Sen. Mazie Hirono said her message to men in this country is to “just shut up and step up. Do the right thing for a change” following the sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Asked Tuesday about being one of just four women on the Senate Judiciary Committee and how that will affect the nomination proceedings, the Hawaii Democrat said, “Of course it helps that there are women on that committee. … But really, guess who’s perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It’s the men in this country. And I just want to say to the men in this country: Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing for a change.”
Both Kavanaugh and the woman who has accused him of physically and sexually assaulting her when they were in high school, Christine Blasey Ford, have been asked to testify before the committee next Monday, though it’s uncertain that will occur.
“Not only do women like Dr. Ford, who bravely comes forward, need to be heard, but they need to be believed. They need to be believed,” Hirono said alongside her Democratic colleagues Tuesday at a news conference on Capitol Hill.
“Her account is very credible,” Hirono said. “I believe her.”
“It’s shocking, but not surprising, that President Trump is not OK’ing the FBI investigation so that there’s at least some attempt at corroboration,” she said.
The full power of the White House is behind Kavanaugh, Hirono said, which puts Ford at a disadvantage and victimizes her: “Haven’t we been here before with the Clarence Thomas hearings?” In those 1991 Supreme Court nomination hearings, Anita Hill accused Thomas, her former boss, of sexual harassment. She faced intense and probing questioning about her encounters with Thomas, who went on to be confirmed.
Hirono said she expects all of the “enlightened men in our country” to rise up and say, “We cannot continue the victimization and the smearing of someone like Dr. Ford.”
“We have to create an environment where women can come forward and be heard and be listened to,” she said.
“I want to thank Dr. Ford. I commend her courage. I believe her.”
CNN’s Arlette Saenz contributed to this report.