Trump: New Kavanaugh charges "totally political"

Come on, you didn’t expect Donald Trump to stay silent on this, did you? Even if it’s the best strategy? As comments go, this quote from the president on the blizzard of new and dodgy allegations isn’t all that bad, at least not for Trump:

“For people to come out of the woodwork from 36 years ago and 30 years ago and — never mentioned it, all of a sudden it happens — in my opinion, it’s totally political. It’s totally political,” the president said. “There’s a chance that this could be one of the single most unfair, unjust things to happen to a candidate for anything.”

In this case, Trump might have been holding back. There’s a chance is certainly a non-false statement; there is a chance that it’s “one of the single most unfair, unjust things to happen to a candidate for anything.” If untrue, it certainly beats out the stuff that happened to Trump himself on the campaign trail, most of which was his own doing. And if untrue, it’s tough to see any analog in history to the scope of the attacks on Kavanaugh. The attacks on Clarence Thomas seem mild in comparison, and the derailing of Robert Bork practically an academic exercise.

In this case, Trump might have outperformed his own White House counselor in stepping carefully, at least for the moment. Kellyanne Conway made the same argument on CBS This Morning, but she employed a rather unwise throwback to Clintonian history in doing so. Conway assertively argued that the new charges from the New Yorker and Michael Avenatti are even weaker than the original allegation from Christine Blasey Ford. We don’t need any more delays, the White House counselor told the panel, and it’s time to move on.

She didn’t actually say “move on,” however. Maybe that was just too nostalgic:

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is defending President Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court as Judge Brett Kavanaugh faces allegations of sexual misconduct from over 30 years ago. Conway, speaking on “CBS This Morning” Monday, said the allegations against Kavanaugh are “starting to feel like a vast left-wing conspiracy.”

“I know there’s pent-up demand for women to get their day, women who have been sexually harassed and sexually assaulted, and I personally am very aggrieved for all of them, but we cannot put decades of pent-up demand for women to feel whole on one man’s shoulders. What exactly is the standard for ruining one man’s life based on decades of allegations that have nothing to do with him?” said Conway.

She added, “I just don’t think one man’s shoulders should bear decades of the MeToo movement.”

The “vast left-wing conspiracy” is a reference to Hillary Clinton’s infamous response when first confronted with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Unfortunately, those allegations turned out to be true, not the product of a smear campaign. The “vast right-wing conspiracy” ended up as the first marker of outright dishonesty and prevarication in Hillary’s career, one in a series that included the Tuzla Dash and practically everything Hillary ever said about her secret e-mail server.

That’s hardly a reference to hijack in this case, even if one does believe that this is a coordinated attack by Democrats to derail Kavanaugh using any means necessary. Next time, Conway should prepare better for media appearances, or at least find some better references. Maybe Trump could give her a few pointers.

CBS This Morning also had one of the co-authors on the show to discuss the journalistic rigor applied to these new allegations. Jane Meyer didn’t sound terribly impressive in this exchange, noting that their corroboration wasn’t anywhere near the party where these acts allegedly took place. Conway should focus on the erosion of journalistic standards, which does seem to concern John Dickerson, at least a little bit: