President Donald Trump said Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and his family have been hurt “so badly” following a political saga that erupted after the New York Times published then corrected a story containing an old allegation against the judge.
“They’ve hurt that man and his family so badly. He has been just really devastated by the hurt that’s been caused to him, his beautiful daughters, his fantastic wife—they have hurt him so badly,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One en route to California on Sept. 17. “He has been hurt so badly and it’s so unfair. He’s a good man. That wasn’t supposed to be in the cards.”
This comes as Congressional Democrats renewed their push to impeach Kavanaugh prompting Congressional Republican leaders and several top Democrats to respond by advising against such a movement. Several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates like Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Julian Castro have called for Kavanaugh’s impeachment even though the allegations are uncorroborated and disputed. Kavanaugh has also denied all the accusations.
Following the calls for impeachment, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in a statement on Sept. 16 that “Even Jerry Nadler figured out that impeachment of Brett Kavanaugh, based on this ridiculous accusation, is a Bridge Too Far.”
Meanwhile, top Democrats like House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) have dismissed calls for impeaching the judge.
The article, which was published the New York Times’ Sunday Review section, containing what the authors called a “previously unreported” sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh quickly came under fire when the media outlet was forced to release a correction due to it omitting two crucial details that would undermine the decades-old allegation against Kavanaugh.
The first detail was that friends of that female student said she does not recall the event. The second detail was that the woman herself declined to be interviewed.
The reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly blamed editors for leaving out the important information from the story. They attempted to defend their report in an interview late Sept. 16, saying that the mistake was due to the “haste of the editing process.”
“I think what happened actually was that we had her name and [The New York] Times doesn’t usually include the name of the victim. So I think, in this case, the editors felt that it was better to remove it and in removing her name, they removed the other reference to the fact that she didn’t remember,” Pogrebin said.
“It was just an editing—done in the haste of the editing process,” she added.
The article is adapted from the book “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh” and authored the same New York Times reporters. The allegation against Kavanaugh was based solely on the account of one man, former Clinton lawyer Max Stier, who they were unable to talk to.
Over the past few days, Trump has repeatedly criticized the New York Times over the correction while calling for the resignation of “everybody” involved in the publication of the article.
“I call for the Resignation of everybody at The New York Times involved in the Kavanaugh SMEAR story,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “… and while you’re at it, the Russian Witch Hunt Hoax, which is just as phony!”
“They’ve taken the Old Grey Lady and broken her down, destroyed her virtue and ruined her reputation,” he added. “She can never recover, and will never return to Greatness, under current Management. The Times is DEAD, long live The New York Times!”
…She can never recover, and will never return to Greatness, under current Management. The Times is DEAD, long live The New York Times!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 16, 2019
While speaking to reporters earlier in the day on Sept. 16, Trump called out the newspaper for failing to do a fact check.
“I think the New York Times made another terrible mistake. It’s a shame that a thing like that could happen. I see they’re making a big correction today. They’ve just announced there’s a correction,” Trump said. “But to do that about a Supreme Court justice is a terrible thing. It’s a false accusation.”
“Whatever happened with the New York Times—I mean, I can tell you personally that they never check. They never do—we used to have a thing called “fact-checking.” They don’t do fact-checking anymore. They used to call and say, “What about this? What about that?” How can they do a thing like that and destroy somebody’s life? I mean, they’re destroying lives,” he said.
“And it’s fake news. It’s just fake news,” he added.
Epoch Times reporter Mimi Nguyen-Ly and Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.