North Dakota's at-large congressman, Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer, is taking heat for questioning if the sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh should disqualify him from serving on the Supreme Court — even if they're true.
Cramer's comments, which have been widely covered in the mainstream media Tuesday, are significant because he is currently battling to unseat Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) in a crucial race. Their coverage underscores the impact of Kavanaugh's nomination on the midterm elections.
What did Cramer say?
Cramer said in an interview with KVLY-TV Monday:
What if something happened — we don't know exactly what it was — 36 years ago when somebody was 15 years old and somebody else was 17 years old. What if, what if something like what Dr. [Christine Blasey] Ford describes happened. It's tragic, it's unfortunate, it's terrible it should never happen in our society. But, what if 36 years of a record where there’s nothing like that again. But instead there's a record of a perfect gentleman, an intellect, of a stellar judge, a guy who's had 300 cases in front of him and hasn't had a misstep.
Even if it's all true, does it disqualify him? It certainly means that he did something really bad 36 years ago, but does it disqualify him from the Supreme Court?
The interviewer, Chris Berg, followed up asking if Kavanaugh should be disqualified from serving on the Supreme Court if it's later discovered the allegations are true. The implication being that Kavanaugh is dishonest and has lied even as recent as during his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee when he denied ever being engaged in sexual misconduct as an adult.
"If it’s found that he knew, that he recalls it, he knew it happened, and lies about it, then I think that would disqualify him," Cramer responded.
At any rate, Cramer does not buy the allegations against Kavanuagh. Last week, during a radio interview with KNOX-AM, Cramer called the first accuser's accusations "even more absurd" than those made against now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991.
Indeed, Cramer told Berg he also does not find the second allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh credible, calling it "far more suspicious than the first one."
"The timing of all of it raises suspicion about the validation of any of it," he said.
How did Heitkamp respond?
After Cramer's initial comments calling Ford's accusation "absurd," Heitkamp tweeted, "Congressman Cramer's comments are disturbing and they don't reflect the values of North Dakota."
Her campaign spokeswoman, Julia Krieger, later told media following Cramer's Monday interview: "Once again, Congressman Cramer displays a stunning lack of empathy for victims and the trauma they experience. While Heidi is committed to listening to the testimony of both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh, Congressman Cramer has already prejudged."