Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) was already in his third term in the U.S. Senate when Anita Hill testified during the confirmation of Clarence Thomas for the United States Supreme Court. Almost 27 years later, Sen. Hatch is still on the Judiciary Committee — and Justice Clarence Thomas remains on the high court.
On Tuesday, MSNBC anchor Katy Tur noted that two Republicans — Sen. Hatch and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) — voted to confirm Thomas in 1991 and remain on the Judiciary Committee. Hatch is now the President pro tempore of the Senate and is third in the line of presidential succession.
“I want to play for you — just go back in time for a moment and listen to the way Orrin Hatch was talking about Anita Hill while she was alleging inappropriate conduct by Clarence Thomas,” Tur said. “And what he is now saying about Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser.”
After playing her supercut, Tur concluded that it, “Sounds pretty similar, back then to today.”
“It does, it sounds woefully similar,” noted former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson.
“And Orrin Hatch was part of a very determined, back-then, Republican minority of senators who, just from the moment Anita Hill began to testify — and I was sitting in that hearing room in 1991 — and I mean, they hurled at her to destroy her credibility,” she continued. “It was really a disgusting display of the lowest political tactics.”
“Just hearing Sen. Hatch say ‘that woman’ almost sent chills down my spine,” she added.
Recalling the 1991 hearing, Abramson said she is worried about how Judiciary Committee Republicans will treat Dr. Christine Ford.
“While the president may be somewhat restrained in his approach so far, there are conservative Republicans who are determined to do whatever it takes to muscle through this judicial confirmation for Brett Kavanaugh, and I really — I worry about what Dr. Ford is going to face when she walks into the hearing room,” she concluded.