A day after announcing her run to challenge Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, Democrat Amy McGrath said she would have voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a flip from previous statements in 2018.
Hours later, she changed her mind again.
In an interview published on Wednesday, McGrath told the Louisville Courier Journal she “probably” would’ve voted to confirm Kavanaugh. That ran contrary to what she had posted on social media following Kavanaugh’s nomination in summer 2018.
“I was very concerned about Judge Kavanaugh, what I felt like were the far-right stances that he had. However, there was nothing in his record that I think would disqualify him in any way,” McGrath said in Wednesday’s interview. “And the fact is when you have the President and the Senate, this is our system and so I don’t think there was anything that would have disqualified him in my mind.”
Kavanaugh’s nomination was nearly derailed following allegations of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford. He was ultimately confirmed by Republicans in Congress in a narrow vote along party lines.
McGrath added of Ford’s allegations, “I think it’s credible but given the amount of time that lapsed in between and from a judicial standpoint, I don’t think it would really disqualify him.”
“I think that with Judge Kavanaugh, yeah, I probably would have voted for him,” she said.
Hours after the interview published, McGrath backed off that answer following a backlash on social media.
“I was asked earlier today about Judge Brett Kavanaugh and I answered based upon his qualifications to be on the Supreme Court. But upon further reflection and further understanding of his record, I would have voted no,” McGrath tweeted Wednesday night.
She later added, “I know I disappointed many today with my initial answer on how I would have voted on Brett Kavanaugh. I will make mistakes and always own up to them. The priority is defeating Mitch McConnell.”
Before either statement Wednesday – that she “probably would have voted for” Kavanaugh and later “I would have voted no” – McGrath wrote a deeply critical 2018 Facebook post about the then-nominee, saying she echoes “so many of the concerns that others have articulated.”
“Kavanaugh will likely be confirmed and we are starkly reminded, again, that elections have consequences, and this consequence will be with us for an entire generation,” she said.
McGrath’s multiple stances on Kavanagh’s confirmation – first critical in 2018, then saying Wednesday that she would “probably” have voted to confirm him, followed by a terse “I would have voted no” statement later Wednesday – lay bare the challenges that face a Democrat trying to unseat McConnell in a state President Donald Trump won by 30 points in 2016.
After narrowly losing a bid for Congress last year, McGrath, a former fighter pilot, is leveraging her elevated profile in an attempt to unseat the Republican leader of the Senate, who has served in Congress since 1984.
“Well, it started with this man,” she says of McConnell in her campaign launch video, “who was elected a lifetime ago, and who has, bit by bit, year by year, turned Washington into something we all despise – where dysfunction and chaos are political weapons.”