Politics

Mazie Hirono: ‘I Think Lindsey Is Channeling Trump’

Hawaii Democratic senator replies to GOP Sen. Graham’s criticism of Kavanaugh confirmation ‘mob rule’

Sen. Mazie Hirono dropped some choice remarks on her Judiciary Committee colleague. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham’s sharp critique of her, Sen. Mazie K. Hirono hears echoes of his party’s standard-bearer.

“I do think Lindsey is channeling [President Donald] Trump to a great extent,” the Hawaii Democrat said Tuesday in an interview with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “Frankly, it is so outrageous. It just shows that they will say anything to win.”

The senators have sparred in recent weeks over the tumultuous confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

On Monday, Graham said Hirono’s standard was that Kavanaugh was “guilty till proven innocent,” and that the confirmation process devolved into “mob rule.”

Hirono’s profile rose throughout the Kavanaugh debate. The senator pressed the nominee on the rights of native Hawaiians and whether he had any knowledge of mistreatment of women by U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski.

She passionately praised Christine Blasey Ford — who testified that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the 1980s — and referred to the Judiciary Committee vote as a “railroad job.” Graham likewise made headlines for his emotional defense of the judge.

Republicans have argued Kavanaugh is “innocent until proven guilty” — a legal standard in criminal trials. Advocates for survivors of sexual assault and Democrats like Hirono argue credible accusations should have disqualified the judge from a powerful lifetime appointment.

“Of course, they know it’s not” a criminal trial, Hirono told the paper. “This is a job application. Nobody is entitled to a promotion to the Supreme Court. So would you hire someone who is credibly accused of sexually assaulting someone? And would you hire someone who behaved in the totally partisan way that he did to a position for lifetime that requires one to be nonpartisan?”

On Fox News Monday night, Graham said this expectation of a Supreme Court nominee is extreme.

“The Hirono standard was horrific,” the South Carolina senator said. “What was insulting was the way that the senator from Hawaii took everything we hold near and dear and threw it over because she didn’t like Kavanaugh, didn’t like Trump.”

Host Sean Hannity mocked Hirono for an appeal she made during the confirmation proceedings.

“Guess who is perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It’s the men in this country,” Hirono said in September, voicing the anger of many of the women who protested to oppose Kavanaugh. “And I just want to say to the men in this country, shut up, and step up. Do the right thing.”

Watch: Hirono on Kavanaugh Accusation: Men Need to ‘Shut Up and Step Up’

“By the way, senator, you shouldn’t be saying that,” Hannity said to Graham. “You should ‘shut up and sit down,’ she said. She said men should shut up and sit down. Shut up, senator, and sit down.”

Graham replied with a laugh, “It’s probably right half the time.”

Hannity also congratulated the senator on his role in Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

“Sen. Graham, I’ve said this to you before and I’ll say it again to you tonight, I don’t think this could have happened without you.”

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