CNN Panel Rips Amy McGrath for Kavanaugh Flip-Flop

'She probably can’t recover from this'

Amy McGrath / Getty Images
July 11, 2019

A CNN panel on Thursday slammed Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Amy McGrath for reversing her position on whether she would have voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday McGrath, who is running for Sen. Mitch McConnell's seat, said during an interview with the Courier-Journal that she "probably" would have voted to confirm Kavanaugh. Just hours later though, she took to Twitter to retract her comments and say that she would have voted no.

McGrath's initial comments brought animus from Democrats outside Kentucky, for whom she relies on for much of her financial support, and her subsequent flip-flop reflected poorly on her preparedness for a high-profile race against the highest-ranking Republican in the Senate.

Members of the CNN panel showed little sympathy for McGrath's backtrack on Kavanaugh.

"What a disaster!" said Carl Hulse, chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times. "This is just a disaster. I’m not sure what was worse, being for Kavanaugh or then having to flip so quickly and say you weren't."

"You're not going to raise any Democratic money if you're for confirming Kavanaugh, and that's her only hope," said CNN host John King.

Bloomberg reporter Sahil Kapur argued that McGrath was forcing herself into awkward ideological positions by trying to appeal to conservative voters in Kentucky. "Part of Amy McGrath's message is that President Trump won Kentucky by a big margin and she wants to work with him on things like infrastructure and draining the swamp," Kapur said. "And she's painting McConnell as a threat to getting Trump's agenda passed, and saying she would better work with President Trump. None of it really computes here."

Washington Post reporter and CNN political analyst Rachael Bade reflected on the national Democratic interest McGrath had gained since her close loss in the race for Kentucky's 6th Congressional District in 2018, but concluded that "really, after this, she probably can't recover from this."

McGrath has dug herself into a hole with her own comments in the past. Republicans including President Trump have seized upon comments she made in 2017, in which she said that the only feeling she could describe that came close to her reaction to Trump's 2016 election victory was the feeling she had after 9/11.