The leaders of two of the nation's most prominent anti-alcohol organizations differ on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who defiantly told senators “I still like beer” as he denied sexually assaulting women while drunk.
The embattled nominee received an unsolicited endorsement this week from the leader of the historically influential Prohibition Party, which deems alcohol "America's #1 narcotic drug problem."
“Confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” Prohibition Party Chairman Rick Knox wrote on Facebook Monday, after Kavanaugh and accuser Christine Blasey Ford testified Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Knox, taking a break from campaigning against Sunday alcohol sales in Cherokee County, Ga., added, “I think some people at last weeks hearings need to be charged with perjury.”
Knox made clear he wasn't talking about the judge, who some Democrats accused of lying when he denied ever experiencing a blackout. The Prohibition Party leader shared a cartoon calling Ford a “leftist liar.”
The unexpected endorsement comes as Republican defenders of Kavanaugh, including President Trump, emphasize the normalcy of college drinking as classmates allege the judge inaccurately minimized his history with alcohol.
Some anti-booze activists aren't happy about Kavanaugh's testimony, however.
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"I don’t appreciate anyone who stands up and says, ‘I like to drink,'" Woman's Christian Temperance Union President Sarah Ward told the Washington Examiner.
"It's a sad day in our country," said Ward, who added, “It's sort of interesting that this has come up [near] the 100th anniversary" of the 18th Amendment, which banned alcohol sales.
After repeal of Prohibition in the early 1930s, temperance groups became powerless relics, and Ward said she’s realistic about current politics. She advocates voluntary “individual prohibition” rather than a government ban.
Like the WCTU, the Prohibition Party is a small remnant. Its presidential candidate received just 5,617 votes in 2016.
More than a century ago, the party elected the nation’s first female mayor — from Kansas — in 1887 and won a California congressional seat in 1914. In four presidential elections, the party took more than 1.5 percent of the national vote, on par with recent Libertarian results.
Despite Kavanaugh's defense of drinking alcohol, Knox has been a forceful supporter of the judge, who currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Knox shared on his "Rick Knox Political Report" Facebook page a meme of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., that calls him “Senator Snow Flake,” a demeaning term for people perceived to be overly sensitive on political issues.
[Also read: Kavanaugh became 'aggressive,' 'belligerent' when drinking, says Yale freshman roommate]
“Jeff Flake wants to be President, [but] he has zero courage and [the] spine of a snake," Knox wrote in another post.
Flake forced a delay in the full Senate vote on Kavanaugh. Flake said Friday he would like a one-week FBI investigation of sexual assault claims against the judge, and President Trump authorized the investigation.
Ford alleges that a drunk Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, attempted to remove her clothes, and covered her mouth when she was 15 and he was 17. Former Yale University classmate Deborah Ramirez alleges that Kavanaugh drunkenly exposed himself to her when he was 18, forcing her to touch his penis without her consent. A third named accuser, Julie Swetnick, alleges that Kavanaugh was present at parties where women were gang raped.
Knox declined to be interviewed, and said in a written statement to the Washington Examiner that he does not speak for all party members on his Facebook page.
“I do not speak for the party on this issue, the Party has not taken an official stand on this subject," he said.
Ward said the WCTU also has not taken a position on Kavanaugh, but that she's certain the controversy reflects poorly on alcohol.
“Why wouldn't you want to be in control of your senses at a party?” Ward said. “I've never had anyone tell me one benefit from drinking.”