Confirmation hearings in 2018 for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh will go down as among the most contentious in recent memory.
The controversy surrounding the process grew so fierce that then-President Donald Trump nearly withdrew his nominee entirely, according to a new tell-all book written by a Trump administration insider.
“Extremely put off”
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows asserted that Trump did not consider pulling Kavanaugh from consideration because of the heated Senate debate related to alleged sexual misconduct but rather due to his supposed affinity for alcohol.
The book claims that the then-president panned Kavanaugh’s performance as too “apologetic” in the face of relentless character attacks by Senate Democrats.
Politico first released excerpts from The Chief’s Chief, which referenced Trump’s desire to find a “stronger candidate” to replace his besieged nominee.
At that time, Meadows was still a member of Congress. Nevertheless, he asserted that he voiced opposition to the idea of removing Kavanaugh, warning that the “blowback would be severe.”
He further described Trump as “extremely put off” by the nominee’s professed love of beer. The former president is known to abstain from alcohol and has strongly advised others against consuming it.
“Not disqualifying or anything serious”
As for Kavanaugh’s affinity for booze, the subject was referenced repeatedly during his Senate confirmation hearings. The nominee himself mentioned “beer” at least 29 times.
When pressed on his activities while drinking during his college years, Kavanaugh was fairly open in his assessment, explaining: “I liked beer. I still like beer.”
At the time, Trump made his aversion clear in a statement affirming that his only “good trait” was refraining from alcohol.
“I don’t drink beer,” he said. “I’ve never had a beer. And I’m not saying good or bad, some people like it. I just choose not to do that for a lot of reasons.”
He went on to tell reporters that he was “surprised at how vocal” Kavanaugh had been about his drinking habit, calling it “a little bit of difficulty” in the prospective justice’s past. An unidentified insider told the Washington Post that the nominee’s proclivity is “not disqualifying or anything serious” but confirmed that Trump “doesn’t like drinkers.”