (R-Ariz.) in front of an elevator before a vote on Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination wrote in a New York Times opinion piece Thursday that in Flake she saw a "man ... torn between his conscience and his party."

Maria Gallagher, a recent college graduate, wrote in the op-ed that she is disappointed that support for Kavanaugh falls along partisan lines.


"The question of whether to support a Supreme Court nominee who has been accused of sexual assault should not be partisan," she wrote.

But she claimed that Flake's demeanor in the elevator made it clear that his mind was not set on voting "yes."

"If Mr. Flake had been confident in his decision to vote yes on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, he would have looked me in the face, point blank and explained why he was going to do what he believed in," she wrote.

"What his refusal to look at me told me was that even though his actions were going to affect women, he didn’t want to confront them."

Flake had announced his intention to approve Kavanaugh's passage through the Senate Judiciary Committee on the morning on Sept. 28, but after being confronted by Gallagher and another woman, Ana Maria Archila, and speaking with colleagues across the aisle, he made his floor vote conditional on an FBI investigation.

The protesters were seeking to disrupt the vote following Christine Blasey Ford's testimony before the committee. Ford has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party while the two were in high school in the 1980s.

"This is about the treatment of survivors," Gallagher wrote. "It is about telling us that what happens to us matters. That our traumas are not something to be ignored but are to be believed and investigated. Fully investigated."

Gallagher is one of many protesters who have confronted senators over the last week. Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) was confronted at the airport. Sens. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFurious Republicans prepare to rebuke Trump on Syria Republicans wrestle with impeachment strategy Mattis warns 'ISIS will resurge' without U.S. pressure on Syria MORE (R-Ky) and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' MORE (R-Tenn.) experienced similar protests. Several of the confrontations were coordinated by a progressive group, the Center for Popular Democracy, of which Archila, who confronted Flake in the elevator along with Gallagher, is a member.

Flake is expected to vote in favor of confirming Kavanaugh in a full Senate vote over the weekend.