Republican lawmakers have been wary of the spectacle of questioning a woman who claims to have been sexually assaulted, particularly as the #MeToo movement continues to energize voters, particularly women, across the country.
The GOP side of the Judiciary Committee has reportedly pushed for Ford to be questioned by a female outside counsel to avoid the prospect of an all-male lineup of Republican senators probing her account, in a scene reminiscent of the committee’s infamous questioning of Anita Hill in 1991. Hill accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, then a nominee for the high court, of sexual harassment.
Kavanaugh has spent hours since the allegations surfaced at the White House preparing for questions about his past, including his dating life, that he is likely to receive from Democratic lawmakers, according to NBC News. For her part, Ford has engaged Ricki Seidman, a communications strategist who coached Hill ahead of her 1991 testimony.
In his denial Monday, Kavanaugh said that he was “not questioning and have not questioned that perhaps Dr. Ford at some point in her life was sexually assaulted by someone at some place.”
“What I know is, I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone,” Kavanaugh said.
Amid speculation that Trump could seek out another nominee, the White House has stood firmly by Kavanaugh, and Trump has gone on the offensive to discredit the accusations. On Monday, Trump told reporters that he stood by Kavanaugh “all the way.”
“There is a chance this could be one of the single most unfair, unjust things to happen to a candidate for anything,” Trump said. “But I am with Judge Kavanaugh and I look forward to a vote.”
“I know he’s going to stand by me,” Kavanaugh said in the interview. He said the president called him earlier in the day to say so.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Kavanaugh said.
WATCH: Trump steps up Kavanaugh defense