After a morning of protesters interrupting Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing and senators volunteering to have themselves expelled from the Senate, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) lamented the "ugly" tribalism on display.
"Confirmation hearings are supposed to be an opportunity for the American people to hear from the nominee," Hatch said Thursday. "Unfortunately, it seems some on the political left have decided to try to turn this hearing into a circus."
Hatch blamed both those interrupting proceedings in the chamber and those who "covered it on social media."
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Hatch contrasted Kavanaugh’s "levelheadedness and decency" to the "sick people" using the confirmation to attack people at the hearing to support Kavanaugh.
"It's bad enough that Supreme Court nominations have turned into all out war against the nominee, have we really reached the point where anyone who supports or even sits behind a nominee must also be destroyed?" he asked.
That comment was an apparent reference to the online conspiracy theory alleging that Mexican-American GOP lawyer Zina Bash was a white supremacist because of her hand's position while sitting behind Kavanaugh.
"We need good, decent, people to step forward, to contribute, even when it’s ugly, particularly when it’s ugly," Hatch said in conclusion.
Hatch praised how Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) handled the interruptions, "in spite of these type of irresponsible outbursts and so forth." Grassley had closed the first day’s proceedings by lamenting how he had to struggle to manage the committee.
Following Hatch’s comments, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (R.) remarked: "People wonder, ‘Are these hearings turning into a circus?’ And I want to defend circuses. Circuses are entertaining and you can take your children to them. This hearing is neither entertaining nor appropriate for young people."