UNITED STATES - AUGUST 17: Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., is interviewed at Boneshaker Coffee in Bismarck, N.D., on August 17, 2018. Cramer is running against...
Tom Williams

GOP’s Cramer lands in a ditch, finds a shovel, digs deeper

Updated

Rep. Kevin Cramer, the Republican Party’s U.S. Senate candidate in North Dakota, first ran into trouble on Friday. Trying to defend Brett Kavanaugh against the sexual assault allegation from Christine Blasey Ford, the GOP congressman dismissed the professor’s claim as “absurd,” adding, “[I]t was supposedly an attempt or something that never went anywhere.”

Given the nature of the controversy, that wasn’t much of an answer, though Cramer managed to make matters worse. The Republican explained to the NBC affiliate in Fargo yesterday that he meant that “there was no type of intercourse or anything like that.”

Not surprisingly, that didn’t help clarify matters, since intercourse isn’t a necessary component of a sexual assault.

But the Washington Post  reported on just how far down this road Cramer was willing to go.

Rep. Kevin Cramer, the Republican nominee for Senate in North Dakota, questioned Monday whether a sexual assault accusation against Brett M. Kavanaugh should disqualify him from the Supreme Court, even if the allegation is true. […]

In the interview with host Chris Berg televised Monday, Cramer said that if something like what California professor Christine Blasey Ford alleges about Kavanaugh is accurate, “it’s tragic, it’s unfortunate, it’s terrible.” But, he added of Kavanaugh, “even if it’s all true, does it disqualify him? It certainly means that he did something really bad 36 years ago, but does it disqualify him from the Supreme Court?”

So to recap, Christine Blasey Ford alleges that Kavanaugh “pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.” The professor told the Washington Post she feared for her life at the time.

A U.S. Senate candidate initially dismissed the significance of this alleged incident – the attack “never went anywhere,” he said – only to conclude that it doesn’t much matter “even if it’s all true.”

Of course, if Ford’s version of events is accurate, it means the Supreme Court nominee is lying. When the journalist in Fargo reminded the GOP congressman about this, Cramer replied, “If it’s found that he knew, that he recalls it, he knew it happened, and lies about it, then I think that would disqualify him.”

How anyone could prove to Cramer’s satisfaction what was in Kavanaugh’s mind is unclear.

As for the bigger picture, let’s not forget Cramer’s rhetorical history. As we discussed yesterday, it’s a record that includes making derogatory comments about Democratic women’s attire and an unfortunate defense of Alabama’s Roy Moore.

In April 2017, CNN quoted a Senate GOP campaign veteran who said at the time, “On paper, it looks like he could win, but he also appears to have a few Akin-like tendencies that make a lot of people nervous.”

A year and a half later, perhaps those concerns were well grounded?