Ed Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, is taking a leave of absence due to what he describes as the “appalling and inexcusable” mistake of tweeting a baseless theory that one of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s Georgetown Prep classmates actually perpetrated the alleged sexual assault against professor Christine Blasey Ford in a case of mistaken identity.
According to a Sunday Politico report, the board of the policy center rejected his permanent resignation. Board members will reportedly meet in a month to revisit his absence.
Whelan released an apology on Sunday, focusing mostly on the damage he did to Kavanaugh’s classmate, as well as to Kavanaugh himself.
“I apologize deeply and sincerely to all those whom I have harmed by my appalling and inexcusable tweet thread last week,” he wrote in the National Review. “Above all, the person whose name I wrongly made public, but lots of others as well, including Judge Kavanaugh, my Ethics and Public Policy Center colleagues, those institutions and individuals who have supported my work or my colleagues’ work, the editors of National Review (who have made it possible for me to reach a wide audience here at Bench Memos since 2005), and many others who had placed their trust in me.’
He got around to Blasey Ford a paragraph down. “I also apologize to victims of sexual assault and to Dr. Ford for these and other tweets that did not address with respectful consideration the difficult question of how to assess allegations of sexual assault,” he said.
But he added a caveat: “I do not believe that all such allegations must be accepted as true, and I believe further that the usual inquiries into motivation, cognition, memory and other matters that apply to other charges properly apply to these as well.”
He insisted that his tweets came from a good place, his earnest and sincere belief that Kavanagh is a man of “honesty” and “integrity.”