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Republican Senate candidate Rep. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota said the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were “absurd,” dismissing the claim because it involved teenagers who had been drinking and only attempted—not completed—rape.
On Friday, as Senate Republicans were negotiating with Kavanaugh’s accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, about the terms of her planned testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Cramer appeared on a North Dakota talk-radio show and criticized Ford for asking to testify after Kavanaugh, saying she was disregarding “due process.” When asked about the relationship between Ford’s claim and Anita Hill’s 1991 sexual harassment accusation against Justice Clarence Thomas, Cramer said the allegation against Kavanaugh was “even more absurd.”
“These are teenagers who evidently were drunk, according to her own statement,” Cramer said. “They were drunk. Nothing evidently happened in it all, even by her own accusation. Again, it was supposedly an attempt or something that never went anywhere.”
(Ford’s statement to the Washington Post was that she had one beer but Kavanaugh was “stumbling drunk.”)
Cramer’s opponent, Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitcamp, issued a statement saying, “Congressman Cramer’s comments are disturbing, and they don’t reflect the values of North Dakota.”
It’s far from the first time Cramer, a pro-life Republican who has served in the House of Representatives since 2012, has demeaned women. This week, when Heitkamp accused him of stealing credit for overturning a 40-year ban on exporting crude oil, he called her response a “hissy fit,” NBC reported. Last year, he described women who wore white in honor of suffragettes to one of President Donald Trump’s first addresses as being “poorly dressed” and looking “silly,” according to NPR. And over the summer, he explained Trump’s apparent friendliness toward Heitkamp—a conservative Democrat who has voted with Trump’s position more than 55 percent of the time—by claiming Trump wouldn’t want to be aggressive toward a woman. “She’s a, you know, a female,” he told the Washington Post. “He doesn’t want to be that aggressive, maybe.”
When CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski asked him to clarify his statement, Cramer doubled down, saying that Ford’s accusation was “more absurd” than Hill’s: “Absent significant evidence being brought forth immediately, I feel Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation process should proceed.”
According to the Cook Political Report, North Dakota’s Senate race is currently a “toss up.”