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Hirono says Sen. Lindsey Graham ‘channeling Trump’ after blistering criticism on Fox News

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is welcomed by protesters opposed to President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, as they demonstrate in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 20. Hirono says she was disappointed by recent comments Sen. Lindsey Graham made on Fox News, in which he sharply criticized her role in the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., points as Democrats as he defends Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday. Sen. Lindsey Graham recently made comments on Fox News, in which he sharply criticized Sen. Mazie Hirono’s role in the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

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Democratic U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono says she was disappointed by recent comments Sen. Lindsey Graham made on Fox News, in which he sharply criticized her role in the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Hirono said that she had been able to work with Graham on bipartisan issues in the past.

“I do think Lindsey is channeling Trump to a great extent,” Hirono told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser today. “I’m very disappointed because I worked with Lindsey on immigration issues and other issues … Frankly, it is so outrageous; it just shows that they will say anything to win.”

Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Monday that Hirono acted as though Kavanaugh was “guilty until proven innocent” when it came to allegations of sexual assault brought by Christine Blasey Ford. He said Republicans had wanted to ensure that a Senate confirmation process that devolved into “mob rule” wasn’t legitimized by Kavanaugh withdrawing or not being confirmed. Kavanaugh was sworn in Monday.

“The Hirono standard was horrific,” said Graham. “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.”

Hannity interrupted Graham, mocking comments Hirono had made last month that men need to “just shut up and step up” when it comes to listening to alleged victims of sexual assault.

“By the way, senator, you shouldn’t be saying that,” Hannity joked 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 laughed and quipped, “It’s probably right half the time.”

Graham went on to compare Hirono’s approach to that of Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine who cast a pivotal vote in favor of Kavanaugh, as he urged people to vote in the general elections.

“Do you want to live in the world of Sen. Hirono where you are guilty until proven innocent because you are a Republican? Or do you want to live in the Susan Collins world where you will actually be heard, listened to and evaluated?” said Graham.

Hirono responded that Republicans continue to act as though the confirmation hearings were a criminal trial.

“Of course, they know it’s not. This is a job application. Nobody is entitled to a promotion to the Supreme Court,” she said. “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?”

Hirono, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, played a visible role throughout Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. In addition to speaking out in support of Ford, Hirono was critical of Kavanaugh’s record on reproductive rights, Native Hawaiian and indigenous rights and environmental protections.

Her vocal criticism of President Donald Trump and Republican policies have elicited strong reactions from leading Republican figures, locally and nationally. The Hawaii Republican Party has dubbed her “crazy Mazie,” reminiscent of the nicknames Trump would give his opponents during the 2016 presidential race.

“I must have really pressed their buttons,” Hirono said. “This is what they do; they attack people. They don’t even care about any kind of a factual basis for their attack. What they do is attack, and winning at all costs — that’s what they stand for.”

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