Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R) opened his appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Tuesday with the tiniest, frailest of olive branches for his Democratic colleagues in the ongoing battle over the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh.
“I think there are some Democrats in good faith . . . ” Kennedy, the junior senator from Louisiana, told Carlson from an echo-filled stairwell corridor of the Senate.
“But I think [for] some of their colleagues, it isn’t about searching for the truth,” he continued. “It’s about winning. Just win, baby, win.”
Kennedy was referring to the Democrats' push for an extended FBI background investigation of Kavanaugh after Christine Blasey Ford, a research psychologist and professor in California, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her at a small gathering at a house in the 1980s when they were in high school. Kavanaugh has denied those claims.
Still, after a dramatic turn of events, an FBI investigation was reopened Friday. Since then, several Republican lawmakers have gone on the offensive, accusing Democrats of intentionally using claims against Kavanaugh to stall the nomination process.
On Tuesday, Kennedy found a willing audience in Fox News Channel talk show host Tucker Carlson, who set his brow in an intense furrow as Kennedy railed against the Democrats.
“These are people — I’m not gonna name names — but I’m not sure they have a soul,” Kennedy said. “I don’t think their mother breast-fed them.”
Carlson broke his serious expression and laughed.
“I think they went right to raw meat,” Kennedy concluded.
A representative from Kennedy’s office declined to comment on or clarify what the senator had meant.
It was only the second-most outraged Kennedy had seemed this week. He had appeared Monday on Fox News to angrily characterize Kavanaugh’s divisive nomination process as “an intergalactic freak show.”
“If you think this is about searching for the truth, you ought to put down the bong,” the lawmaker told host Martha MacCallum. “This is not about the truth. This is about gamesmanship and power, political politics.”
Other Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have also blanketed the airwaves with attacks on Democrats since the FBI investigation was called.
On Tuesday night, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) appeared on Fox News to demand that Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) apologize to Kavanaugh “for being part of a smear campaign that I haven’t seen for over 20 years in politics.”
At last week’s hearing, Kavanaugh snapped at Klobuchar when she asked whether he had ever drunk so much that he blacked out. Instead of answering the question, Kavanaugh parroted the question back at Klobuchar.
“I don’t know,” he said then. “Have you?”
On Wednesday morning, the office of Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) retweeted a Daily Caller story about Kennedy’s remarks on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
However, the criticism paled in comparison to those of President Trump, who openly mocked Ford’s recollection of the alleged attack at a Mississippi rally Tuesday night. Trump’s aides had reportedly been trying to prevent such a riff, and the incident drew criticism the next day from three Republican senators — Susan Collins (Maine), Jeff. Flake (Ariz.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) — who are seen to be the most likely swing votes on Kavanaugh’s nomination.
By Wednesday afternoon, Kennedy was back in the Senate halls, hammering the Democrats on Fox News. “I’m not prejudging the FBI report, but it’s time for the senators to be senators, for women to women up, for men to man up, and let’s vote,” Kennedy said.