Christine Blasey Ford says that, some 35 years ago, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her. Kavanaugh denies it happened — and even if it did, a group supporting him argues, the conduct Blasey Ford describes wasn’t attempted rape at all, but rather “boorishness” and “too rough horse play.”

Carrie Severino, the chief counsel and policy director at the Judicial Crisis Network — a conservative group that has invested $1.5 million in a pro-Kavanaugh ad campaign following Blasey Ford’s allegation of attempted rape — argued during a CNN appearance on Tuesday that Ford’s account “could describe a whole range of things.” 

Blasey Ford says Kavanaugh forced himself on her and covered her mouth when she tried to scream. Asked by CNN host Kate Bolduan whether this allegation is disqualifying for Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Court, assuming it is credible, Severino replied, “Look, her allegations cover a whole range of conduct from boorishness and too rough horse play to actual attempted rape.” 

Severino continued, “If you go to rape, yes, that is a really serious allegation, but this is why it will be useful to have this hearing, so we can even figure out what some of the specifics on those allegations are.”


Balduan pushed back, saying, “I don’t think anywhere in there she’s saying this is boorish horse play at all… I don’t think that’s at all what she’s suggesting.”

Blasey Ford spoke publicly for the first time Sunday, telling The Washington Post that during a party in the early 1980s — she is unsure what year — Kavanaugh and a friend “corralled her into a bedroom.”

Then, she told the paper, Kavanaugh forced himself on her, groped her over her clothes, and tried to pull off her clothing. When she tried to scream, she says he then covered her mouth with his hand.

“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” she said.

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 06:  Children who played on teams coached by Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, along with his wife Ashley Kavanaugh and daughters (2nd R to L) Lisa and Margaret Kavanaugh, attend the third day of his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill September 6, 2018 in Washington, DC. Kavanaugh was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy on the court left by retiring Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Brett Kavanaugh and the breathless effort to protect a rich, white man from repercussions

Blasey Ford’s lawyer has explicitly said Blasey Ford believes this was an attempted rape.

“There’s 35 years of memory that we’re trying to play with here,” Severino argued Tuesday on CNN. “And I’m saying that the behavior she described could describe a whole range of things. I know her perception of it was one way. I’m just saying, I think we have to get all of the facts.”

Severino also noted that Kavanaugh denies it happened at all.

“Under any interpretation, he says, ‘No, I wasn’t at a party like that. This didn’t happen, period.’”

Both Blasey Ford and Severino are scheduled to testify at a hearing next Monday. Severino said Tuesday she hopes both can speak and be “treated respectfully.”


“That’s not what we saw in his confirmation hearings with protesters shouting,” she complained. “200 people arrested. With the senators themselves making a spectacle. Making it about their own campaign than the actual question.”

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