Hirono to men: ‘Shut up and step up’

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Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) called on “the men of this country” to “shut up and step up for once” on Tuesday following allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. 

Hirono said at a press conference with Senate Democrats it “makes a difference” that there are women on the Senate Judiciary Committee, meaning Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, would not face an all-male panel during a public hearing.

But she added that she expects “the men in this country and the men in this committee” to “step up.” 

“Guess who’s perpetuating all these kinds of actions?” Hirono said, referencing the alleged assault. “It’s the men in this country. And I just want to say to the men in this country, just shut up and step up.”

“Do the right thing,” she said, pausing before adding, “for a change.”

“You can see I’m a little bit upset by this, the unfairness of it,” Hirono, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is presiding over Kavanaugh’s hearings, said.

Hirono at the press conference said Ford is not obligated to appear before the committee in a public hearing on Monday, as she has been invited to do. Ford and her lawyers by Tuesday afternoon had not responded to the committee’s requests for an interview.

“I think we all know when something is unfair, when something smells, and we all know this,” Hirono said. “This is so patently unfair to her and what really bothers me and gets me so angry is that the White House is victimizing this person.”

“Why should we participate in a victimization of a person who has the courage to come forward?” Hirono asked. “And she is under absolutely no obligation to participate in a smearing of her and her family.”  

Ford has reportedly faced an ongoing stream of threats since she went public with her accusations on Sunday. A friend of hers told local outlet The Mercury News that she had to temporarily move her children away from home.

The White House and Kavanaugh have repeatedly denied Ford’s accusations.

Ford accused Kavanaugh of pinning her to a bed and attempting to take her clothes off at a high school party in the 1980s, an incident that she says has caused her decades of emotional trauma.

She said Kavanaugh put his hand over her mouth to prevent her from screaming as he groped her over her clothes, an account that she has substantiated with notes from her therapy sessions in 2012. 

The White House is reportedly planning to tout various women’s endorsements of Kavanaugh’s character in order to undermine Ford’s allegations. 

Hirono during Kavanaugh’s hearings this month asked if he had ever sexually assaulted a woman when he was of legal age. He replied no. 

Kavanaugh was 17 at the time of the alleged assault.

“Seventeen is not exactly a baby, either,” Hirono told Politico Magazine on Tuesday. “These are serious allegations. She has a very credible story. I believe her.”

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