It’s still early, but top Republicans are wincing at how the blockbuster hearing with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and judge Brett Kavanaugh is going.
“There’s no question that this morning’s testimony was bad for Kavanaugh and Republicans,” said one former Senate leadership aide, who fretted that Republicans aren’t handling a tough situation well.
The all-male membership of the committee has mostly ceded its questioning to prosecutor Rachel Mitchell. That staffer said that wasn’t working, saying Republicans “may have overcorrected” in worrying about pushing harder on Ford.
“They were worried about the visuals of male senators interviewing Ford but they’ve ceded all the political ground to the Democrats. Mitchell’s questioning at least this far hasn’t done anything and then Senate Democrats have had free rein-in to score political points unchallenged,” said the aide.
Another saw nothing good coming from the hearings.
“She’s very believable and you can’t help but feel sympathetic to her experience. What a mess,” one former Senate GOP leadership aide texted TPM late Thursday morning. after Ford’s opening statements and the first round of questioning.
Neither would speculate whether they thought Kavanaugh would survive, and both argued that Democrats were playing politics while defending how Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) was handling the process. But for top Republicans who went into Thursday already worried about whether Kavanaugh would survive the day, they weren’t feeling any better by lunchtime.