CNN Panel Decries Trump Apologizing to Justice Kavanaugh, Hiring Female Law Clerks

Mere moments after President Trump concluded the ceremonial swearing-in of Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh Monday night, a mostly liberal panel on CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront tore into him for daring to apologize to the Justice on behalf of the nation. One particular loony commentator even dismissed Kavanaugh’s career-long effort to promote female law clerks as cynincal pandering, given recent events.

“What you've been watching is the ceremonial swearing-in of now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh. In a moment, an opportunity for unity as it began,” stated a bewildered Kate Bolduan, filling-in for Burnett. According to her analysis, Trump had taken that opportunity and threw it away. “I mean, think of the unity of the justices -- all of the sitting justices coming in, sitting down in the east room, the President did not nod toward unity in this moment.

First, Bolduan called on New York Times political editor Patrick Healy, who claimed the swearing-in ceremony had all of the sense and feel of a “Trump-orchestrated” “political rally”. “You had to wonder what was going through Elena Kagan's mind or Ruth Bader Ginsberg's mind as it seemed like he made the nod to them and said thank you,” he questioned. “[B]ut then, sort of, started calling out people like Mitch McConnell, making some pretty audacious statements in terms of apologizing to Brett Kavanaugh on behalf of our nation.”

Healy again decried Trump’s apology to Kavanaugh (whose family had received death threats) and lectured Americans on how to behave:

Yes, this is what the President does. He's the president of the United States, that is the president of everyone. After such a searing, emotional, you know, I think for a lot of Americans looking ourselves in the mirror as a people, in terms of how we deal with justice, how we treat women and men in this country. And, you know, trying to -- usually, a president is healing in that moment and apologizing to Kavanaugh on behalf of the nation…

 

 

Bolduan then turned to the dependably radical Joan Walsh, national affairs correspondent for The Nation, who asserted the ceremony was “extraordinary and outrageous”.

“The idea of holding a victory rally like this, for Justice Kavanaugh to say, the court should not be a partisan institution, but then stand there and thank mainly Republicans, Joe Manchin got a shout out for his vote. It's just not something that's supposed to happen,” Walsh exclaimed before whining that Kavanaugh had nothing new to say.

A short time later, Bolduan prompted Walsh to comment on the fact that Kavanaugh had hired the Supreme Court’s first-ever team of all-female law clerks. The bitter Walsh was not impressed. “I guess that's great,” she huffed. Even though elevating female law clerks was something Kavanaugh had done throughout his entire career (Walsh even admitted he’d talked about it before the allegations), she dismissed it as just “pandering”.

“I don't know that it's going to make women who are still upset about the treatment of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford feel any better. It did, it felt a lot like pandering to me,” she objected.

The lone conservative on the panel was former Mitch McConnell staffer Scott Jennings. Speaking on Trump’s victory lap, he noted that Trump “believes that Brett Kavanaugh has been wronged every step of the way, he believes this has been an outrageous circus inflicted on Kavanaugh, and therefore him.”

“Now on Kavanaugh's remarks, I thought they were entirely appropriate, he struck a nonpartisan tone, he struck a consolatory tone,” he added. “I mean, this guy just ran through hell in a gasoline bathing suit…”

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

CNN
Erin Burnett OutFront
October 8, 2018
7:30:31 p.m. Eastern

KATE BOLDUAN: What you've been watching is the ceremonial swearing-in of now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh. In a moment, an opportunity for unity as it began. I mean, think of the unity of the justices -- all of the sitting justices coming in, sitting down in the east room, the President did not nod toward unity in this moment.

(…)

Patrick, let me begin with you. Two very different -- you heard two very different tone – tones --messages from President Trump and from Brett Kavanaugh. I have never seen an historic moment like this, a swearing-in of a Supreme Court justice, have it begin in this way.

PATRICK HEALY: Right. I mean, it was really striking, when you bring in the Supreme Court, usually it's at the State of the Union speech, there's a solemnity to it, they are sitting there listening, it was in a sense of like of introducing the lineup at a political rally, and that's what it felt like tonight. You had to wonder what was going through Elena Kagan's mind or Ruth Bader Ginsberg's mind as it seemed like he made the nod to them and said thank you, but then, sort of, started calling out people like Mitch McConnell making some pretty audacious statements in terms of apologizing to Brett Kavanaugh on behalf of our nation.

Yes, this is what the President does. He's the president of the United States, that is the president of everyone. After such a searing, emotional, you know, I think for a lot of Americans looking ourselves in the mirror as a people, in terms of how we deal with justice, how we treat women and men in this country. And, you know, trying to -- usually a president is healing in that moment and apologizing to Kavanaugh on behalf of the nation, it just felt, again, like a, sort of, like a Trump orchestrated political event. And it was just -- I've never seen anything like that.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, I mean, his words were -- I mean, just a shade off of some of the attacks that the President has laid out even earlier today. I mean, he called Democrats “evil” this morning, and then this evening, he says, apologizing to Brett Kavanaugh, “a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception.” And Joan he says, “you, sir, Brett Kavanaugh under historic scrutiny were proven innocent.”

JOAN WALSH: It was extraordinary and outrageous, Kate. I want to remind our viewers that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford cannot live at home anymore because of her death threats. I believe she's separated from her sons. So, this woman has been through hell. The idea of holding a victory rally like this, for Justice Kavanaugh to say, the court should not be a partisan institution, but then stand there and thank mainly Republicans, Joe Manchin got a shout out for his vote. It's just not something that's supposed to happen.

I just -- we've never seen anything like it. He was already -- he had already been sworn in, so that -- it is ceremonial. And he also -- not to dump on the poor guy, he was not found innocent, he was confirmed. That speech was just warmed over from his Senate testimony from his Wall Street Journal op-ed, I don't know what he thought he was doing out there, he was not taking the opportunity to say anything new or introduce himself to the American people in any kind of a new way.

(…)

BOLDUAN: Scott, that we heard from Brett Kavanaugh, but I want to get your take on the President. I -- he busts through presidential norms every day. We know this. But what did you -- why? Why do you think the President needed to start with an apology of Brett Kavanaugh?

SCOTT JENNINGS: We know how the President feels about this, we believe -- he believes that Brett Kavanaugh has been wronged every step of the way, he believes this has been an outrageous circus inflicted on Kavanaugh, and therefore him. I mean, that's one thing we should remember here is that, I think, the President views all of this as an extension of an attack on him because Brett Kavanaugh was his nominee. And so, I think the President feels like after winning such a close issue, he wants to put a political fine point on it.

Now on Kavanaugh's remarks, I thought they were entirely appropriate, he struck a nonpartisan tone, he struck a consolatory tone. I mean, this guy just ran through hell in a gasoline bathing suit, and he wanted to take a chance to say thank you and thank you to his family publicly. I thought that was wholly appropriate thing to do. So, I wasn't surprised they had a swearing-in ceremony so publicly tonight. It was not the usual kind of thing. But then again, it's not the usual kind of presidency.

(…)

BOLDUAN: And Joan, I want to get your take on Kavanaugh's outreach nod to women, the female clerks that he's hired and what he said during his remarks tonight?

WALSH: I mean, the female clerks, I guess that's great, Kate. He talked about that before, it felt a little like pandering to me. As I said before, there was not anything really new. This is the way he introduced himself in his very first --

BOLDUAN: For him, though, maybe safe is best in terms of: stick to the script it’s worked.

WALSH: Sure, I guess it has worked. I don't know that it's going to make women who are still upset about the treatment of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford feel any better. It did, it felt a lot like pandering to me.

 


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