Former President George W. Bush has made several calls to swing-vote senators in recent days, doing his best to convince them to vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, the Washington Post reported Thursday night.
Kavanaugh testified yesterday for more than three hours before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which held a hearing with both the nominee and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused the nominee of sexually assaulting her when they were both teens. (Kavanaugh vehemently denied those and all other allegations against him.)
Per the Post:
Trump’s options are somewhat limited, White House and Capitol Hill aides say. The key votes — Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) — are not easily swayed by the president, these people say. At least some of these members have received calls from former president George W. Bush in recent days, aides say.
Kavanaugh worked in the Bush administration and knew the president personally, so his support isn’t particularly surprising.
As Politico reported last week, Bush stood strong alongside Kavanaugh even as the allegations continued:
“Laura and I have known and respected Brett Kavanaugh for decades, and we stand by our comments the night Judge Kavanaugh was nominated.”
The former president had previously said of Kavanaugh: “He is a fine husband, father, and friend – and a man of the highest integrity. He will make a superb Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.”
Bush’s willingness to directly whip votes could end up being a factor. The Republican majority in the Senate is tight, and the four Senators (three Republicans, one Democrat) the Post mentions received Bush’s calls could very well decide the fate of Kavanaugh’s confirmation in the Senate. They were spotted huddled together immediately after the hearing, and rumors about West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin’s vote are already flying around the Capitol.
Still, while it’s hardly a surprise coming from Bush, this last-minute lobbying effort stands in contrast to the rapid rehabilitation of his public image he’s enjoyed over the past year, becoming a kind of ally in the liberal #Resistance for such acts as saying Trump kinda sucks and passing Michelle Obama candy.
Ford calmly fielded hours of questions about being sexual assaulted, and Kavanaugh’s alleged participation in that attack, in gut-wrenching detail yesterday. But as the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares to vote on Friday morning anyway, it’s unclear if any of that will matter. To Bush, at least, we know it doesn’t.