US President Donald Trump has apologized on behalf of the country to his new conservative Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh – who was accused of sexual assault and misconduct by several women – over his highly contentious confirmation process.
Trump stood next to Kavanaugh at a White House swearing-in ceremony on Monday and said the newly-appointed Supreme Court justice had been “proven innocent” of the sexual assault allegations.
“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,” he said at the ceremony.
Earlier in the day, the US president had dismissed the allegations against Kavanaugh as “a hoax that was set up by the Democrats.”
Trump had also denounced the Kavanaugh row as “a disgraceful situation brought about by people who are evil,” and called the result “very exciting.”
Kavanaugh was accused by several women of sexual misconduct, including California professor Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who testified under oath that he assaulted her during a violent encounter at a drunken party back in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has denied all the allegations and the FBI has cleared him from the accusations.
The US Senate confirmed Kavanaugh by a very narrow margin of 50 to 48 votes on Friday, a decision that further divided the country along partisan lines.
While angry protesters banged on the huge front doors of the Supreme Court building in Washington on Saturday evening, Kavanaugh was formally sworn in as a justice after the final vote. Police arrested nearly 200 protesters there.
A new poll conducted and released by CNN showed on Monday that a majority of Americans opposed Kavanaugh’s confirmation to Supreme Court.
Overall, 51 percent of those polled said they opposed Kavanaugh, up from 39 percent who opposed it in early September. Support for Kavanaugh’s confirmation stood at 41percent.
The poll found that Democratic opposition rose by 28 points and Republican support increased by 15 points by the final days of the bruising confirmation battle.
The CNN poll was conducted between October 4 and 7 among a sample of 1,009 adults, with a margin of error of 3.8 points.