Supreme Court

Mississippi’s Hyde-Smith: ‘I believe Judge Kavanaugh’

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., left, meets with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, right, in her office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., left, meets with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, right, in her office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) AP

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith used her first speech on U.S. Senate floor Wednesday to offer “strong and unyielding support” for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“I believe Judge Kavanaugh when he says these events never happened, not three decades ago, not ever,” said Hyde-Smith, R-Mississippi, one of six Republican women in the Senate.

“It seems opponents of Judge Kavanaugh are engaged in character assassination to destroy the reputation of a devoted public servant, a loving husband and father,” she said.

Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of attempt rape when he was in high school, are scheduled to testify Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Two othe women have accused him of sexually inappropriate behavior.

Hyde-Smith said her “heart breaks for victims of assault and abuse” and “it’s an issue that must never be taken lightly.” But she accused Senate Democrats of dredging up the accusations against Kavanaugh at “the 11th hour” to derail his confirmation.

“When it became clear that Judge Kavanaugh had a clear path to confirmation, the opposition chose to introduce accusations of alleged misconduct that had yet to be back by verified facts or any evidence,” she told colleagues. “It seems in their desperation knowing he was about to be confirmed with no obstacle stopping him, they panicked.”

After meeting with Kavanaugh and reviewing his judicial record, Hyde-Smith said that she determined that Kavanaugh “is a disciple of the rule of law and judicial restraint” and “a champion of the Constitution.”

The Mississippi Coast got a preview in October 2017 of how state Sen. Chris McDaniel's 2018 campaign for Senate would be fought. He spoke at McElroy's in Ocean Springs.

“He has earned my support,” Hyde-Smith said. “I encourage my colleagues to support him as well.”

In office less than six months, Hyde-Smith was appointed by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant to temporarily fill the seat of Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Mississippi, who retired in April citing health reasons.

Hyde-Smith is running against conservative Republican firebrand Chris McDaniel and former House member and Clinton administration Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy in a so-called “jungle” special election November 6 to fill the remainder of Cochran’s term.

If no one receives over 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers will vie in a runoff. If Hyde-Smith wins, she will be the first woman elected to Congress from Mississippi.

President Donald Trump endorsed Hyde-Smith in a tweet last month, noting that “Cindy has voted for our Agenda in the Senate 100% of the time.”

McDaniel, who narrowly lost to Cochran in 2014, had been rhetorically attacking Republicans, and Hyde-Smith in particular, for not already voting on Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“The Left’s strategy to falsely accuse, silence, censor and destroy anyone they don’t like must be stopped and @cindyhydesmith, as a representative of the people of Mississippi, should be out front leading the charge for Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation,” he tweeted on Monday. “Her silence is deafening.”

Hyde-Smith had never made a speech on the Senate floor until Wednesday.

“You listen and learn before delivering a maiden speech, but there’s precedent during matters of great importance and critical times for the future of our country to make remarks,” she said. “Today I am compelled by duty to our country and the people of Mississippi to speak in strong and unyielding support for Judge Brett Kavanaugh.”

William Douglas: 202-383-6026, @williamgdouglas