Screenshot: Breitbart

Today’s Senate Judiciary hearing has been almost too much to bear: Christine Blasey Ford came across as a rare beacon of courage in the face of “annihilation,” committee chair Chuck Grassley looked like a crabby old rulemaster, and the nation ground to a halt to watch the proceedings unfold.

But one of the more bizarre features of prosecutor Rachel Mitchell’s questioning of Ford—all of the Republican senators on the committee, who are also all men, ceded their time to Mitchell—was her repeatedly asking about Ford’s fear of flying. It was an apparent effort to poke holes in Ford’s story that her fear of flying made her wary to testify, which Republicans believe was a tactic to delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

This did not go well. As the Daily Beast reported:

But Mitchell’s attempt to use Ford’s fear of air travel to poke holes in her credibility overlooked one key fact: People with a fear of flying can and often do travel by plane.

“How did you get to Washington?” Mitchell asked Ford, who resides in California.

“In an airplane,” Ford replied after a pause.

“I ask that because it has been reported by the press that you would not submit to an interview with the committee because of your fear of flying. Is that true?” Mitchell said, referring to the reasoning Ford’s counsel gave for her initial reluctance to appear.

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So it makes sense that Donald Trump Jr. and all his worst-meaning pals came out of the woodwork to seize on the fact that Ford had taken trips with her family to places like Costa Rica and Hawaii as some kind of smoking gun.

Then the conservative media picked up on that line:

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Here was the Washington Examiner’s take on this damning evidence:

And the Daily Caller’s Benny Johnson:

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I can’t believe this is necessary but: What Katie Pavlich, a Fox News contributor, says here in bad faith it absolutely true!

It makes perfect sense that, for a nervous flyer, a vacation with your loving family would be an easier flight than, you know, flying across the country to dive into this meat grinder on the national stage, where you will endure hours of questioning about one of the most traumatic experiences of your entire life. Republicans are grasping for something, anything to chip away at Ford—and this latest attack makes clear just how desperate they’ve become.