Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith: Kavanaugh vote 'easy for me ... anger understandable'
By Geoff Pender and Deborah Barfield Berry
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith on Friday said her vote to move Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination along was "easy for me" but that "the anger around the nation is understandable."
"The excellent impression Judge Kavanaugh made when we met only grew stronger after I reviewed his record, and followed a confirmation process that can only be described as unnecessarily ugly," Republican Hyde-Smith said in a statement Friday. "The FBI’s supplemental background investigation only reaffirmed my earlier judgment that Brett Kavanaugh is imminently qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. I look forward to his confirmation."
After the vote, Hyde-Smith refused comment to the Clarion Ledger's Washington correspondent, instead issuing a written statement. Soon after the vote in the chamber, she chatted with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who sits in front of her.
Hyde-Smith, the first woman to serve Mississippi in the U.S. Senate, has pledged unwavering support for President Trump and praised his nomination of Kavanaugh. The Senate voted Friday to move Kavanaugh's nomination to a final floor vote Saturday.
“The anger around the nation is understandable but could have been avoided," Hyde-Smith said. "Senate Democrats could have followed procedure rather than raw politics. Decisions made by the Democratic minority have instead resulted in a disservice to victims of sexual violence, to Judge Kavanaugh and the American people.”
Sen. Roger Wicker also voted in favor of the cloture to send the nomination forward and called the vote “encouraging and a relief.” Still, he acknowledged the process has been a bitter partisan battle in the Senate.
“It’s been awful,’’ he said. “This is a low point for the Senate.”
As Wicker headed back to his Senate office, protesters in the basement of the building yelled at him urging him to vote no Saturday.
“Senator, it’s not too late for you to hear the American people,” one yelled.
He responded, “I’m going to vote yes.”
Wicker dismissed them as paid protesters. “I think they’re paid by George Soros to try to prevent a conservative from getting on the Supreme Court — pure and simple,’’ he said.
Wicker attended the briefing of the FBI report for senators Thursday, but said he hadn’t read the report. “For most of us, that was sufficient,’’ he said of the briefing.
Wicker said he wasn’t here for the bitter confirmation battle of Robert Bork, but said that debate seemed to be more about judicial philosophy.
“This was about defeating someone based on a character assassination and a charge that not only couldn’t be corroborated but was actually refuted by one of Dr. Ford’s best friends,’’ Wicker said. “It got pretty sleazy by the time it was all over.”
Senators voted 51 to 49 to end debate Friday with two lawmakers crossing party lines. By late Friday it appeared there are sufficient votes to finalize Kavanaugh's nomination on Saturday.