White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says the Donald Trump administration would be open to having Boulder's Deborah Ramirez testify at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for Thursday, September 27, regarding her accusations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
As first reported by The New Yorker on September 23, Ramirez says that Kavanaugh "thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent" 35 years ago at a drunken college party.
Asked about potential Ramirez testimony on Good Morning America on September 25, Sanders replied: "Certainly, we would be open to that, and that process could take place on Thursday. The President has been clear: Let them speak, but also let Brett Kavanaugh speak."
Kavanaugh has been doing so over the past 24 hours, appearing on Fox News to forcefully declare his innocence of separate charges made against him by Ramirez and Christine Blasey Ford, who says he sexually assaulted her while the pair were in high school.
On GMA, Sanders spoke out on Kavanuagh's behalf, while also blasting Democrats for what she sees as a manipulative and exploitative attempt to block his elevation to the nation's highest court. "Last time I remember, we're still a country where you're innocent until proven guilty — unless you're a conservative Republican," she said. "It's absolutely shameful what the Democrats have done.... Multiple lives have been ruined."
She added: "No one is trying to hide from this. In fact, Brett Kavanaugh has been leaning in. He's been begging to come in and tell his side of the story and be able to do that, whether it's publicly or privately. He's asked for that opportunity and he's been perfectly open for others to have the opportunity to share their side as well."
Here's the complete Sanders interview.
We've reached out to John Clune, Ramirez's attorney, to ask if she would be open to testifying before the Judiciary Committee on September 27. If and when he gets back to us, we'll share his remarks in this space.
In the meantime, multiple friends and colleagues of Ramirez have come forward to laud her honesty and integrity, including Lisa Calderón, the former director of Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence, where Ramirez worked as a volunteer coordinator.
Since 2013, Ramirez has been employed by Boulder County's Housing and Human Services department. Last night, the Boulder County Commissioners issued a statement supporting her. Read it below.
We fully support an employee’s right to speak their truth and we stand with Debbie Ramirez in her courageous decision to speak up.
We stand firmly behind our brave Boulder County employee who chose to speak publicly about a demeaning and demoralizing act of sexual misconduct she experienced as a young woman. We fully support an employee’s right to speak their truth and we stand with Deborah Ramirez in her courageous decision to speak up.
Debbie is a valued and trusted member of our Department of Housing & Human Services. She is dedicated and passionate about serving families who are most in need. She has spent the last five and a half years with Boulder County coordinating financial resources for low-income families by matching requests for support with available funding sources, matching community donors with families and individuals during the holidays, and recruiting and working with community volunteers in support of families and children. Her work has been exemplary and always a model for providing the best in public service.
We feel it is important that we use our standing as elected officials to identify ways in which the public dialogue about important issues can be improved. It is our view that the proper reaction to assault or harassment allegations should be the immediate belief of the victim, especially when their choice to speak out comes at such an enormous personal cost. We wholeheartedly assert that a person brave enough to speak up should know that they will be heard and that their claims will be granted a full investigation.
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We believe Debbie Ramirez. Knowing the personal peril and unwanted spotlight that a modest civil servant like Debbie has put herself in to shed light on an all-too common occurrence of men harassing and humiliating women when they’re at their most vulnerable, grants her even more respect in our eyes.
Sexual harassment and assault should never be tolerated in our society and the more we can support those who have been victims of these crimes to safely come forward, the better chance we have of stopping the cycle.
Cindy Domenico, Deb Gardner, Elise Jones
Boulder County Commissioners