Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, facing a tough reelection fight, ridicules sex assault accusation against Kavanaugh

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa).
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa).
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, in a tight race to retain his Orange County seat, ridiculed the decades-old allegation of sexual assault that has thrown the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh into turmoil, according to a recording acquired by Talking Points Memo.

“This guy who’s going to be our Supreme Court justice,” he said, “and he better be our Supreme Court judge, he’s a perfect candidate. And what do they say? ‘Well, in high school you did this.’ High school? Give me a break.”

The recording appears to have come from a recent campaign event with young supporters, with Rohrabacher warning them that technology made it possible to track down and judge “every phone call you make, every deal you make, every time you click something on . . .your home computer.”

That brought him to the accusation against Kavanaugh by Christine Blasey Ford, a Palo Alto professor, who said the judge assaulted her at a party, probably in 1982, when she was 15 and he was 17. In an interview with the Washington Post, she said Kavanaugh pinned her down on a bed, groped her, put his hand over her mouth to keep her quiet and fumbled drunkenly to remove her clothes, before she escaped.


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Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the allegation, and has offered to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee next week. Ford said Thursday she also would agree to testify next week, on condition that the hearing is conducted in a “fair” manner and that her safety be guaranteed. Since she went public with her story, she says she has received death threats.

Rohrabacher, of Costa Mesa, a staunch supporter of President Trump, began his comments about Kavanaugh with a reference to the dystopian classic novel “1984.”

“George Orwell, he was so incredibly insightful and could see what’s going to happen,” he said. “But that’s the challenge you’re going to have. At least I didn’t have to worry about that.”

After he mocked the allegation, a supporter joked about Kavanaugh “cutting in line on hamburger day.”

Rohrabacher’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment about the recording.

The congressman has held his seat in the 48th Congressional District since 1988, but changing demographics and Trump’s low popularity in the area have prompted Democrats to launch a serious challenge. Polls have him and his challenger, real estate entrepreneur Harley Rouda, virtually tied, and most handicapping groups call the race a toss-up.