"Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" (YouTube/ LastWeekTonight)

John Oliver dedicates entire episode to exposing hypocrisy of GOP on Brett Kavanaugh

John Oliver: GOP's push for Kavanaugh is to say a big "F**k you to women"


Rachel Leah
October 1, 2018 2:38PM (UTC)

John Oliver delivered some bad news to start Sunday's edition of "Last Week Tonight." There will be no fun or quirky topics, he announced, because "we need to talk about Brett Kavanaugh — Supreme Court nominee and walking crushed beer can."

Oliver then played footage from the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday where Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh testified. Ford alleges that in the 1980s and while the two were in high school, Kavanaugh drunkenly forced her into a bedroom, pinned her to the bed, tried to remove her clothes and covered her mouth when she attempted to scream. Kavanaugh denies the allegation.

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"By lunchtime on Thursday, it honestly seemed that Kavanaugh's confirmation could be finished," Oliver said, "even Fox News was implying as much."

"Last Week Tonight" then aired a clip of Fox News host Chris Wallace describing Ford's testimony as "extremely credible" and "a disaster for the Republicans."

Oliver went on to spend the bulk of his program examining Kavanaugh's testimony in detail, "because in every regard, it could not have been more different from Ford's."

Kavanaugh veered between yelling and weeping as he testified about seemingly banal memories, like lifting weights with his friends or keeping calendars. "I hate to say it, but I'm starting to think that men might be too emotional for the Supreme Court," Oliver joked. "Also, he'd be really pretty if he'd just smiled more."

"But when Kavanaugh wasn't choking back tears, he was starting to get noticeably angry, arguing that he was the victim of a giant conspiracy," the HBO host continued.

Kavanaugh repeated multiple times that he "liked beer," but when he was pressed on the extent of his drinking, the Supreme Court nominee became "dismissive and outright hostile, and it was at those moments, that you got a real sense of who this man actually is," Oliver said. One shocking moment came when Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-MN asked Kavanaugh if he ever drank so much that he blacked out, to which he replied, "I don't know, have you?"

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"Okay, so first, aside from being deeply disrespectful, 'have you' is just not the answer of an innocent person. If you ask someone if they ever blew a dog and they go, 'I don’t know, have you?' That person blew a dog! He blew a fucking dog, and in all likelihood not just one, either," Oliver said. "That surly tone was emblematic of Kavanaugh’s demeanor throughout the hearing — not the tone of a man who hopes to one day have the honor of serving on the Supreme Court, but the tone of someone who feels entitled to be on it, and frankly can’t believe that you’re being such a dick about this."

But it wasn't just Kavanaugh's emotional or belligerent demeanor and testimony that was problematic, according to Oliver, he also repeatedly misled the committee when he attempted to poke holes in Ford's allegation. Kavanaugh said over and over again that "all four witnesses" who Ford claims were at the house when the assault took place "said it didn't happen."

"Except, this 53-year-old frat pledge is actually significantly misstating the facts there, because in reality, three of those people merely said that they didn’t recall the party as described, and Ford’s friend Ms. Kaiser did specifically say 'she believes Ford’s allegation,' and the fourth person there is Kavanaugh himself," Oliver noted. "So Kavanaugh just wildly mischaracterized evidence, and that is one thing a judge really should know not to do."

READ MORE: Ford-Kavanaugh showdown is an important battle: But now progressives must fight the war

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Oliver also addressed Kavanaugh's high school yearbook, which appears to be filled with drinking and sexual innuendos, though, Kavanaugh attempted to downplay significantly. "While it may seem unbelievably petty, to give this much attention to a high schooler's yearbook, you have to remember, to some extent, many were watching this hearing to try and ascertain who was more trustworthy," Oliver said. "Was it the terrified psychology professor, who blew up her entire life to relive her trauma on a national stage? Or was it judge Animal House, who seemed to be sweatily making up drinking games before members of the Senate?"

The late-night host marveled at how for most Republican senators, Kavanaugh's "poor performance" was irrelevant because they had already decided to stand by him. "This is a national disgrace, the way you’re being treated!" Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-UT declared, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, shouted: "This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics!"

Graham "is not actually wrong there," Oliver said. "This process was deeply flawed, but that’s because he and the Republican majority designed it that way. If they wanted to avoid a he-said-she-said situation, they absolutely could have, but instead they only called two people. . . A much fairer process would have been gathering evidence and hearing from others."

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"But that is not how Republicans chose to set up the hearing," Oliver continued.

The "Last Week Tonight" host cited many moments in Kavanaugh's testimony that should have been "disqualifying," but whether you believed his side or not, his temperament and accusation of a partisan conspiracy, stood in direct contrast to the objective judge he is supposed to be.

Given all this, Oliver struggled to understand why Republicans were insistent about pushing through Kavanaugh's nomination, despite the sexual assault allegations, and considering Kavanaugh is not "uniquely qualified." And so he concluded, the only explanation is "they're doing this just to deliver a 'fuck you' to Democrats and even more, directly, a 'fuck you' to women."

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Watch below, via HBO:


Rachel Leah

Rachel Leah is a culture writer for Salon. You can follow her on Twitter: @rachelkleah.

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