Sen. Chris Coons (D., Del.) said Monday that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh bore the burden of disproving sexual misconduct claims against him.
After Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a house party in the early 1980s, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh's, Deborah Ramirez, told The New Yorker Kavanaugh drunkenly thrust his penis in her face at a dorm party in the 1983-1984 school year. Both stories have been heavily disputed by numerous witnesses, and Kavanaugh has flatly denied both allegations.
MSNBC host Katy Tur played a clip of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) calling the allegations against Kavanaugh a "shameful smear campaign" on Monday, and Coons responded attitudes like McConnell's were the reason many victims of sexual assault don't come forward.
"It is Judge Kavanaugh who is seeking a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, and who I think now bears the burden of disproving these allegations, rather than Dr. Ford and Ms. Ramirez who should be dismissed with slanderous accusations," he said.
The comment was similar to ones made by Sen. Mazie Hirono (D., Hawaii), who suggested Kavanaugh didn't have a presumption of innocence because of the way he approached his cases and his "ideological agenda." She later doubled down on the remark, saying "we are not in a court of law."
Coons said Sunday he had already made up his mind to vote against Kavanaugh's confirmation, based on his jurisprudence.
Kavanaugh told Fox News on Monday that he had never sexually assaulted anyone and wanted a fair process to clear his name. A Senate Judiciary Committee hearing has been scheduled Thursday for Kavanaugh and Ford to testify.