WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — US President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Monday launched an aggressive campaign against allegations of sexual misconduct, vowing on national television to clear his name while appearing to claim his virginity at the time of the accusations as a defense.
With pressure mounting to put Kavanaugh’s nomination on hold for the FBI to investigate his past — a day after a second woman came forward with allegations against him — Trump stood firmly behind his embattled nominee, accusing Democrats of working hard to “destroy a wonderful man.”
The claims, dating back to the conservative judge’s high school and college days, threaten to derail what was seen as an all-but-certain confirmation to the lifelong post on the top court.
Instead, he now faces an explosive Senate showdown against the first of his accusers, university professor Christine Blasey Ford, who is set to testify against him Thursday.
With his future and reputation on the line, Kavanaugh stepped up his defense, saying “I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone, not in high school, not ever. I’ve always treated women with dignity and respect.”
He also sought to present an image of himself as a strait-laced student devoted to his studies and sports, and declared he was a virgin for much of his youth, apparently as a strategy of defense.
“I did not have sexual intercourse or anything close to sexual intercourse in high school or for many years thereafter,” he told Fox News, appearing alongside his wife Ashley ahead of his own Senate testimony due after Ford’s.
“I’m not going to let false accusations drive us out of this process,” he added, repeatedly calling for a “fair process.”
Trump later tweeted to throw his full weight behind his candidate.
“The Democrats are working hard to destroy a wonderful man, and a man who has the potential to be one of our greatest Supreme Court Justices ever, with an array of False Accusations the likes of which have never been seen before!”