Politics

Iowa Republicans Rally Christian Coalition Behind Brett Kavanaugh

Rep. Steve King suggests any man could now be accused of sexual misconduct

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh amounted to "character assassination." (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Steve King fiercely defended Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh over the weekend at an Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event, saying that accusations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a woman who went to high school with him amounted to “character assassination.”

King and other Iowa GOP leaders, including Sen. Joni Ernst, Rep. David Young, and Gov. Kim Reynolds, rallied the nearly 700 Christians in the crowd behind Kavanaugh, the Des Moines Register reported, as Iowa’s senior senator, Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, negotiates the conditions of a public hearing this Thursday with the nominee's accuser, California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford.

King suggested to the crowd that any man could now be accused of sexual misconduct and that he would have no way to defend himself in the public eye.

“I’m thinking, is there any man in this room that wouldn’t be subjected to such an allegation? A false allegation?” King said. “How can you disprove something like that? Which means, if that’s the new standard, no man will ever qualify for the Supreme Court again.”

King said Ford’s allegations were not credible because she could not remember exactly when or where the alleged assault took place.

Ford told the Washington Post she was afraid Kavanaugh might “inadvertently kill” her during a high school party in the early 1980s, alleging that the Supreme Court nominee pinned her to a bed and groped her over a one-piece bathing suit. When she protested the alleged assault, Ford said, he covered her mouth.

Kavanaugh has categorically denied Ford’s story as “completely false,” saying he was not even at such a party at the time Ford said the assault occurred.

Ed Whelan, the president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center who made waves late last week after he suggested on Twitter that Ford was confusing Kavanaugh with a similar-looking student who might have sexually assaulted her, canceled his appearance at the event in Iowa, where he was scheduled to deliver the keynote speech.

Whelan apologized for publicly naming Kavanaugh’s former classmate and suggesting he may have assaulted Ford.

A woman who studied at Yale with Kavanaugh told The New Yorker in an article Sunday that the federal appeals court judge sexually assaulted her at a college party in the 1980s. Separately, Michael Avenatti, who is representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against Trump, tweeted that he has a new female client who has information about Kavanaugh’s behavior at high school parties and wants to testify as well.

The New Yorker reported that Deborah Ramirez, 53, attended Yale College with Kavanaugh and described a party where he “exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away.”

Kavanaugh told the magazine in a statement that the newly alleged event from 35 years ago “did not happen.”

“This is a smear, plain and simple,” Kavanaugh said. “I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name — and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building — against these last-minute allegations.”

Watch: McConnell to Family Research Council: ‘We’re Changing America’

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.