“A lot of times, you cope by suppressing and forgetting,” said King, who leads the King University College Republicans. “But someone’s promotion isn’t something that should prompt someone to come forward.”

That sentiment was shared by Sarah Round, 69, a retired elementary school teacher of Newport Center, Vermont, who felt empathy for Ford but not at the expense of Kavanaugh’s reputation and future.

“Possibly something happened to her,” Round said. “But I think she embellished what happened, or she would have gone to some authority or said something about it years ago.”

Nancy Mace, the first woman to graduate from The Citadel and a Republican state representative from Daniel Island, South Carolina, said she had been sexually assaulted as a teen herself. She expressed sympathy for Ford, but said Kavanaugh deserved protection, too.