This evening, Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as an associate justice of the US Supreme Court before an exuberant crowd.
President Trump Participates in the Swearing-In Ceremony of the Honorable Brett M. Kavanaugh https://t.co/O78f8RcRUs
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) October 8, 2018
This is how President Trump opened the ceremony:
I would like to begin tonight’s proceedings perhaps differently than any other event of such magnitude.
On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure.
Those who step forward to serve our country deserve a fair and dignified evaluation. Not a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception. What happened to the Kavanaugh family violates every notion of fairness, decency and due process. In our country, a man or a woman must always be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
And with that I must state that you, sir, under historic scrutiny, were proven innocent. Thank you.
Already I can hear the rattle of cheap dime store pearls being clutched.
The New York Times picks up on the subtext:
When a bitterly divided Senate confirmed Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh despite sexual misconduct allegations a month before the midterm elections, strategists in both parties anticipated that it could turbocharge Democratic efforts to take over the House, if not all of Congress.
One person who did not get the memo? President Trump.
Rather than falling back on defense amid roiling outrage, especially among women, Mr. Trump is going on offense, trying to turn the furor into an asset instead of a liability. With the world’s loudest megaphone, he hopes to make the issue not the treatment of women in the #MeToo era but the treatment of men who deserve due process.
The president’s calculation, however, is that conservative voters who for most of the year have been lethargic about the congressional elections can now be motivated to turn out by anger over the Democratic attacks on Justice Kavanaugh. Liberal voters, in this view, were already animated by their opposition to Mr. Trump and likely to vote even before Justice Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault and exposing himself during drunken school parties, so Democrats have less to gain at this point.
As I pointed out last week, across the political spectrum, except among the tame and Vichy conservatives and those conservatives strolling the promenade deck on their cruise ship, Trump’s speech in Mississippi, the speech that pointed out the moon-sized craters in Christine Ford’s story, was a turning point in the confirmation fight. It signaled a shaky Senate that Trump was not folding and it emboldened actual conservatives to create pressure on GOP senators to push the nomination through. The Democrats were trying to turn this into another retreat, like the one George H. W. Bush conducted after the Clarence Thomas hearing, that created another “Year of the Woman.” Trump had two choices: let them do it as he stands idly by or, to paraphrase a master of both maneuver and attrition, “fight it out on this line if it takes all summer.”
Expect to hear more about the Kavanaugh hearing. A lot more. This defense is probably not what Kavanaugh wants to hear for the next month, but he has a life-time job and Trump’s next two years are up for grabs in November.