LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The response to the explosive testimony of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey-Ford, underscores the nation’s sharp political divide.
In Riverside, locals agree the stakes are high; but public opinions are mixed.
“Well, I think what matters is the entire life and career of a person and we don’t know which is which,” Gabrielle Mankin said.
In downtown Riverside, most people couldn’t decide who was more convincing in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday.
“Either one of them could be telling the truth. And either one of them could be lying,” Mankin added.
Some people say Kavanaugh’s testimony — that he did not sexually assault Ford and that he wasn’t at the party in question — was surprisingly passionate, and that nuances in his demeanor resonated with them.
Others felt differently.
“A little bit like it was defensive,” Riverside Nan Sanchez said.
“He seemed evasive. He seemed like the questions that were being pointed towards him were being answered by questions that weren’t even asked,” Riverside resident Corey Wilkerson-Bell said.
“He was very very convincing, I thought, I really felt bad for him and his family,” Riverside resident Gilbert Camarena said, adding that Ford’s testimony was also convincing. Still, he feels like the timing of the allegations is no coincidence.
“I think this whole thing is political,” Camarena said.
Ashley Lewis disagrees. She says she was assaulted as a teenager and didn’t tell anyone for years.
“I felt it was my fault,” she explained, adding she finds it hard to believe Ford or any woman could confuse their attacker for someone else.
“No,” she said. “There’s just an image etched in your brain forever.”
Many others are calling the testimony a watershed moment for the #MeToo movement.
Executive Director of the group Feminist Majority Katherine Spillar says the historic hearing will continue to power the movement in the right direction.
“Right now all across the country women are enraged that we’re not believed more and that more time wasn’t taken by this committee to reopen an FBI investigation to develop more facts,” Spillar said.
#MeToo movement leader Alyssa Milano recorded a video in the hearing; she was there as both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh testified before the Judiciary Committee.
“I think that Dr. Ford is an incredibly compelling, intelligent woman and made women everywhere proud for her strength and courage coming forward,” Milano said.
Whatever the outcome of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, for Milano, being with Dr. Ford was a chance to show solidarity.
“It took me a very long time as a survivor to come terms with and to be public with my own abuse and assault,” she said.
“Dr. Ford today told the truth,” Spillar added. “She presented a very compelling information. And maybe there are some members of the Republican Senate group who heard her.”