On Thursday night, a highly regarded conservative lawyer — and friend of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh — spun an unhinged defense of the judge against the accusations of sexual assault that have thrown his nomination into doubt.
Ed Whelan, the president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, posted a widely panned tweet storm on Twitter using the thinnest possible evidence to try and claim it’s more likely Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh’s accuser, was attacked by another friend of theirs in high school who supposedly looked like Kavanaugh. Whelan presented no solid evidence for this and faced major blowback for insinuating that someone might be guilty of sexual assault with so little basis.
Conservative writer Max Boot, who has previously been favorable to Kavanaugh’s nomination, viewed this defense/meltdown as a devastating sign for the conservative movement.
It tells you how far the right has descended into madness that this vile accusation did not come from an anonymous blogger on some online bulletin board or from professional conspiracy theorist Alex Jones,” he wrote in a new Washington Post column. “It came from someone with sterling establishment credentials: Whelan is a Harvard Law School graduate who has served as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a Senate Judiciary Committee staffer, and a deputy assistant attorney general in the George W. Bush administration.”
Boot also came to Ford’s defense, dismissing other smears against her that imply she somehow made up the story about Kavanaugh:
Why would Ford “set up” Kavanaugh when the cost of doing so is to have her name dragged through the mud and forced to flee her own home to avoid death threats? If she is setting up Kavanaugh, why would she take (and pass) a polygraph test and insist on an FBI investigation, knowing that lying to the FBI is a federal crime? If she was setting up Kavanaugh, why would she place his friend Mark Judge in the room, knowing that his testimony could contradict hers? And, why if this is a set-up, did she relay the sexual assault allegation to her marital therapist in 2012? Did she intuit years in advance that Kavanaugh would be nominated to the Supreme Court — but fail to foresee that, like every other woman who has made such allegations against a powerful man, she would be subject to character assassination?
Since the rise of President Donald Trump, Boot has been increasingly demoralized by and distanced from the Republican Party. This latest disaster only shows how deep the moral rot of the GOP has spread.
“There are a lot of people who will believe his conspiracy theory, despite the recantation, because they are predisposed to believe it,” he wrote. “Much of the right has taken leave of its senses. They are willing, even eager, to believe in ‘alternative facts,’ to quote Kellyanne Conway’s infamous phrase, if by doing so it will advance their agenda. Any sin, no matter how grave — even maligning an innocent man on sexual-assault charges — is justified in the name of political expediency.”
In the end, Boot argued the party has put its soul up for sale in the search for power. Any of those with any qualms left have already abandoned the GOP.