Republican women on CNN have defended Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh over an allegation of sexual assault whilst in high school - with one woman going as far as suggesting that most teenage boys have done something similar.
Mr Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual assault by Dr Christine Blasey Ford, alleges that that Mr Kavanaugh tried to force himself upon her at a party. Mr Kavanaugh denies the allegation.
“I mean, we’re talking about a 15-year-old girl, which I respect. I’m a woman. I respect. But we’re talking about a 17-year-old boy in high school with testosterone running high. Tell me, what boy hasn’t done this in high school?” Gina Sosa asked on the CNN panel when asked her thoughts on the accusation.
The panel was quickly criticised on Twitter, with people suggesting that the women chosen portray an extreme that does not accurately reflect American women writ large.
“How can we believe the word of a woman of something that happened 36 years ago. This guy has an impeccable reputation. There is nobody that has spoken ill will about him,” Lourdes Castillo de la Peña said on the panel. Ms Castillo de la Peña later indicated that she would continue to support the nominee even if the allegations proved to be true.
“Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday,” Mr Kavanaugh said in a statement last week. “I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the Committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity.”
The allegations from Dr Blasey Ford have thrust Mr Kavanaugh’s nomination into controversy, and have polarised politicians in Washington considering whether he should serve on the United States’ highest court.
Republicans have largely remained supportive of the nominee, in spite of growing evidence that Americans more broadly have soured on the idea of elevating Mr Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
President Donald Trump has said that he believes the accusations are wrong, and suggested that Dr Blasey Ford would have gone to the police at the time of the alleged attempted rape if it were true. He has also suggested that the allegation is a political stunt to damage his nominee's chances of being confirmed onto the Supreme Court.
Dr Blasey Ford has said that she did not speak about the incident for decades, but did mention the alleged incident during therapy several years ago before Mr Kavanaugh was up for consideration for the Supreme Court.
Both parties are expected to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, with Dr Blasey Ford set to appear on Thursday, so that senators can consider whether Mr Kavanaugh’s alleged actions are disqualifying. Dr Blasey Ford has requested that the FBI investigate the incident as well.