Inhofe praises Collins decision, says Kavanaugh demonstrators are “not real people”


Protesters in the Hart Senate Office Building silently held up their hands in solidarity during Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Megan Ross / Gaylord News)

WASHINGTON, D.C Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe praised a fellow senator’s commitment to confirming Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, saying Sen. Susan Collins’ Friday speech on the issue was the best he’s heard yet.

Inhofe, who was at the White House Friday afternoon to witness President Trump’s signing of the FAA reauthorization bill, said he watched Collins’ 45-minute speech with the president. Collins’ speech, which detailed her support for Kavanaugh’s confirmation, cemented the votes apparently necessary to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

“The president thought that the speech that Susan Collins gave was the best speech that we have had in the last two weeks of speeches on this issue of the Supreme Court,” Inhofe told Gaylord News. “She covered everything, and did so in her own gentle way… she does what she really believes is right — I can’t say that for everybody around here.”

The speech came hours after the Senate voted to move Kavanaugh’s nomination to a full confirmation vote, which is expected to take place around 5 p.m. Saturday.

Inhofe and fellow Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford have been firm supporters of Kavanaugh’s nomination since July, even through allegations of sexual misconduct against the judge. Inhofe also expressed his support for Kavanaugh during a speech on the Senate floor Friday.

Inhofe told Gaylord News he’s known and respected Kavanaugh for years, and his opinion of the judge is unchanged despite Christine Blasey-Ford’s testimony accusing Kavanaugh of an attempted sexual assault more than 30 years ago.

“I would say if the accusations that were made had any foundation of truth, any corroboration, then I’d have to re-look at it, even though it’s something that didn’t happen, but that he was accused of 30 years ago,” Inhofe said. “I would have to really think if these things came out to have any credibility at all. They didn’t, so I didn’t have to worry about that.”

While Inhofe said there are some liberal Oklahomans who oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation, he believes most of his constituents support his view on the subject.

“I think the majority of people in Oklahoma would agree with me on this,” Inhofe said. “…I think most of the Oklahomans are conservative, and they’re very pleased with Judge Kavanaugh.”

The senator, who has represented Oklahoma since 1994, said this confirmation process has been more divisive than past Supreme Court confirmations. Though organizers have flooded Capitol Hill for more than a week to protest Kavanaugh, Inhofe said he believes the protestors claiming to be Oklahomans are “not real people.”

“A group came up to me claiming to be from Oklahoma, then I realized they were not from Oklahoma,” Inhofe said. “But they research each member and try to say that they’re from that state, and it gets pretty violent… again, these are not real people. These are people that are professional protestors, and we can see them as they are.”


Gaylord News is a Washington reporting project of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma.