Following testimony from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford about allegations of sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch called the witness an “attractive witness,” according to tweets from reporters.
Matt Whitlock, communications director for Hatch, argued that the senator was talking about Ford’s personality, and not her physical appearance.
While others said the comment sent a bad message, intended or otherwise.
Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump on July 9 after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement. If confirmed by the Senate, Kavanaugh is expected to push the high court further to the right with his life-time appointment.
Earlier this month, Ford came forward and accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, according to The Washington Post. She says while they were both in high school in 1982, Kavanaugh groped her and tried to rip off her clothes as he pinned her down on a bed.
Since Ford’s accusations, at least two other women have come forward with similar accusations. Julie Swetnick said in a document released by lawyer Michael Avenatti that she was at multiple parties with Kavanaugh where “disoriented” girls were drugged and then raped by a “train” of men, while Deborah Ramirez said in an interview with The New Yorker that the judge exposed his genitals at a party. The accusations are from incidents that were said to have happened in the 1980s.
The judge has denied the claims, saying in a Fox News interview that he has always respected women and was a virgin at the time of the accusations.