Straight shooter

‘Badass’ senator Mazie Hirono has a message for men: ‘Shut up and step up’

Senator Mazie Hirono speaks with Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Patty Murray at her sides, about the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the sexual assault accusation against him, at the U.S. Capitol on Capitol Hill, September 18, 2018. (REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Senator Mazie Hirono came out all guns blazing on Tuesday in a vigorous defense of the need to listen to — and believe — sexual assault victims.

The Hawaii Democrat called on the men of America to “just shut up and step up. Do the right thing for a change.” Her comments came in the wake of claims made by Christine Blasey Ford that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when the pair were teenagers, and amid calls by Democrats and Ford’s attorneys for an FBI investigation of the matter before Ford is asked to testify in Kavanaugh’s confirmation proceedings.

Hirono was asked how being one of only four women on the Senate Judiciary Committee might affect Kavanaugh’s nomination process, in the light of the allegations. “Of course it helps that there are women on that committee … But really, guess who’s perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It’s the men in this country.”

“Not only do women like Dr. Ford, who bravely comes forward, need to be heard, but they need to be believed. They need to be believed,” Hirono said alongside her Democratic colleagues, Richard Blumenthal, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Patty Murray, at a Tuesday news conference on Capitol Hill.

Hirono said she was angry at the victimization of Ford, and with the fast tracking of the confirmation process.

“I expect all of the enlightened men in our country, ’cause there must be millions of men out there who are enlightened, who also will rise up to say we cannot continue the victimization and the smearing of someone like Dr. Ford,” Hirono said. “And you know what, she is under no obligation to participate in the Republican efforts to sweep this whole thing under the rug, to continue this nomination on the fast track and to participate in a smear campaign and basically a railroad job. This is what they did to Anita Hill.”

Watch Senator Hirono’s passionate appeal to the press below:

Senator Hirono has developed a reputation as a “badass,” a description she embraces, for her tough line of questioning at confirmation hearings, and has one tough question she always asks any and all nominees put before the Senate, regardless of the government post they’ve been nominated for: whether they have ever been accused of sexual misconduct or signed a nondisclosure agreement. Her goal, she says, is to ensure that the nominees answers are on the record in case it is later revealed that they lied.

She asked Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing if he had ever committed sexual harassment or assault as a “legal adult,” to which he replied, “No.”

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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