Georgia U.S. Sen. David Perdue on Wednesday left little ambiguity about who he blamed for a contentious run-in with Brett Kavanaugh protesters earlier in the week.
The liberal activists who cornered him and his wife Bonnie in Reagan National Airport on Monday, he said, were incited by Democrats furious about President Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee. In a searing 10-minute speech on the Senate floor, Perdue said Democrats had “gone one tick too far,” comparing his colleagues’ tactics to those utilized the German paramilitary forces that aided Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in the 1930s.
“When the paid activists who support you attack my wife, you have gone too far,” the first-term Republican said. “You are inciting this disrespect of our law.”
Perdue’s comments came two days after several women associated with the progressive advocacy organization the Center for Popular Democracy confronted the couple in the northern Virginia airport. A video of the encounter showed Perdue slipping into a men’s bathroom as one of the group’s leaders shouted after him, “Senator, how can you not talk to women who have been assaulted? How can you ignore our pleas?”
The organization shared videos of similar encounters with other GOP senators from that day.
Perdue was unsparing in his critique of his Democratic colleagues, who he said are looking to derail the Trump administration’s agenda at all costs. He compared their tactics to those used by the Nazi Brownshirts, a guerrilla force that guarded party meetings and violently harassed political opponents.
Without mentioning U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters by name, he referred to the California Democrat’s June comments urging supporters to confront Cabinet officials in public places and “tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”
“These are the tactics of the Brownshirts in Germany in the 1930s,” Perdue said. “Unacceptable. Totally irresponsible.”
One of Trump’s top Senate allies, Perdue has called for the quick confirmation of Kavanaugh and argued that a supplemental FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations was unnecessary given the lack of corroborating evidence.
Democrats contend the GOP is railroading Kavanaugh, a candidate they say does not have the credibility or temperament for the nation’s highest court. They have pointed to the Republican stonewall of Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s 2016 Supreme Court nominee, as evidence of the GOP’s hypocrisy. (Both Perdue and Georgia U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson supported their party’s ultimately successful gambit to hold Antonin Scalia’s seat open until after the presidential election.)
Georgia U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, has raised the possibility of investigating Kavanaugh himself if he is confirmed and Democrats retake control of the House.
“He was angry, emotional, belligerent. He was just rabidly partisan,” Johnson said of Kavanaugh’s testimony during last week’s emotionally-charged Senate Judiciary hearing. “He revealed a part of himself that should disqualify him from sitting on any court.”
Perdue is not the only Republican senators to complain about anti-Kavanaugh protesters in recent days.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his wife were briefly driven out of a D.C. restaurant recently by Kavanaugh opponents, and Capitol Police have arrested dozens of people for unlawfully demonstrating in Capitol Hill office buildings. Maine Republican Susan Collins, a key undecided vote, has begun traveling with a police escort, and picketers have also demonstrated outside of Isakson and Perdue’s metro Atlanta offices in recent days.
Isakson has not said definitively how he will vote on Kavanaugh but has signaled he’s likely to support him if the upcoming FBI probe does not uncover new information.
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