At the start of the week, Democratic senators demanded their Republican counterparts invite Brett Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Ford, to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
After Republicans agreed and invited her to share her story -- either in public or in a private, closed-door session -- Senate Democrats said the invitation amounted to "bullying" Ford. In seeking her testimony, Republicans, one senator said, are "re-victimizing" her.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has called Republicans' treatment of Ford "outrageous" and "nothing short of shameful." In inviting her to testify this coming Monday, Gillibrand said, they're trying to "bully" her.
“What the Republicans are doing is outrageous," Gillibrand said Wednesday. "They are creating a false choice, they are trying to bully her into testifying on Monday before a full FBI background check is completed. First, nomination for the Supreme Court for any judicial nomination, there is always an FBI investigation; they do it as part of the background check."
"This allegation is new, they should have at least a thorough and nonpartisan review of the facts, and then those facts can be presented to the senators so that they can have a proper hearing," she continued. "But unfortunately they are trying to set up a he said/she said scenario, and bullying her into either testifying on Monday or not being heard at all.”
Sen. Mazi Hirono (D-HI) accused Republicans of "callousness" and "re-victimizing" Ford in asking for her to share her allegations with the Senate.
"When Dr. Ford said she would testify, I think she expected a modicum of a fair kind of situation," Hirono told CNN. "You know what happened right after she came forward on Sunday? I think that’s when most of us read about it. The committee said, hey, we want to have a hearing with you, how about this coming Tuesday? Oh, if that’s not good, how about Thursday? The callousness with which she was treated — you know for any of us to have dealt at all with the experience of sexual trauma knows that this is very particularly damaging kind of experience, and you do not treat a person who has gone through this like, oh, well, hey, how about this?"
"You know, I think it’s appalling," she emphasized. "And I am totally disappointed that all of these people who have come forward to say we should hear from her. And now that she is expected a modicum of fairness that she’s not re-victimized are now saying, well if she doesn’t want to testify, we should just go ahead. That is additional callousness from my colleagues that I am totally appalled by.”
At the same time, Hirono said holding Monday's hearing without Ford would also "re-victimize" Ford. Asked if she would attend Monday's hearing even if Ford doesn't attend, the senator said she would in hopes of stemming this "re-victimization."
“The reason that I would do it again is that by not being there and not asking him particular questions that this is going to add to the further victimization for Dr. Ford," she said. "But I will be there, objecting to the fact that we are going ahead without affording her the fairness that we would afford everybody else. I asked all my colleagues who are so happy to say, ‘Well, if she is not willing to testify we should just go ahead,’ I want to say to them ‘What if this was your daughter? How would you want her to be treated?’ Do we not have a sense of empathy for people? Do we not have a sense of fair play?"
Hillary Clinton's former director of communications, Jennifer Palmieri, said Republican men are "bullying" Ford and "trying to scare her."
"Women will be pretty outraged at how this is unfolding," Palmieri said. "When I see what the Senate Republicans are doing today, you know, yesterday they seemed a little tentative and nervous and today insisting and even in a bullying manner that Dr. Ford proceed with the hearing on Monday I think they’re trying to scare her. You know? I think they’re trying to give her a taste of what it might be like when she sits down to testify and hope that she doesn’t do it."