ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Brett Kavanaugh emphatically and at times angrily defended his high school drinking before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday afternoon – referring to beer or his enjoyment of beer more than two dozen times in the first hours of his testimony.
“I like beer,” Kavanaugh said. “I still like beer. But I did not drink beer to the point of blacking out, and I never sexually assaulted anyone.”
It got even stickier from there.
Kavanaugh found himself prompted under questioning to define frat house phrases from his yearbook like “ralph” – a slang verb meaning to vomit from too many drinks – in a Supreme Court nomination hearing.
He explained drinking games.
He parsed the difference between “passing out” and “going to sleep” after drinking.
Time and again, Kavanaugh returned to his defense of drinking.
“Yes, we drank beer,” Kavanaugh continued. “My friends and I, the boys and girls. Yes, we drank beer. I liked beer. I still like beer. We drank beer."
"The drinking age as I noted was 18 so the seniors were legal, senior year in high school people were legal to drink, and, yeah, we drank beer and I said sometimes — sometimes — probably had too many beers and sometimes other people had too many beers. We drink beer. We liked beer,” he said.
Binge-drinking – which was at a 40-year high in the early 1980s — is fast becoming a central focus of the high-profile, he said/she said testimony of Kavanaugh and accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.
"There is a bright line between drinking beer, which I gladly do, and which I fully embrace, and sexually assaulting someone, which is a violent crime."
He also told the committee, "If every American who drinks beer or every American who drank beer in high school is suddenly presumed guilty of sexual assault, it will be an ugly new place in this country. I never committed sexual assault.”
Kavanaugh's clashes with the senators questioning him reached a near boiling point during an exchange with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the self-described child of an alcoholic.
After a recess, Kavanaugh offered an apology for questioning Klobuchar’s drinking habits in a heated exchange.
“I was going to say, I started my last colloquy by saying to Senator Klobuchar how much I respect her and respected what she did at the last hearing, and she asked me a question at the end that I responded to by asking her a question. I'm sorry I did that. This is a tough process. I'm sorry about that.”
Klobuchar responded that she appreciated his apology. “I would like to add when you have a parent that's an alcoholic, you're pretty careful about drinking,” she said.
Kavanaugh also grew visibly frustrated under questioning by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) about the definition of the term "ralph."
“I like beer,” Kavanaugh said. “I don't know if you do. Do you like beer, senator, or not? What do you like to drink? Senator, what do you think, like to drink?”
The stunning rhetoric lit up social media. Within an hour a new Twitter account called @KavanaughBeer had been created.
Many Twitter users mocked Kavanaugh.
“Just in case you are not aware….” one person wrote,” Brett Kavanaugh likes beer.”
Others suggested a drinking game in which participants would take a drink every time the judge used the word “beer,” and suggested most people would pass out before the end of the hearing.
The issue took on steam after Kavanaugh’s high school friend Mark Judge — who Ford alleges was in the room when Kavanaugh allegedly attacked her — came into focus.
Judge published a 1997 book called “Wasted: Tales of Gen X Drunk,” in which he makes reference to an apparently fictionalized friend, "Bart O’Kavanaugh,” who "vomited in a car after a party.”
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