Hillary Clinton is criticizing controversial remarks President Donald Trump made during a confirmation ceremony for embattled Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on Monday.
After Kavanaugh was officially confirmed to the Supreme Court over the weekend, the White House arranged a public ceremony for him that gave Trump the opportunity to apologize to Kavanaugh for “pain and suffering” that he had “been forced to endure” after multiple women, including Christine Blasey Ford, accused him of sexual misconduct.
Speaking with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Clinton derided the public gathering for Kavanaugh and called it a “political rally” that “undermined the image and integrity of the court.”
“What was done last night in the White House was a political rally. It further undermined the image and integrity of the court,” Clinton said of Monday’s event. “And that troubles me greatly. It saddens me. Because our judicial system has been viewed as one of the main pillars of our constitutional government. So I don’t know how people are going to react to it. I think, given our divides, it will pretty much fall predictably between those who are for and those who are against.”
Trump spoke positively about Kavanaugh both during and after the ceremony. His comments came just days after he had mocked the testimony Ford made at a widely publicized Senate hearing, during which she detailed her account of being assaulted by Kavanaugh at a party when they were both in high school.
“On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure,” Trump said on Monday. “Those who step forward to serve our country deserve a fair and dignified evaluation. Not a campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception. What happened to the Kavanaugh family violates every notion of fairness, decency and due process.”
Trump also added that in the U.S., every individual is “innocent unless and until proven guilty”—a comment that drew the ire of many social media users, who pointed out that Kavanaugh was never on trial and had not been proven innocent or guilty.
“The President’s been true to form,” Clinton told Amanpour. “He has insulted, attacked, demeaned women throughout the campaign — really for many years leading up to the campaign. And he’s continued to do that inside the White House.”
After being sworn in, Kavanaugh began making preparations to join his fellow justices on the bench on Tuesday for the first time. Kavanaugh reportedly got to work just after he had been confirmed by a 50-48 Senate vote on Saturday and turned to four female clerks he has hired. He is now the first Supreme Court justice in history to have an all-female staff—something he promised during his Senate confirmation hearings.
However, the move isn’t enough to win over protesters, who gathered outside of the Supreme Court on Saturday. Police arrested at least 164 people for acts of civil disobedience.
Earlier this month at the Atlantic Festival in Washington, D.C., Clinton had discussed Kavanaugh and made light of his accusations that the sexual misconduct claims against him had been a result of “revenge on behalf of the Clintons.”
“It deserves a lot of laughter,” she said. “I wasn’t watching when he said that; I was having to be somewhere else and away from a TV and even my phone. And so I heard about it later. I thought it was just part of the whole of his very defensive and unconvincing presentation. And I told someone later, ‘Boy, I’ll tell you, they give us a lot of credit.'”