President Trump offered a public apology to Brett Kavanaugh on Monday evening for the humiliation that his wife and daughters were subjected to during one of the most brutal battles over a Supreme Court seat that the nation has ever seen.
Trump in remarks from the East Room before the newest addition to the court’s ceremonial swearing-in said he was sorry that Kavanaugh’s wife, Ashley, and his daughters, Margaret and Liza, had to witness their father deny a slew of sexual assault allegations on national television.
‘On behalf of our nation, I would like to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure,’ the president said during a primetime address.
Trump said Kavanaugh deserved ‘a fair and dignified evaluation’ not the ‘campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception’ that he was hit with by Democrats.
‘A man or a woman must always be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty,’ the president said to applause from supporters and staff stuffed into the room. ‘You, sir, under historic scrutiny were proven innocent,’ Trump declared.
Addressing the controversy around his appointment, Kavanaugh admitted that it had ‘tested’ him in remarks of his own after his second swearing-in this week but he insisted there is ‘no bitterness’ in the speech before his peers that brought tears to his eyes.
‘The Senate confirmation process was contentious and emotional. That process is over,’ he said. ‘On the Supreme Court, I will seek to be a force for stability and unity. My goal is to be a great justice for all Americans and for all of America. I will work very hard to achieve that goal.’
President Trump opened his remarks at a public swearing-in ceremony for Justice Brett Kavanaugh with an apology for the way the judge, who was accused of sexual assault by several women, was treated in his confirmation process
‘On behalf of our nation, I would like to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure,’ the president said during a primetime address
Sitting in the front left section were sitting Supreme Court Justices including Chief Justice John Roberts, Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, right, ceremonially swears-in Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, as Ashley Kavanaugh holds the Bible while daughters Margaret, left, and Liza, look pn
Kavanaugh said his approach to the court remains the same and that he will act as an ‘impartial decider’ and be perform his duties ‘independent’ of any political party
The entire sitting Supreme Court attended President Trump‘s public swearing-in ceremony for Kavanaugh, including Chief Justice John Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Clarence Thomas and the president’s first successful appointment to the court Neil Gorsuch.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had a prized front-row seat next to GOP Sens. Orrin Hatch and Rob Portman. The Kentucky Republican who helped to push Kavanaugh over the line received a round of applause and a standing ovation as he entered the room.
Kavanaugh’s family also sat in the front until it was time for them to him on stage while he took the Judicial Oath. His wife and daughters stood proudly by his side as his pledged to faithfully execute the law.
In subsequent remarks, Kavanaugh vowed to move past the controversy that overshadowed his experience and qualifications while taking the time to highlight his across-the-board hiring of women to serve as his Supreme Court clerks and his support for women’s equality.
He did not mention the sexual assault allegations that delayed what was initially expected to be a party-line but routine vote to confirm the president’s pick for the bench. Nor did he respond to Democratic complaints after his combative Senate Judiciary Committee testimony that he does not have the temperament to sit on the court.
Speaking directly to country he sought reassure those Americans who share those beliefs that he can and will be a devoted judge who isn’t beholden to any ideology and will decide cases based on the national interest.
‘Every litigant int the Supreme Court can be assured that I will listen to their arguments with respect and an open mind,’ he pledged.
Kavanaugh said his approach to the court remains the same as it always has been. He pledged that he will act as a ‘neutral and impartial decider’ and be perform his duties ‘independent’ of political considerations.
‘Although the Senate confirmation process tested me as it has tested others, it did not change me,’ he asserted. ‘A judge must interpret statutes as written. And a judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent.’
The conservative judge who had served on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals until his confirmation pointedly also promised to ‘interpret the law, not make the law’ in a nod to the right’s long-standing concerns about judicial activism.
‘As in the past, our nation today faces challenges and divisions. But I am an optimist,’ he continued. ‘I live on the sunrise side of the mountain. I see the day that is coming, not the day that is gone. I am optimistic about the future of America and the future of our independent judiciary, the crown jewel of our constitutional republic.’
He told President Trump it was a ‘great honor’ to be serving on the court as he spoke from the podium for the second time since his July 9 appointment.
‘I am grateful for your steadfast, unwavering support throughout this process,’ he told the president who refused to withdraw the nomination in the face of troubling sex assault allegations and dueling testimony with accuser Christine Blasey Ford. ‘And I’m grateful to you and Mrs. Trump for the exceptional, overwhelming courtesy you have extended to my family and me.’
Kavanaugh thanked swing-voting Sens. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, and Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, by name along with other several senators whose votes proved critical to putting him on the bench.
VICTORY LAP: the president that the proceedings that led Kavanaugh to be confirmed had proven his innocence in sexual assault charges
Trump paid tribute to Kennedy in his opening remarks, saying America ‘owes you a profound debt of gratitude.’ Kavanaugh gave offered praise to Kennedy, as well
HERO: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell received a hero’s welcome as he entered the East Room on Monday night
WORKING THE ROOM: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein landed on the guest list after he made nice with the president earlier on Monday
Retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, who Kavanaugh is replacing, did the honors on Monday evening. Kavanaugh is an former Kennedy clerk on the Supreme Court.
Trump paid tribute to Kennedy in his opening remarks, saying ‘America owes you a profound debt of gratitude’ for a lifetime of service. Kavanaugh gave offered praise to Kennedy, as well, and the ‘legacy of liberty for ourselves and our posterity’ that his mentor leaves behind.
‘I will always be humbled and proud to sit in Justice Kennedy’s seat on the Supreme Court,’ Kavanaugh told him.
To a packed room of supporters, staff and press, the president in a primetime address called it a ‘truly momentous occasion’ as he celebrated his victory over Democrats who sought to keep Kavanaugh from taking the bench.
‘I would like to begin tonight’s proceeding differently than perhaps any other event of such magnitude,’ he said apologizing to Kavanaugh. ‘Those who step forward to serve our country deserve a fair and dignified evaluation, not a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception. What happened to the Kavanaugh family violates every notion of fairness, decency, and due process.’
Trump singled out Kavanaugh’s daughters in his speech, telling the school-aged children, their ‘father is a great man,’ despite what they may have heard.
‘He is a man of decency, character, kindness, and courage who has devoted his life to serving his fellow citizens. And now, from the bench of our nation’s highest court, your father will defend the eternal rights and freedoms of all Americans. You know that,’ the president said from a platform erected in the middle of the room, looking right at them.
Pivoting to the topic of America’s children and what their leaders will leave behind for them, he said: ‘Margaret and Liza’s presence tonight reminds us what this historic event — all about your father — is all about. It’s about what kind of nation we’re going to be and what kind of country our children will inherit.
‘It is up to each of us, and to all Americans watching tonight, to answer that question. It is up to us to reclaim our heritage of equal and impartial justice,’ he said. ‘It is up to us to re-dedicate ourselves to the traditions and wisdom of our Founders. And it is up to us to renew the bonds of love, loyalty, and affection that link us all together as one great American family.
The president also declared the new Supreme Court justice a ‘fair-minded, unbiased, and even-handed person’ who ‘understands that justice must be divorced from the passions of the day’ and ‘tethered to instead to enduring foundation of our republic: the Constitution’ in his remarks that preceded Kavanaugh’s second swearing-in.
Kavanaugh was officially brought on to the court the weekend so that he could begin studying cases the court will hear this term. Justices began the new term last Monday on Oct. 1 without him leaving him to play a week of catch-up. He’ll hear his first set of cases on Tuesday, he said, noting that his daughters would be missing school to watch him in action.
Trump’s ceremonial swearing-in for Kavanaugh at the White House on Monday evening was essentially an opportunity for him to declare victory one more time and celebrate with the who’s, who of the conservative movement, including American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp and Faith and Freedom Coalition head Ralph Reed. It was conservatives, after all, who helped to elect him on the basis of his pledge to appoint justices to the high court that appealed to them.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was also on the invite list, having made up earlier in the day on Air Force One with the president. Rosenstein giddily worked the room for several minutes before Trump as he made his way to a reserved seat at the event that was advertised as standing room only.
Trump hinted earlier on Monday as he left the White House for the day trip to Orlando that Rosenstein accompanied him on that his remarks would be more than just an opportunity to slap fellow Republicans on the back. He ripped the emotionally-draining Kavanaugh saga as a ‘hoax’ perpetrated by ‘evil’ Senate Democrats who intentionally faked claims of sexual assault to derail the newest Supreme Court justice.
He described Kavanaugh as ‘a man that did nothing wrong, a man that was caught up in a hoax that was set up by the Democrats, using the Democrats’ lawyers’ as he departed the White House to deliver a speech in Florida.
The president told reporters on the South Lawn that House Democrats are already ‘thinking about impeaching’ Kavanaugh if they take over control of the lower chamber of Congress next month.
‘The American public has seen this charade, has seen this dishonesty by the Democrats,’ Trump said.
Hours later, Trump told a convention of police chiefs that the weeks of constitutional limbo that put Kavanaugh’s career in jeopardy and mobilized feminist groups ‘was a disgraceful situation brought about by people that are evil, and he toughed it out.’
President Donald Trump said Monday that ‘evil’ Democrats set up a ‘hoax’ with claims of 1980s-vintage sexual assault in a failed bid to derail Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court
Evil? California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein provided most of the congressional muscle behind efforts to thwart Kavanaugh’s rise to the nation’s highest court
Justice Kavanaugh (center) joined the Supreme Court on Saturday after a contentious campaign against him that fell short when the Senate voted 50-49 to confirm him
‘He’s a great person, and it was very, very unfair what happened to him,’ Trump said. ‘False charges, false accusations, horrible statements that were totally untrue, that he knew nothing about.’
Trump didn’t name his devilish opponents, but he has been critical of Senate Democrats and others who brought Kavanaugh’s accusers forward and used them as levers of political pressure.
Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats gave a global platform 11 days ago to Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of forcibly groping her and trying to undress her when they were both teenagers.
Republicans in Washington, most notably females, have said they believe Ford was sexually assaulted in the early 1980s yet find Kavanaugh’s unequivocal denials convincing.
Sen. Susan Collins, whose ‘yes’ vote turned the tide in Kavanaugh’s favor, said Sunday on CNN that ‘I do not believe that Brett Kavanaugh was her assailant. I do believe she was assaulted, I don’t know by whom, and I’m not certain when. But I do not believe he was the assailant.’
Evil? Lawyer Michael Avenatti (left) publicly advocated for client Julie Swetnick (right), who accused Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge of spiking teenage girls’ drinks and participating in gang rapes; her claims were the most aggressive Kavanaugh faced, and some Republicans believe they saved Trump’s nominee because they tainted the more credible ones
Christine Blasey Ford testified in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on September 27 but couldn’t proivide any corroborating witnesses to her claim that a drunken teenage Brett Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and forcibly groped her during a high school party in 1982
But Monday marked the first time Trump has assigned a motive to Democrats or suggested the claims of any of Kavanaugh’s accusers were intentional fiction.
The president had a special level of scorn for Julie Swetnick, a woman who claimed Kavanaugh and his friends spiked teenage girls’ drinks to incapacitate them and participated in gang rapes during the 1980s, having sparred with her attorney in his own dealings.
‘Take a look at the last one,’ he said. ‘The things they said about him! I don’t even think he ever heard of the word. It was all made up, it was fabricated, and it’s a disgrace.’
Lawyer Michael Avenatti brought Swetnick forward as a client and insists her stories are real. He also represents pornographic actress Stormy Daniels, the woman at the center of a hush-money arrangement related to an alleged sexual affair with the future president a decade ago.
Avenatti is carrying on his own dalliance – with the prospect of running for president in 2020 – but some Republicans believe his attachment to the most implausible allegations against Kavanaugh tainted the more credible ones.
President Trump said Monday morning as he left the White House that the three women’s claims were an intentional ‘hoax’
Trump continued defending Kavanaugh on Monday after he’d already joined the court, saying the newly minted justice ‘did nothing wrong’ and arguing that investigations found ‘no corroboration of any kind’ from witnesses to what Ford, Swetnick and Deborah Ramirez claimed to remember happening three decades ago.
He predicted during his White House departure that midterm voters will reward Republican lawmakers who supported Kavanaugh, defying conventional wisdom that suggests Democrats have momentum fueled by resentful protesters.
‘I think it’s an insult to the American public,’ Trump said of the organized opposition to Kavanaugh. ‘And I think you’re going to see a lot of things happen on November 6 that would not have happened before.’