The prosecutor Republicans hired to question Christine Blasey Ford is trying to discredit her by proving she’s been on a plane before.
In an unusual move, the 11 male Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee appointed sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Ford at the Thursday hearing about her allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Mitchell, in an apparent attempt to poke holes in Ford’s credibility, pointed to press reports that Ford had expressed a fear of flying as one of her reasons for not immediately coming to Washington, D.C., to testify before the committee. She then pointed to numerous vacations and work trips that Ford had taken in the past as evidence that Ford had been on a plane before.
Republican pundits have pointed to Ford’s fear of planes as evidence that she may be trying to delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation, apparently unaware that people with a fear of flying can still get on a plane.
Ford responded by calling flights “anxiety-inducing” but noted that a plane taking you to a vacation is less nerve-wracking than one taking you to testify about assault allegations on television.
"I was able to get up the gumption with the help of some friends and get on the plane," Ford said.
Mitchell also asked a series of questions about the Senate Republican's offer to send staff to interview her in California — presumably so she wouldn't have to fly. Ford said that she didn't completely understand the offer but would have gladly hosted Senate staff to her home.
The questioning was in line with the Republicans' strategy of asking Ford about all kinds of details around the alleged attempted rape in 1982 and not the incident itself.
The president's son approved.
Democrats have criticized the Republican appointment of a prosecutor to question Ford, who is not on trial. When Anita Hill, for example, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about her accusations against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, GOP senators asked questions themselves.
Cover: Christine Blasey Ford at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. A professor at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. (Photo by Melina Mara-Pool/Getty Images)