Arizona protesters rally by Flake’s office over Kavanaugh
PHOENIX (AP) — More than a hundred demonstrators outraged by Sen. Jeff Flake’s willingness to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh gathered Friday outside his Arizona office, some wearing the white bonnets and crimson robes of women enslaved as surrogates in the dystopian novel and TV series, “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Protesters carried signs with slogans such as “Flake is a Fake” and “Shame Shame.” Others held umbrellas to deflect the rays of the desert sun Friday.
They stopped briefly to listen to a radio broadcast of Flake suggesting that a confirmation vote by the full Senate be delayed for a week to let the FBI investigate sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh, who has denied all such charges.
Protester Lorraine Doman-Sheydayi said she was “glad” Flake called for an investigation, but “I was looking for a different outcome.”
She said she thought Flake’s call for the FBI probe “showed we put enough pressure on him that he wanted to get out of the line of fire.”
Some demonstrators outside Flake’s office said they decided to protest after becoming infuriated watching Thursday’s televised hearing, which included lengthy testimony by Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has alleged he sexually assaulted her when they were both teenagers.
“I already was upset about it but didn’t have the intensity or passion about it until yesterday,” said Tara Woodson. “I’m upset a man who has a daughter wouldn’t take more time to look into this accusation.”
Shortly after he announced that he would support Kavanaugh’s nomination Friday morning, the moderate Republican was confronted in an elevator by two women who tearfully implored him to change his mind. The stunning confrontation was captured by television cameras.
Lisa Blackhorse, 54, said that footage was a “tipping point” for her and her 22-year-old son to join the protest.
After huddling privately with his colleagues, Flake announced he would vote to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate only if the FBI were to investigate the allegations against the judge.
On Friday, President Donald Trump directed the FBI to launch a supplemental investigation, which “must be limited in scope” and “completed in less than one week.”
Flake, who has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, is retiring after his term ends early next year.
Wiley Adams, a 71-year-old from Fountain Hills, held a sign saying he believes Ford and urged motorists to honk. He said he changed his party affiliation from Republican to independent after Trump won the presidency.
Kyrsten Sinema, the Democratic candidate for Flake’s Senate seat representing Arizona, said in a Friday statement she was “disappointed that the Judiciary Committee moved forward with a vote after yesterday’s volatile hearing, and that a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the United States has become an ugly, partisan fight. ”
Sinema said that Ford and all Americans “deserve a full and thorough FBI investigation” of the allegations before the full Senate issues a final confirmation vote. Her rival in the November election is Republican Martha McSally.
Associated Press writer Anita Snow contributed from Phoenix.