Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is pushing back against the growing list of women who claim he sexually assaulted them by making an unprecedented appearance Monday night on Fox News, a network famous for shielding sexual predators.
“I’m not going to let false accusations drive us out of this process,” Kavanaugh—flanked by his wife—told Fox News host Martha MacCallum on Monday, in the first clip released ahead of the interview, which airs at 7 p.m. “We’re looking for a fair process where I can be heard defending my integrity, my lifelong record of promoting dignity and equality for women.” (This is, remember, the same man who actively worked to deny an undocumented immigrant teen an abortion, and who will almost certainly help overturn Roe v Wade should he be confirmed.)
The appearance on Fox News seems to be part of a carefully calibrated attempt by the White House to try to regain its footing after multiple women came forward to allege sexual assault or misconduct by Kavanaugh.
And it’s hardly a surprise that in appearing on TV to make his claim—bucking decades of tradition in which Supreme Court nominees stay effectively silent outside their confirmation process—Kavanaugh would choose to do so on Fox News, a network formerly headed by current White House Communications Director Bill Shine, who was accused of aiding and abetting former Fox chairman and CEO Roger Ailes’ years of alleged sexual harassment. Or that he would be paired with MacCallum, who pointedly defended Ailes after the initial claims against him were made. (In a sign of the seriousness with which the network takes these things, The Five played a snippet of Dua Lipa’s “New Rules” while introducing one of the clips during its show.)
In another preview of Monday night’s interview, Kavanaugh seemingly accepted that his first accuser, California professor Christine Blasey Ford, was sexually assaulted during a high school party in the early 1980s. But he maintained that he was not the one responsible:
The truth is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone, in high school or otherwise. I am not questioning and have not questioned that perhaps Dr. Ford was sexually assaulted by someone at some place, but what I know is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone.
Whether Kavanaugh’s Fox News appearance will have its likely intended effect of rallying his Republican base and appeasing the network’s biggest fan, President Donald Trump, ahead of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with Ford remains to be seen. If, as attorney Michael Avenatti has suggested, yet another woman is prepared to come forward to allege more sexual assault by Kavanaugh, it’s possible that even the safe space of a Fox News studio won’t be enough to salvage his shot at a spot on the Supreme Court.