Phil Bredesen, U.S. Senate candidate for Tennessee, released a statement on Friday saying that he had reservations about the events surrounding the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, he nevertheless would vote to approve his appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The statement came as the Senate voted to end debate on the matter.
“Presidents have the right to appoint justices who share their values — elections have consequences,” Bredesen’s statement said. “I believe a Senator’s responsibility to ‘advise and consent’ is not a license to indulge in partisanship, but should focus on the qualifications of the nominee, their ethics and their temperament.
“I believed that Judge Kavanaugh initially met this test, and I was prepared to say ‘yes’ to his nomination prior to Dr. Ford’s coming forward. While the subsequent events make it a much closer call, and I am missing key pieces of information that a sitting Senator has, I’m still a ‘yes.’
His opponent in the Senate race, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, has supported Kavanaugh since he first was nominated. Her campaign has repeatedly criticized Bredesen for not taking a position earlier. She released a harsh response to Bredesen’s statement, repeating a consistent charge that Bredesen’s campaign was being directed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY:
“The timing of Phil Bredesen’s announcement is no coincidence. It’s a ploy to divert attention away from his record on sexual harassment and his weak record on illegal immigration policies. He thinks this will get him off the hook for his own sexual harassment problems, but there’s no covering up the fact that he destroyed evidence regarding sexual harassment claims against his friends and political allies. As governor, he gave drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants. He opposes the wall, and he opposes President Trump’s travel ban. His campaign is bought and paid for by Chuck Schumer and national Democrats, including Michael Bloomberg. He put off an answer on Judge Kavanaugh for 88 days, under Chuck Schumer’s direction to stay neutral as long as you can. The contrast on these issues could not be more clear.”
Bredesen’s statement also mentioned Christine Blasey Ford, a research psychologist in Northern California who accused Kavanaugh of trying to rape her when they were teenagers.
“Dr. Ford is a heroine, and has brought forcefully into the national conversation the many barriers women face in reporting and dealing with sexual harassment and assault,” Bredesen wrote. “I was disgusted by the treatment she received at the hands of the Senate and am determined to help bring about a fairer and far more respectful treatment of these issues.”