I think Christine Blasey Ford isn’t lying, but she isn’t telling the truth.
After Ford went public with her charge that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than 35 years ago, I initially did not think the story was true. I suspected Ford had been dispatched by the left to thwart Kavanaugh’s impending confirmation.
The facts seemed to support that view: Ford never mentioned the purported assault to anyone at the time, or at any time over the following 20-plus years. When Ford first spoke of the supposed incident in couple’s therapy, she didn’t finger Kavanaugh. She also claims no recollection of where, or even when, the alleged attack occurred.
The calculated timing of Ford’s accusation, coupled with her coordination with the media and Democrats to weaponize her last-minute attack, confirmed my opinion. After all, Sen. Dianne Feinstein sat on Ford’s letter since July, never questioning Kavanaugh about the allegations. Only after the Senate Judiciary Committee concluded its hearings on Kavanaugh’s nomination did Feinstein act, issuing a press release cryptically announcing that she had referred allegations of misconduct to the FBI.
Ford then gave cover to Feinstein’s claim that the senior senator had withheld the letter because Ford had sought confidentiality. Ford insisted she only went public when leaks threatened her anonymity. But last month, Ford paid for a polygraph test and apparently scrubbed her social media and professional profiles, which is clear preparation to go public when the timing proved ideal.
As battle lines hardened on Monday—with politicians and pundits declaring their respective belief in, and support for, Kavanaugh or Ford—things got ugly. The right mined for dirt on Ford. Negative student reviews (of another professor with a similar name!) began making the rounds, as did claims Kavanaugh’s mother had foreclosed on the Ford family home. Then came internet reports portraying Ford as a promiscuous drunk, and posting the names and contact information for her high school classmates at Holton-Arms, a Bethesda, Maryland all-girl prep school.
The left exhumed Kavanaugh’s decades-old high school yearbook and circulated the teen’s senior-year service as the Keg City Club treasurer as evidence supporting Ford’s allegations. (Many forget the legal drinking age in the 1980s was 18). Fellow Holton-Arms alums crafted a letter declaring that Ford’s story is “all too consistent with stories we heard and lived while attending Holton. Many of us are survivors ourselves,” implying tales peddled while they were in school involved the Supreme Court nominee.
While partisans plunged headlong into the nastiness, Kavanaugh publicly proclaimed his innocence. “This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes—to her or to anyone,” Kavanaugh stated, adding that “because this never happened, I had no idea who was making the accusation until she identified herself yesterday.”
In defending his integrity, Kavanaugh never attacked Ford. The person most affected by Ford’s charges did not call her a liar, but offered the more charitable interpretation, telling Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) that Ford “may be mistaking him for someone else.”
When partisan passions are put aside, Kavanaugh’s suggestion provides the most compassionate and reasonable way the competing stories can be reconciled with reality. After all, Ford is not claiming that a boy took advantage of her, or that her attacker was too drunk to understand her no. No, Ford is claiming that the boy who pinned her to a bed put his hand over her mouth to silence her protests, and with such force that she feared he would kill her. Such abusive behavior toward one young lady will be repeated and only escalate with time.
But Kavanaugh has undergone six FBI background investigations from 1993 to 2018 and none of those investigations unearthed any similar claims. Nor has anyone reported similar allegations to the Republican judiciary members or staff.
Additionally, two women Kavanaugh dated in the ‘80s have since come forward and made clear that the young Kavanaugh was not abusive toward girls or young women. “Kind and polite and respectful,” and a “stand-up guy, full of integrity” who “treated no one with disrespect,” the women described their former beau.
It is implausible to believe that a man subjected to as much scrutiny as Kavanaugh has been, and whom has received unanimous praise as a man of the highest character, could have assaulted Ford. Conversely, it is entirely consistent with scientific research about memory processes for Ford to suffer from a false memory—something more likely when traumatic events are involved, making her memory malleable and prone to distortion.
Had Ford agreed to testify, I would have cautioned Republican senators to follow Kavanaugh’s lead and presume her honest, but mistaken. But then news broke late yesterday that Ford won’t appear at the scheduled hearing.
Ford’s intransience does her no favors. Her refusal to testify under oath of the charges she hurled at Kavanaugh through the media merely furthers the impression that she is a lying schemer attempting to keep Kavanaugh off the bench at all costs.
Nonetheless, Republicans would be well-served to refrain from the character assassination that marks Democrats. Yes, the Democrats—with Ford’s assistance—have weaponized her story in an attempt to destroy an innocent man, but Republicans can still take the high road. There is no need to cast Ford a liar, when she can instead be viewed charitably as a victim who mistakenly identified the wrong man in recalling a traumatic event of her youth.