WASHINGTON — Brett Kavanaugh, with the clock ticking down to the end of the most politicized Supreme Court confirmation battle in years, is campaigning for every last vote.
On the eve of a dramatic day in the Senate that could dictate his fate, and with several key Republicans undecided, Kavanaugh attempted damage control in an opinion article in the Wall Street Journal.
He appeared to be trying to draw the sting from his explosive testimony last week in which he denied claims that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when they were teenagers in the 1980s.
His performance raised concerns that his hyper-partisan style was incompatible with the independence and decorum expected of the nine justices who sit on the nation’s top bench.
“I was very emotional last Thursday, more so than I have ever been. I might have been too emotional at times,” Kavanaugh wrote.
“I know that my tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said. I hope everyone can understand that I was there as a son, husband and dad.”
It was not clear whether Kavanaugh’s unorthodox move was motivated by concern that his nomination was in trouble, or whether it was an early attempt to mitigate the political toll of his confirmation fight in the expectation that he will shortly take a seat on the Supreme Court that could cement a conservative majority for many years.
Several White House sources said the op-ed was Kavanaugh’s idea and was intended to show he could rise above the partisan fury that has consumed his nomination.
But it was another sign of how the former White House operative for President George W. Bush has adopted political tactics to support his candidacy in a way that would not have been considered appropriate for many previous nominees.
When Ford’s allegations first became public, for instance, Kavanaugh appeared on Fox News with his wife, in a move that made him look like an under fire political candidate.
His op-ed on Thursday night was slightly reminiscent of a presidential candidate who campaigns almost into Election Day to sway wavering voters.
During his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, he shocked many observers by accusing Democrats of trying to destroy him in a “political hit” designed to avenge Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election loss.AlertMe