Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump
GOP lawmaker mocks Kavanaugh accusation, jokes that Ruth Bader Ginsburg claimed she was groped by Lincoln
Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) on Thursday mocked the sexual misconduct accusations brought against President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.
"Did you hear about this?" Norman, who has represented South Carolina's 5th Congressional District since 2017, said at an election debate, according to The Post and Courier.
"Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out saying she was groped by Abraham Lincoln," he quipped about the 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice.
The newspaper noted that the comment sparked nervous laughter at the venue in which the debate was being held. But South Carolina Democrats quickly blasted the remark as "inappropriate."
Norman's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
"Ralph Norman just proved he may be rich but he doesn't have any class," Democratic Party Chairman Trav Robertson tweeted. "Inappropriate doesn't describe his remarks."
Former South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison also blasted the remark, saying "now sexual assault is a punchline for a stupid joke!"
"Disgusting but coming from Norman... expected!" he added.
Norman's Democratic opponent in this year's midterm election, Archie Parnell, also slammed the comment in a statement to The Post and Courier.
"My opponent apparently thinks sexual assault is a joke. It is not," Parnell said. "But I guess that's the best we can expect from someone who pulled a loaded gun on his own constituents."
Norman sparked controversy earlier this year when he brandished a loaded pistol at a meeting with constituents to make a point about the dangers of firearms, the paper notes.
The newspaper noted that Parnell did not however respond to Norman's comments during the debate.
Ford has accused Kavanaugh of drunkenly pinning her to a bed one summer while they were in high school in the 1980s. Ford alleges that Kavanaugh and groped "her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it." She also alleges that he held his hand over her mouth to prevent her from screaming.
Kavanaugh has fiercely denied the charges.
After many Democratic senators voiced concerns about a confirmation vote proceeding, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) agreed to schedule another hearing for Kavanaugh on Monday. Grassley argued in a letter made public Wednesday that it is the Senate's constitutional responsibility to investigate information related to a nominee and that the role of the FBI is to look into confidential matters only.
Ford has requested the FBI probe her allegations before she agrees to testify before the committee.
Democrats immediately backed Ford's request, which Republicans have blasted as a stalling tactic designed to delay Kavanaugh's confirmation vote beyond the midterm elections - a move that could give Democrats a better chance of blocking Kavanaugh's confirmation.
The FBI has not opened a criminal investigation because the charge does not include a federal crime. The White House has not ordered the FBI to reopen Kavanaugh's background investigation and has vehemently denied Ford's accusations.
Updated: 3:25 p.m.