The embattled Supreme Court nominee is getting blowback from the Fox News interview he conducted on Monday, where he presented an image of himself as having been a wholesome teen and young man who was mostly focused on his studies and only on occasion drank. Both The New York Times and The Washington Post have published extensive reports from nearly a dozen friends and acquaintances who knew the young Kavanaugh. Taken together, these reports paint a very different picture of the young nominee, who is best characterized as a hard drinker.
In the Fox interview, Kavanaugh said of his younger self: “I was focused on academics and athletics, going to church every Sunday at Little Flower, working on my service projects, and friendship, friendship with my fellow classmates and friendship with girls from the local all girls Catholic schools.” He did acknowledge some drinking, but framed it as typical teenage hijinks: “And yes, there were parties. And the drinking age was 18, and yes, the seniors were legal and had beer there. And yes, people might have had too many beers on occasion and people generally in high school—I think all of us have probably done things we look back on in high school and regret or cringe a bit, but that’s not what we’re talking about.”
Contrasting with that account, The New York Times claims that “nearly a dozen people who knew him well or socialized with him said Judge Kavanaugh was a heavy drinker in college.”
As The Washington Post reports, Kavanaugh’s subdued account of being a virtuous youth doesn’t jibe with the memories of some of those who knew jurist in high school and at Yale:
Liz Swisher, who described herself as a friend of Kavanaugh in college, said she was shocked that — in an interview focused largely on his high school years and allegations of sexual misconduct — he strongly denied drinking to the point of blacking out.
“Brett was a sloppy drunk, and I know because I drank with him. I watched him drink more than a lot of people. He’d end up slurring his words, stumbling,” said Swisher, a Democrat and chief of the gynecologic oncology division at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “There’s no medical way I can say that he was blacked out. . . . But it’s not credible for him to say that he has had no memory lapses in the nights that he drank to excess.”
Another Yale friend is similar skeptical of the Fox interview:
Lynne Brookes, who like Swisher was a college roommate of one of the two women now accusing Kavanaugh of misconduct, said the nominee’s comments on Fox did not match the classmate she remembered.
“He’s trying to paint himself as some kind of choir boy,” said Brookes, a Republican and former pharmaceutical executive who recalled an encounter with a drunken Kavanaugh at a fraternity event. “You can’t lie your way onto the Supreme Court, and with that statement out, he’s gone too far. It’s about the integrity of that institution.”
Brookes hits the key question: can you lie your way to the Supreme Court? With his shameless revisionist account of his past, Kavanaugh is putting this question to the test.