(CNN) — Kellyanne Conway revealed Sunday that she is a victim of a past sexual assault during a discussion about the allegations facing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“I feel very empathetic, frankly, for victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment and rape,” Conway told CNN “State of the Union” anchor Jake Tapper.
Conway then paused for a moment and cleared her throat before making an emotional, personal revelation.
“I’m a victim of sexual assault,” Conway said.
The revelation offers a rare glimpse into the personal life of a member of President Donald Trump’s administration as it is caught in a battle to save its Supreme Court pick from the allegations of sexual assault and misconduct — allegations Kavanaugh has emphatically denied.
While saying that both the accused and accuser need to be treated fairly, Conway said the entire ordeal surrounding Kavanaugh’s nomination shouldn’t be made into a “meeting of the #MeToo movement,” and that she doesn’t expect anyone else to be held responsible for her perpetrator’s conduct.
“This is the first time I’ve ever heard you talk about something personal like that,” Tapper told Conway. “And I’m really sorry.”
“I’ve just had it,” Conway replied.
Tapper pointed out Conway works for a president who has said all the women who have accused him of sexual assault are lying and has also said that informs how he looks at Kavanaugh’s current situation.
“Don’t conflate that with this, and certainly don’t conflate that with what happened to me,” Conway told Tapper.
Conway did not offer additional details about her assault.
“As a survivor of this — and again I’m deeply, personally very sorry about whatever pain you’ve gone through,” Tapper said, starting another question, prompting Conway to respond, “Thank you.”
“But does that not make you think,” Tapper continued, “when you hear somebody like professor Ford, or other people make allegations, does that not make you think these women need to be heard, and even if there are not corroborating witnesses, that … absence of evidence is not evidence of absence?”
“Jake, they should all be heard,” Conway answered. “And they should be heard in courts of law, they should be heard in depositions, they should be heard in proceedings. … But we do treat people differently who are either the victims or perpetrators of this based on their politics now and based on their gender. That is a huge mistake.”
Then Conway turned to the camera and said, “America, it’s a huge mistake.”
Past comments on allegations
Shortly after an allegation of sexual assault against Kavanaugh from Christine Blasey Ford was made public, Conway said Ford “should not be ignored or insulted” and that “she should be heard.”
Both Kavanaugh, who has repeatedly denied Ford’s allegation, and Ford testified about her accusation at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week.
But last Monday, Conway suggested on “CBS This Morning” that the allegations against Kavanaugh were “starting to feel like a vast left-wing conspiracy” after another accuser, Deborah Ramirez, told The New Yorker that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a dormitory party while they were attending Yale University.
Both Kavanaugh and the White House have denied Ramirez’s allegation.
Kavanaugh still has ‘many people’ who believe in him
Conway also said that the support Kavanaugh has received from Republican as well as Democratic women remains steady just days after the Senate hearing.
“And many people do [believe Kavanaugh], including the 100 women who still stand with him, many of whom didn’t vote for President Trump, who nominated Brett Kavanaugh, a number of them who, frankly, are Democrats and will tell you that, who have been out there writing op-eds, giving sworn testimony,” she said.
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