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Republicans and Other Kavanaugh Supporters Go Into Full-On Gaslighting Mode (And Trump Finally Loses It)

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | September 21, 2018 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | September 21, 2018 |


Yesterday, a man named Ed Whelan — a conservative think tank president who doesn’t think, a President of the Ethics & Public Policy Center who has no ethics, and a former clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia who apparently does not understand the law — spun a wild conspiracy theory in a now-deleted Twitter thread.

It began yesterday morning when Whelan cryptically tweeted: “By one week from today, I expect that Judge Kavanaugh will have been clearly vindicated on this matter. Specifically, I expect that compelling evidence will show his categorical denial to be truthful. There will be no cloud over him.” Given Whelan’s longtime friendship with Kavanaugh and what Politico calls his “close involvement with the nomination process,” social media perked its ears.

“Senator Feinstein will soon be apologizing to Judge Kavanaugh,” Whelan added.

Later in the day — after intense speculation — Whelan finally unleashed his conspiracy theory. Basically, using Zillow to examine floor maps in the area where Christine Blasey was sexually assaulted in 1982, Whelen somehow surmised that Christine Blasey might have confused Brett Kavanaugh for another classmate who looked similar. Ed Whelan not only posited this theory, he then went on to name the classmate and post a yearbook photo. He essentially accused a man — who is now a middle-school teacher in another state — of attempted rape.

It was the kind of theory I might spin about True Detective or The Walking Dead or Better Call Saul, and I understand as well as anyone that when conjuring up these theories and connecting all these dots, it becomes really easy to believe your own logic, to fall under your own spell.

The difference is, those are TV shows. This is a sexual assault case involving actual human beings, one of whom is a California professor, another a Supreme Court nominee, and another just a dude out in middle America trying to teach 6th graders social studies.

Add this to Orrin Hatch’s “she must be confused” line from two days before, and well, you’ve got the makings of a full-blown attempt at gaslighting, the M.O. of both Republicans and Donald Trump, who tells his crowds at rallies, ‘Don’t believe what your eyes and ears tell you.”

By day’s end, Christine Blasey had shut down the rumor, telling the Washington Post that she “knew them both, and socialized with” the other classmate, who she had once visited in the hospital. “There is zero chance that I would confuse them.”

This morning, even Ed Whelan — who must have finally understood that he was seriously on the hook for defamation should that middle-school teacher want to file suit — apologized.

Yeah, that was messed up, Ed.

In the meantime, Ford will not testify on Monday, but she has agreed to testify next Thursday, although she does not want Kavanaugh present while she testifies, she wants Mark Ford to testify, and she wants the Senators — not lawyers — to conduct the questioning.

We still do not know if the Republicans will agree to this. That’s three more days in which another accuser might come forward, and three more days that Trump has to exercise restraint, and the seams are starting to burst in that regard.

Update: And the dam has broken.


FYI, for those asking about the header photo. We write a lot about politics, but we do not want to pollute our pages with the faces of certain political figures because, let’s be honest, who wants to look at those faces all day? This is our header photo cheat sheet, so far, replacing these political figures with friendlier, lovelier faces. We will likely add more, as needed.

Donald Trump — Kate Beckinsale
Sarah Sanders — Taika Waititi
Alex Jones — Mel C of the Spice Girls
Brett Kavanaugh — Connie Britton
Mike Pence — Julia Louis Dreyfus

Header Image Source: Getty