A woman who identified herself as a survivor of rape confronted Sen. Lindsey Graham on Thursday, while the South Carolina Republican was speaking to reporters outside a Senate hearing where Christine Blasey Ford was testifying over sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Graham, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was discussing Ford’s testimony, when a woman who later identified herself on Twitter as Robyn Swirling spoke to Graham.
“Sen. Graham, I was raped 13 years ago,” Swirling told Graham, adding later, “I don’t remember the exact date, but do you believe me?”
Graham said he was sorry for what happened to Swirling and that she needed to go to the authorities.
“You needed to go to the cops,” Graham said. “Go to the cops.”
Graham then left the conversation in a elevator.
In her tweet, Swirling wrote that if Graham “had paused to talk with me, instead of rushing into the elevator, I’d have told him the cops can’t do anything about it now, but that doesn’t make it any less true and doesn’t make me any less credible.”
Swirling’s comments about remembering the exact timing of her rape are relevant as Ford was being questioned by the Republican-appointed outside counsel of Rachel Mitchell about specific details in her description of her account of being allegedly sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh in the 1980s when they were both teenagers. Kavanaugh has vehemently denied the allegations.
The heated exchange during a recess in the a high-stakes hearing where Ford vividly and repeatedly testified to her experience, addressing questions from Mitchell and Senate Democrats. Kavanaugh is testifying later Thursday.
Before Swirling approached Graham, the South Carolina Republican lamented the scrutiny that Kavanaugh has faced following the allegations.
“If you can ignore everything in this record (except) an allegation that’s 35 years old, that’s uncertain in time place date and no corroboration. If that’s enough for you, God help us all as Republicans,” Graham said. “Because this happens to us, but this never happens to them. Let me tell my Democratic friends, if this is the new norm, you better watch out for your nominees.”