Schumer: Kavanaugh accuser 'won America's hearts'

Schumer: Kavanaugh accuser 'won America's hearts'
© Stefani Reynolds

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE (D-N.Y.) on Thursday said Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to publicly accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, "won America's hearts" with her testimony last week.

"Dr. Ford came forward and won America's hearts. And our Republican colleagues were upset 'cause that might derail their headlong rush to put Judge Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court," Schumer said.

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The Senate Democratic leader also again criticized Republicans' behavior toward Ford, accusing them of demeaning her.

"It's wrong what our Republican friends are doing, what my dear friend the Leader is doing, is demeaning to Dr. Ford," Schumer said Thursday, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse to act on debt ceiling next week White House warns GOP of serious consequences on debt ceiling Lindsey Graham: Police need 'to take a firm line' with Sept. 18 rally attendees MORE (R-Ky.)

Ford claimed Kavanaugh groped her and attempted to take off her clothes without her consent at a party in 1982. Kavanaugh has unequivocally denied the accusation. GOP senators say the allegations remain uncorroborated after viewing the FBI's report regarding its renewed investigation.

Democrats have not mentioned any new evidence contained in the report, but have argued that the investigation was too narrow to be sufficiently thorough.

"If you're talking about partisan histrionics, if you're talking about politics of personal destruction, if you're talking about being intimidated, if you're talking about outrageous smears, you are really accusing Dr. Ford of all those things," Schumer said. "Not anyone else."

Schumer said those actions were demeaning to Ford.

"And demeaning is the last thing that Dr. Ford and others who have gone through what she had gone through need now. Or deserves now," he said.

Schumer has criticized McConnell in the past over his comments regarding Ford. The Senate majority leader in a floor speech had said Democrats were using Ford's allegations to "smear" Kavanaugh. Schumer called for McConnell to apologize.

His most recent comments come not long after President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE mocked Ford's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a Mississippi rally. Trump launched into an imitation of Ford, making fun of her answers to senators' questions regarding her allegations. The president's mockery prompted laughter and applause from the audience.

Republicans have accused Democrats of wielding Ford and her allegation against Kavanaugh as a political weapon. They have also accused Democrats of mishandling Ford's allegation, which Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinF-35 fighter jets may fall behind adversaries, House committee warns Warren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack Democrat rips Justice for not appearing at US gymnastics hearing MORE (D-Calif.) received privately in July, before Ford went public with her allegations in an interview with The Washington Post. 

Feinstein has said she did not bring Ford's allegation to anyone on the committee or to investigators sooner to respect Ford's wish for confidentiality. Republicans have accused her of leaking the letter from Ford to the press, something Feinstein has denied.

Additionally, Republicans have said that Democrats have whipped up threats and intimidation against them. Two potential swing senators, Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsWelcome to ground zero of climate chaos A tale of two chambers: Trump's power holds in House, wanes in Senate Bipartisan blip: Infrastructure deal is last of its kind without systemic change MORE (R-Maine) and Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBiden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Voting rights will be on '22, '24 ballots MORE (R-Ariz.), have both reported receiving threats.

The Senate is set to conduct a procedural vote regarding Kavanaugh's nomination Friday and complete a final vote as soon as Saturday.