Democrats slow to ‘believe the woman’ in sex assault accusation against Justin Fairfax

February 5, 2019 GMT

Sen. Sherrod Brown said Tuesday that he doesnt know if people should believe the woman who accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of rape.

I dont know anything. I dont know. It sounds like a question from the Washington Times, Mr. Brown, an Ohio Democrat eyeing a 2020 presidential run, said when asked about it outside the Senate chamber.

He wasnt the only Senate Democrat to dodge the question, despite the #MeToo refrain of believe the women when they raked Supreme Court Justice Bret Kavanaugh over the coals with unproven accusations of sexual misconduct during his confirmation last year.


Mr. Brown opposed Mr. Kavanaughs confirmation before the sexual misconduct allegations, but he applauded the womans courage for accusing him.

Others Senate Democrats claimed ignorance of the allegations against Mr. Fairfax.

I dont know anything about it, said Sen. Brian Schatz, Hawaii Democrat.

When Sen. Dianne Feinstein was asked about believing the woman, one of her aides shouted to her: You dont need to comment on Virginia politics.

She took the advice.

Im not going to get into that. Thank you, said Ms. Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee who touched off the frenzy over Mr. Kavanaugh in September by announcing she had received anonymous allegations against him.

In the Virginia case, a woman has accused Mr. Fairfax, a Democrat, of forcing her to perform a sex act when they were both campaign aides at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.

Her allegations surfaced as Mr. Fairfax is poised to become governor if Gov. Ralph Northam, also a Democrat, gives in to unrelenting pressure that he resign over a racist photo in his medical school yearbook.

The back-to-back scandals upended the Virginia Democratic Party.

Sen. Tim Kaine, Virginia Democrat, said the two cases are completely different.

She hasnt made an accusation, he told reporters at the Capitol. Any person who has a claim needs to be given the time to decide whether to come forward with their claim. So you have to wait for that.

The allegations against Mr. Kavanaugh also started as anonymous claims. California professor Christine Blasey Ford later went public with her story that Mr. Kavanaugh groped her at a high school party when they were teenagers.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Illinois Democrat, refused to weigh into the particular issues of the Virginia scandal, but she advocated for an investigation into all sexual misconduct complaints.

I think anything should be investigated and I really have no opinion on it, she said. If there is an allegation, they should investigate it.