MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle on Thursday entertained viewers with a display of mental gymnastics In the lead-up to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Ruhle attempted to make the case that Kavanaugh was “changing his story a bit” with regards to his behavior in high school, by comparing his statements in a Fox News interview to a portion of his sworn testimony submitted to the Committee.
Ruhle attempted to tease out a contrast between the two following claims by Kavanaugh:
■ “And yes, people might have had too many beers on occasion, and people generally in high school, I think all of us have probably done things we look back on in high school and regret or cringe a bit.”
■ “I drank beer with my friends. Sometimes I had too many. I said and did things in high school that make me cringe now.”
The only notable distinction between these two passages is that during his Fox interview, Kavanaugh described “people” sometimes having “too many beers,” whereas in his opening statement, he clarified that this characterization applied to him as well.
Despite the immense similarity between these two descriptions, Ruhle summarily declared, “He’s changing his story a bit.”
She then asked attorney and guest panelist Midwin Charles whether Kavanaugh’s claim that he attended church, played sports, and applied himself academically during high school was somehow at odds with his admission that he also occasionally drank too much. “It sounds like maybe he’s adjusting his position,” Ruhle opined.
“It does sound like he’s adjusting his position,” Charles eagerly agreed. She continued: “And I think overall he is not consistent with his position. And if you're not consistent with your position, guess what? You're not credible.”
Neither Ruhle nor Charles bothered to explain what inconsistencies they had identified between Kavanaugh’s two statements, nor did they share how attending church and focusing on school work might have precluded him from consuming too much alcohol on weekends.
To read a full transcript of their exchange, click “expand” below:
MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle
9:20 -- 9:22 a.m. ET
STEPHANIE RUHLE: Midwin, I want to share what Kavanaugh has even said in the last 24 hours, because he's changing his story a bit when it comes to character. Because, again, this is a job interview for the highest court in the land. And it is about how you conduct yourself. Here's what he said on Monday.
KAVANAUGH: Yes, there were parties. And the drinking age was 18. Yes, the seniors were legal and had beer there. And yes, people might have had too many beers on occasion, and people generally in high school, I think all of us have probably done things we look back on in high school and regret or cringe a bit.
RUHLE: Now, this morning, he will testify that, quote, “I drank beer with my friends. Sometimes I had too many. I said and did things in high school that make me cringe now.” Is that an important distinction? Because when he did that Fox News interview, he certainly painted a very innocent choir boy persona: “My only priorities, school work, community service, church and basketball.” After that interview, in addition to new accusations, you saw people who had signed letters of support withdraw their support. One woman who was in an advertisement that was put out supporting him said, “You know what, I'm going to need you to stop running that.” And it sounds like maybe he's adjusting his position.
MIDWIN CHARLES: It does sound like he's adjusting his position. And I think overall he is not consistent with his position. And if you're not consistent with your position, guess what, you're not credible. And he, right now, at this very moment, needs to be credible. As you said, this is a job interview. This is not something he ought to be expected to have. And I think one of the things we've noticed throughout this entire process up to this point is that there seems to have been this sort of fate accomplis in the way this has been handled. “Listen, the job is already yours.” But that's not how it's supposed to be. You're supposed to prove you have the character, you have temerity, and that you are fit for the job that’s ahead of you. That’s really is the burden that’s upon him, the onus that’s upon him. And so for him to sort of be waffling and going back and forth about who he was, what he did during that time, it doesn’t make him credible.