GOP leaders are unified in their continued support for Judge Brett Kavanaugh as President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court. They denounce Democrats of trying to derail the Senate confirmation process for partisan political purposes.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) accused Democrats of throwing “all the mud they could manufacture” at Kavanaugh.
“The shameful, shameful smear campaign has it a new low,” continued McConnell. “Senate Democrats and their allies are trying to destroy a man’s personal and professional life on the basis of decades-old allegations that are unsubstantiated and uncorroborated.”
This is the very same Mitch McConnell who refuses to ask for an FBI investigation into the allegations. This is the man who refused to initiate confirmation hearing on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland for over ten months.
‘He’s Not a Predator. He’s a Victim.’
President Trump referred to Kavanaugh a “wonderful human being,” and accused Democrats of playing a “con game,” but also argued that “they don’t believe it themselves, they know he’s a high-quality person.”
Trump is trying to undermine the credibility of the second person, Deborah Ramirez, who came forward with charges of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh.
“I can tell you that false accusations are made against all sorts of people … it would be a horrible insult to our country if this doesn’t happen … it cannot be allowed to happen,” Trump claimed.
Vice President Mike Pence called Kavanaugh “a man of integrity,” and continued, “[Kavanaugh has] impeccable credentials and a proven judicial philosophy [and has established a] strong record of support for limited government, religious liberty and our Second Amendment. He is a conservative who will interpret the Constitution as written, and his record and [his] career deserves the respect of every member of the United States Senate.”
White House Advisor, Kellyanne Conway claimed that Kavanaugh was the target of a “smear campaign” and what “is starting to feel like a vast left-wing conspiracy.”
“I know there is pent up demand for women to get their day, woman who have been sexually harassed and sexually assaulted, and I personally am very aggrieved for all of them,” she added. “But are we going to put decades of pent up demand for women to feel whole on one man’s shoulders? What exactly is the standards for ruining one man’s life based on decades of allegations that have nothing to do with him?”
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said of charges against Kavanaugh by former Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez, “We know what this is about,” Hatch said. “We always have these phony allegations late in the process.”
Reporters asked Hatch why he referred to Ramirez’s charges are phony?
“Because I know they are, that’s why,” he replied.
Hatch described allegations against Kavanaugh by Ramirez, as “thinly sourced,” and accused Democrats of engaging in a “smear campaign” against Kavanaugh.
“No innuendo has been too low, no insinuation too dirty. Everything is an excuse for delay, no matter how unsubstantiated,” Hatch said.
When asked if he thought Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations were “phony” as well, Hatch asserted: “I think she’s probably sincere,” he said. “At least I hope she is. I think she’s sincerely wrong.”
“Senate Democrats are demeaning both the Senate and the Supreme Court through their partisan games and transparent attempts at character assassination,” Hatch concluded.
They Say Men Are Predators So We Should Ban Transgender Women
Though GOP leaders reject charges of sexual abuse and harassment by Kavanaugh, even in the light of credible allegations, these same “leaders” and their co-conspirators voice deep concerns about transgender women and girls using bathrooms, and both trans men and women serving in the military.
A crucial point in the psychology of stereotyping and scapegoating is the representation of minoritized groups as sub-human life forms, as predators, as criminals, as those who are determined to harass, molest, and rape members of the dominant group, and in particular its women and girls, though also its men and boys.
A North Carolina law, HB2, went further than a narrow elimination of Charlotte’s civil rights ordinance that protected transgender people’s right to use public accommodations. A compromise bill was approved in 2017 repealing HB2. It retains, however, restrictions that don’t allow cities and counties to enact new anti-discrimination ordinances that include LGBTQ people.
Florida, one of the states known for its infamous so-called “stand your ground” law, proposed standing its patriarchal ground once again, this time in its “Single Sex Facilities” law. If passed by the state legislature, CS/HB 583 would impose criminal penalties on persons who knowingly enter restrooms of a sex not designated on their birth certificates.
Sponsors of this clearly discriminatory bill designed it specifically to ban trans people from using restrooms that most closely align with their gender identities.
Other states in addition to Florida are considering similar laws. In Texas, for example, a proposed bill includes a provision that would offer students $2,000 for reporting and claiming “mental anguish” for having to share restroom facilities with transgender students.
If cisgender men want to harass or abuse cisgender women, they can – and will – go into women’s restrooms whether trans women use the facilities. The “cisman predatory justification” to ban transgender women from using restrooms is political cover to promote discrimination against and deny the civil and human rights of trans women.
The Sexual-Abuser-In-Chief’s Saves His Attacks for Trans People
Since taking office, the Trump administration has declared war on the transgender community.
In a memo sent from his Department of Justice to US attorneys, department heads, and federal agencies, Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, reversed an Obama-era policy that protected trans employees from discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Session made clear that his department would no longer interpret gender protections in Title VII to include gender identity and expression.
Since Trump’s inauguration, he abolished an Obama-era executive order permitting transgender students to use school facilities most closely aligning with their gender identities, and the White House website has removed reference to LGBTQ issues and policies from the previous administration.
When the Trump administration promoted its 2017 “American Heroes Week,” the Commander-in-Chief let it be known in a three-tweet series that he does not include trans people in the category, especially those currently and previously serving in the U.S. military.
“After consideration with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow…… …Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming….. ….victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”
Trump’s official policy-by-tweet contradicts Department of Defense regulations released June 30, 2016 under Defense Secretary Ash Carter permitting trans people to join and openly serve their country. At that time, the United States added its name to an ever-increasing list of 20 other nations welcoming trans people into their military ranks, with the Netherlands as the first as far back as 1973. A sampling of others includes Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, and Spain.
A Rand Study fully debunks Trump’s assertion of some sort of burdensome “tremendous medical costs” expended on trans service members. Of the Pentagon’s annual military health care budget of $6.28 billion, an estimated relatively minuscule $2.4 – 8.4 million accounts for transition-related health care costs.
In addition, Rand found that merely 25 – 130 active-component trans military personnel have deployment restrictions due to transition-related medical treatments. In comparison, 50,000 active-duty soldiers in one single branch, the Army, cannot deploy for medical and other reasons.
Trump Continues to Attack Women Instead of Protecting Them
Trump’s latest assault on the trans community comes in the form of a yet another likely rollback of protections initiated by his immediate predecessor.
The Obama administration issued a policy directive enumerating the rights and responsibilities of transgender people in prison related to housing, strip searches, and medical care. The directive advised respect and protection of transgender inmates and, on a case-by-case basis, the possibility of residence in prisons matching their gender identities.
Trump’s expected dismantling of protections will have wide-ranging negative effects.
The National Center for Transgender Equality found that 16% of transgender adults (including 21% of trans women) have been incarcerated in prison or jail at some point in their lives. Nearly half (47%) of black transgender women have been incarcerated.
These high rates are associated with disproportionate poverty, homelessness, societal and workplace discrimination, involvement in street economies, and sometimes, bias from law enforcement. They are also at higher risk for harassment, abuse, and violence in juvenile detention facilities, jails, and prisons.
“Corrections” officials routinely deny transgender people transition-related medical care, and they often suffer prolonged sentences of isolation.
It should be crystal clear that Trump’s motive in declaring war on an entire category of people has nothing to do with concerns over improving military readiness, or ending discrimination in schools and in the workplace, or improving prison conditions. It has nothing to do with health care costs. It has nothing to do with some alleged and unspecific “disruption,” and it certainly has nothing to do with “religious freedom.”
Trump’s actions are intended to harden his appeal with his supporters by targeting scapegoats for his failed policies and increasingly failed presidency.
‘Mother’ Would Be Proud
Trump’s not-so-surprising assaults on trans people has the heavy thumbprint of Vice President Mike Pence, who, in his first congressional campaign in 2000, argued for public funding of so-called “conversion therapy” for LGBTQ people. On his website at the time, his disdain for same-sex attractions and sexuality stands out.
“Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus,” it read.
“Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
Pence opposes marriage equality and LGBTQ non-discrimination protections, and as Indiana Governor, helped to pass the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act allowing businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people. The state was forced to amend the law after experiencing serious political and financial push back.
The Republican Good-Ole-Boys Club has closed ranks around an accused sexual abuser while denying an FBI investigation and attacking the credibility of the women making the charges. In addition, many of these same Good-Ole-Boys supported the Senate candidacy of an accused child molester from the state of Alabama.
The GOP is standing behind Kavanaugh because it expects him to become the deciding vote on the court to eventually overturn Roe v. Wade. Trump also expects Kavanaugh to fight for the idea that sitting presidents cannot be charged in criminal proceedings.
On the other hand, the GOP has made a concerted effort to defame, marginalize, and deny trans people their civil and human rights while representing them as sexual predators.
Then again, hypocrisy and lies have never stood in the way of the Grand Old Republican Party.