Former Congressional candidate Gina Sosa’s defense of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during a CNN interview went viral and drew heavy criticism for normalizing sexual assault.
During an interview on CNN, Sosa and a group of women identified simply as Republican voters defended Kavanaugh, whose confirmation hearings came under threat after accusations surfaced he assaulted a girl in high school.
“We’re talking a 17-year-old boy in high school with testosterone running high,” Sosa said in the clip. “Tell me what boy hasn’t done this in high school. Please, I would like to know.”
Sosa sat among five women interviewed by CNN Correspondent Randi Kaye. The broadcast never mentioned Sosa recently ran for an open Congressional seat in Florida’s 27th Congressional District. Sosa on Aug. 28 came in last place in a nine-candidate Republican primary.
In the clip, the women, including Sosa, unanimously say the believe Kavanaugh’s denial that any encounter ever took place between himself and Christine Blasey Ford, a Palo Alto University professor.
Ford told The Washington Post that when she was 15 and Kavanaugh was 17, he pinned her in a bed, tried to take her clothes off and held his hand over his mouth when she tried to scream.
While the women in the interview say they believe Kavanaugh’s denial, they also say this sounds like normal teenager behavior and should not derail his confirmation.
Sosa tweeted about the Kavanaugh proceedings herself, where she repeated the actions in question seem normal. “Tell me what boy or girl in high school didn’t do dump (sic) stupid things,” she wrote.
The clip—Sosa’s comments in particular—drew wide condemnation on Twitter.
Benny Johnson of the conservative Daily Caller commented on the issue on Twitter, where his tweet got re-tweeted more than 37,000 times.
CNN asked women if they believe Judge Kavanaugh.
This was not the response they were expecting.
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) September 21, 2018
Starfish Media CEO Soledad O’Brien, who previously anchored broadcasts for CNN, wrote “these ladies are terrible people.”
Wow, these ladies are terrible people. https://t.co/wHuBRQ1UOX
— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) September 22, 2018
Some also criticized CNN’s decision to include Sosa and other women in the group without mentioning their involved in Republican politics.
Amee Vanderpool, director of The Inanna Project, which advocates for equal pay for women, criticized the network presenting Sosa as an “average female viewer.”
In this @CNN video claiming to present the "average female viewer" we have:
✔︎Gina Sosa, failed GOP Trumper candidate for #FL27
✔︎Irina Villarino, Trump supporter and operative who helped with GOP tax bill
✔︎Lourdes Castillo de la Peña, Ted Cruz operative and fundraiser 1/ pic.twitter.com/nPdGtERnky
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) September 23, 2018