On Monday, President Donald Trump said he was apologising on behalf of the whole country to his new conservative Supreme Court justice after one of the most contentious confirmation processes in US history.
During a swearing-in ceremony, Trump stood next to Justice Brett Kavanaugh and said he’d been “proven innocent” of the sexual assault allegations that threatened to derail him in a Senate confirmation process revealing the depth of the left-right split tearing through American politics.
“On behalf of our nation, I want to apologise to Brett and the entire Kavanaugh family for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure,” he said at the ceremony in the ornate White House East Room.
Trump gave the impression that he still considers the nomination row a political battle. Before the ceremony, he’d described opposition Democrats as “evil” and the sexual assault claims as a “hoax.”
However, after being sworn in, Kavanaugh struck a markedly more conciliatory tone.
He told an audience – the entire Supreme Court and a Who’s Who of Republican movers and shakers that he had “no bitterness” and would never bring politics into the top court.
“The Supreme Court is a team of nine. And I will always be a team player on the team of nine…. The Senate confirmation process was contentious and emotional. That process is over,” he said.
Trump sees his success in getting Kavanaugh onto the court, as one of the major successes of his turbulent two-year administration. It also comes towards the final run-up to midterm elections on November 6.