“They just keep saying ‘Boys will be boys.’ But I’m in high school—I don’t want that to happen to me.”
As soon as Christine Blasey Ford went public with her accusation that the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when the two were teens, a chorus of conservative political commentators came to his defense. Some of them aimed primarily to sow doubt about Ford’s story, but others weighed the accusations, only to conclude that the behavior described was characteristically adolescent and thus dismissable.
For instance, Stephen L. Miller, a writer for Fox News’s website, tweeted that the allegations didn’t amount to sexual assault, but rather “drunk teenagers playing seven minutes of heaven.” The radio-show host and columnist Dennis Prager advised his readers not to be shocked if a future Republican nominee “is accused of sexual misconduct … from when he was in elementary school.” Going back to an even earlier developmental stage to make her point, the Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker wondered, “What’s next, his potty training?" On Instagram, Donald Trump Jr. engaged in his own infantilizing of Ford’s accusations, likening the scene she described to the result of a schoolyard crush.