WASHINGTON — Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in —again, for the cameras, this time — Monday night at a White House ceremony, but not before President Donald Trump slammed Kavanaugh’s opponents for a “campaign of personal destruction.”
In a ceremony that could have been a unifying moment for the nation, Trump instead delivered remarks that even he acknowledged began “differently than perhaps any other event of such magnitude.”
“On behalf of our nation, I want to apologize to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure,” Trump said, addressing the bitter partisan fight over Kavanaugh’s nomination that became a firestorm after the emergence of sexual misconduct allegations, which Kavanaugh emphatically denied.
With all the sitting justices in attendance, along with Kavanaugh’s family and top admiration officials, Trump said Kavanaugh had been the victim of a “campaign of political and personal destruction based on lies and deception.”
But, he told the new justice, “You, sir, under historic scrutiny, were proven innocent.” Critics have argued the investigation was not thorough enough to merit that conclusion.
Kavanaugh officially became a member of the high court Saturday and has already been at work preparing for his first day on the bench Tuesday.
In his own remarks, Kavanaugh, who has faced criticism that he appeared too politicized in his Senate testimony, tried to assure the American public that he would approach the job fairly. He said the high court “is not a partisan or political institution” and assured he took the job with “no bitterness.”
“The Senate confirmation process was contentious and emotional. That process is over. My focus now is to be the best justice I can be,” he said.