Now that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s unhinged, beer-loving testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee has officially entered the national zeitgeist as A Thing, we’ve started to learn a little more about what went on just before Kavanaugh’s weepy, screamy, appearance.
The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday reported that it was none other that White House counsel and SCOTUS chaperone Don McGahn’s idea for Kavanaugh to ditch his “aw shucks, I’m such a nice fella” routine in exchange for the deranged performance he put on before the committee members.
Per the Journal:
Waiting his turn to testify last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh had a private word with White House counsel Don McGahn, who has been shepherding his Supreme Court nomination. Mr. McGahn cleared the holding room of staff, people familiar with the matter said.
Christine Blasey Ford had just told senators that he sexually assaulted her when they were teens, and White House aides worried her account was compelling. Sitting with Judge Kavanaugh and his wife, Mr. McGahn told him he shouldn’t hold back: When facing the senators he should show his emotions and true feelings about accusations that he said are false, the people said.
The Journal’s report seems to confirm a separate account of the backstory behind Kavanaugh’s testimony. According to CNN, it was President Donald Trump (no stranger to allegations of sexual assault, or shouting incoherently himself) who told Kavanaugh to “be aggressive and forceful in your denials. Don’t be afraid to push back on these allegations” in a phone call with the nominee while Kavanaugh waited his turn to testify.
Despite coming off like coddled baby throwing his first big-boy tantrum, Kavanaugh’s rage-fueled testimony may ultimately salvage his nomination. Following his appearance before the Judiciary Committee, Republican senators began circling the wagons around their nominee by latching onto his extremely “angry white guy” shtick in their full throated defense of him. That’s how this should work, right?