Judge Kavanaugh made a joke during a speech at Columbus Law School back in 2015. One way you can tell it was a joke is that his audience laughed. He said, “Three classmates of mine at Georgetown Prep were graduates of this law school in 1990 and are really, really good friends of mine—Mike Bidwell, Don Ergo and Phil Merkel.
“They were good friends of mine then and are still good friends of mine as recently as this weekend when we were all on email together. But fortunately, we had a good saying that we’ve held firm to to this day, as the dean was reminding me before the talk, which is what happens at Georgetown Prep stays at Georgetown Prep.”
This is obviously a reference to the series of ads for Las Vegas which had a similar tag line. Again, it was clearly a joke and was taken by the audience as a joke, not an admission that he had an ugly past life as an attempted rapist, but Tuesday afternoon all of the usual suspects—MSNBC, Elizabeth Warren, Jim Acosta—were using the clip to intimate something more sinister. This all appears to have started a couple of hours ago at MSNBC:
From there it was off to the races:
Brett Kavanaugh talking about his high school in 2015: “What happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep.”
I can't imagine any parent accepting this view. Is this really what America wants in its next Supreme Court Justice? pic.twitter.com/WhL8YeZQ78
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) September 18, 2018
CNN’s Jim Acosta played it as well but even he seems to be having a hard time claiming this is relevant. After the clip plays, he says, “Obviously, Susan, not a conclusive piece of video that says that he did anything, but it does speak to this notion that perhaps there are portions of his childhood he’d rather not come to light, I suppose.” Such confidence.
Jim Acosta on the 2015 Kavanaugh clip (which CNN edits so it begins after the reference to his three male friends): “There are portions of his childhood he’d rather not come to light." Note how even Susan Hennessy thinks he's reaching. pic.twitter.com/swDqI2YcHh
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 18, 2018
And here’s Senator Jeff Merkley linking to the MSNBC clip at HuffPost:
Brett Kavanaugh, this isn’t Vegas, and you’ve got some explaining to do.https://t.co/y6X2Om7mrH
— Jeff Merkley (@JeffMerkley) September 18, 2018
Politico also weighed in with a story about the video which says this:
Georgetown Prep’s unofficial saying, according to Brett Kavanaugh: What happens there, stays there…
Kavanaugh gave no other context for the joke, but it gained attention anyway after it first surfaced on MSNBC because the judge has recently been accused of misconduct while he was a high school student.
Two issues: First, Kavanaugh never said this was Georgetown Prep’s unofficial saying. He joked that he and his three friends had adopted it. Second, the suggestion that Kavanaugh would need to give some context for the joke is just dumb, as if he must have been talking about that party unless he said otherwise. It was a joke. It wasn’t intended to refer to anything. It was meant to make the audience chuckle.
You can see the full speech below. I have this cued up to just before Kavanaugh makes his joke about Georgetown Prep.