Politicians and sexual assault survivors rallied outside Boston City Hall Monday, calling for United States senators to reject Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and forecasting electoral consequences if they do not.
Senate President Karen Spilka asked ralliers to raise their hands if they were a victim of sexual assault or personally knew a victim. While the message was aimed at all members of the Senate, the protesters put a spotlight on one particular senator: Arizona Republican Jeff Flake, who was scheduled to speak Monday afternoon at a Forbes 30 Under 30 event across the plaza, days after he called for a vote on Kavanaugh's nomination to be delayed so the FBI can investigate Christine Blasey Ford's allegation that the judge sexually assaulted her when they were both teenager in 1982.
Delia Harrington, a member of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center's survivor speaker bureau, told the crowd that she was assaulted in high school and that opposition to Kavanaugh was "a fight for all survivors of every gender."
"To Judge Kavanaugh, Jeff Flake, the president and all those other men like them, Dr. Ford's not a scared teenager anymore and neither am I, and we're coming for you," Harrington said.
Ford and Kavanaugh testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, and the panel on Friday voted to advance his nomination. Flake on Friday joined Democrats in calling for an FBI investigation, forcing a delay of the full Senate vote.
President Donald Trump, in a Monday afternoon press conference, said the investigation should proceed quickly and that he stood "all the way" with Kavanaugh.
"It's unfair to him at this point," Trump said. "What his wife is going through, what his beautiful children are going through is not describable. It's not describable. It's not fair."
Speaking at the rally. U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, a Malden Democrat, said he planned to vote against Kavanaugh, and that the investigation's scope and duration should not be limited.
Jay Gonzalez, the Democratic nominee for governor, said that if Senate Republicans vote to confirm Kavanaugh, they are complicit in "enabling sexual assault to happen."
"They'll be enabling it through their ignoring it, through their excusing it, through their turning to look the other way," he said.
Senate President Karen Spilka told the News Service after the rally that Kavanaugh should drop out of contention, or Trump should withdraw the nomination.
"What message are we sending to our women, our girls, our minorities, anybody who has been in the position of somebody in a really powerful position trying to take over and exert that power, just for the sake of power?" the Ashland Democrat said.
U.S. Sen. Edward Markey gave a thumbs-down to indicate how he will vote on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Several members of the Boston City Council -- including Ayanna Pressley, the Democratic nominee in the Seventh Congressional District -- attended the event, as did Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Quentin Palfrey, Sen. William Brownsberger, Reps. Paul Brodeur, Adrian Madaro, Aaron Michlewitz and Mike Connolly.
Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, who was in town for the Forbes conference, and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat who unseated U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley, also took part.
Rippon urged ralliers to register and vote in this fall's elections. Several speakers said they expected repercussions from the the Kavanaugh controversy to play out in the midterms.
"With your help, and on Nov. 6, we're going to change it, because we are going to say if you are going to continue with your career aiding, abetting, covering and being complicit in sexual assault, we will end your career by electing survivors to office," Ocasio-Cortez said. "We're doing it, Massachusetts is doing it with sister Ayanna Pressley right here. We are going to keep pushing because justice in America is not just about protecting the powerful."
Rebecca Hart Holder of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts said it would be "hard to imagine that this moment in time doesn't galvanize women" to vote, and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh predicted a "big impact" in the November elections.
"This is just another piece of the Trump Administration disregarding the American people and disregarding how people feel," he told reporters.