WASHINGTON - Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to U.S. Supreme Court was roiled further late Thursday by incendiary tweets from a prominent friend and supporter who publicly identified another high school classmate of Kavanaugh’s as a possible attacker of a woman accusing the judge of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers.
Ed Whelan, a former clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia and president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, pointed to floor plans, online photographs and other information to suggest a location for the house party in suburban Maryland that Christine Blasey Ford described. He also named and posted photographs of the classmate he suggested could be responsible.
Ford dismissed Whelan’s theory in a statement late Thursday: “I knew them both, and socialized with” them, Ford said, adding that she had once visited the other classmate in the hospital. “There is zero chance that I would confuse them.”
Republicans on Capitol Hill and White House officials immediately sought to distance themselves from Whelan’s claims and said they were not aware of his plans to identify the former classmate, now a middle school teacher, who could not be reached for comment and did not answer the door at his house Thursday night.
Whelan did not respond to requests for comment. He had told people around him that he had spent several days putting together the theory and thought it was more convincing than her story, according to two friends who had talked to him.
Whelan has been involved in helping to advise Kavanaugh’s confirmation effort and is close friends with both Kavanaugh and Leonard Leo, the head of the Federalist Society who has been helping to spearhead the nomination. Kavanaugh and Whelan also worked together in the Bush administration.
Kavanaugh and his allies have been privately discussing a defense that would not question whether an incident happened to Ford, but instead would raise doubts that the attacker was Kavanaugh, according to a person familiar with the discussions.
Earlier this week, Kavanaugh told Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, one of his most fervent supporters, that Ford has the wrong perpetrator in mind and that he has not attended a party like the one Ford described in the Post account.
Ford has alleged that while she and Kavanaugh were at a house party in the early 1980s, when the two were in high school, Kavanaugh drunkenly pinned her to a bed, groped her and put his hand over her mouth to stifle her screams as he tried to take off her clothes. Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the allegations.