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Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley is getting dragged for his displays of sexism at the Christine Blasey Ford hearing, where he repeatedly interrupted and disrespected women.
Blasey Ford testified about her claim that she was sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh when both were in high school in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh, who will testify this afternoon, has denied the allegations.
Grassley's first interruption came when Sen. Dianne Feinstein, ranking member (the senior Democrat) on the committee, was introducing Blasey Ford. "Before you get to your testimony, and the chairman chose not to do this, I think it's important to make sure you're properly introduced," Feinstein said. Grassley then talked over Feinstein, saying, "I was going to introduce her. ... I want you to know I didn't forget to do it, because I would do that just as she was about to speak."
After Feinstein finished, the Iowa Republican criticized her for mentioning other accusations against Kavanaugh. "I'm sorry you brought up about the unsubstantiated allegations of other people because we're here for the sole purpose of listening to Dr. Ford, and we'll consider other issues other times," he said.
When Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, who was handling the questioning, was going over a letter detailing Blasey Ford's allegations, he cut her off because of a five-minute time limit he was imposing, which got him criticized even by conservative commentator Laura Ingraham, who tweeted that he was being "imprudent."
Grassley claimed he was "rudely interrupted" by Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris when she asked for copies of documents Mitchell was using, but women in the audience could be heard saying, "There's nothing rude about it," as USA Today reports. He also interrupted Sen. Amy Klobuchar, another Democrat, when she made a remark about the reopening of an investigation of Anita Hill's allegations of sexual harassment by Clarence Thomas (Hill had come forward with the allegations when his nomination to the Supreme Court was being considered in 1991).
Also, "near the end of their exchange over entering polygraph results into the record, he told Klobuchar: 'You got what you wanted. You'd think you'd be satisfied,'" The Washington Post notes.
Grassley's wrath wasn't completely limited to women. He also got angry at Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, after Durbin told Blasey Ford, "The fact that you are prepared to name both Judge Kavanaugh and eyewitness Mark Judge stands in sharp contrast to the obstruction we've seen on the other side."
Grassley contended it was Democrats who were obstructing because they waited so long to make Blasey Ford's letter about the alleged assault public. "Between July 30 and September 13, there were 45 days this committee could have been investigating this situation and her privacy would have been protected," Grassley said. "So something happened here in between on your side."
See some of the Twitter reactions to Grassley's behavior below.
\u201cWhy the heck did @ChuckGrassley just interrupt Mitchell\u2019s questioning? Really really imprudent!\u201d— Laura Ingraham (@Laura Ingraham) 1538060448
\u201cChuck Grassley just can't seem to help himself. Even in obviously hiring a woman lawyer to hide his sexism, it just bursts out in the open with these condescending interruptions. \n\n#KavanaughHearings\u201d— Charlotte Clymer \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@Charlotte Clymer \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6) 1538066344
\u201c"I don't know if it is fair for me to interrupt." Chuck Grassley, the man who is interrupting Dr. Ford IN THE MIDDLE of her testimony of sexual assault\n\nThey hired a woman to question Dr. Ford because the optics of all white men were so bad, but Grassley can't help himself.\u201d— W. Kamau Bell (@W. Kamau Bell) 1538060732