Friday vote on Kavanaugh scheduled less than 24 hours after sexual assault testimony

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, backed up here by his wife Ashley, sat for three straight days before the Senate Judiciary Committee in early September.

WASHINGTON — Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have scheduled a Friday vote on Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court bid, less than 24 hours after the committee is scheduled to hear testimony from a woman who alleges he sexually assaulted her. 

The announcement Tuesday that a vote was being scheduled set off an array of criticism by Democrats. Sen. Charles Grassley, the top Republican on the committee, emphasized that the scheduling was procedural and only for a "potential" vote "if we're ready." 

Before a vote can be taken, the committee must give three days notice, which is why the possible schedule was announced Tuesday. 

More:Brett Kavanaugh: Tensions rise as Senate hearing nears on sexual assault accusations

Still, Democrats used the optics of the move to highlight their belief that Republicans weren't giving Christine Blasey Ford a fair hearing and intend to push the process ahead regardless. Many also pointed to a second woman, Deborah Ramirez, who came forward Sunday with similar accusations but has not yet been given the opportunity to testify before the committee. 

"For Republicans to schedule a Friday vote on Brett Kavanaugh today, two days before Dr. Blasey Ford has had a chance to tell her story, is outrageous," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the committee. "First Republicans demanded Dr. Blasey Ford testify immediately. Now Republicans don’t even need to hear her before they move ahead with a vote.

She added: "It’s clear to me that Republicans don’t want this to be a fair process."

Feinstein wasn't alone.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. and another member on the Judiciary Committee, shamed Republicans and said the move "demonstrated the disrespect & disregard that all too frequently shames & silences survivors from ever coming forward."

"The message is clear: serious, credible allegations of sexual assault matter very little to my Republican colleagues when putting extremist ideologues on the federal bench," he said on Twitter. "This rush to judgment betrays any pretense of listening respectfully & honestly to a credible, courageous sexual assault survivor. It is an insult to the entire survivor community."

In a late-night tweet, President Donald Trump blasted Democrats for what he called a "vicious effort to destroy a fine person" and asked for prayers for Kavanaugh and his family.

"The Democrats are playing a high level CON GAME in their vicious effort to destroy a fine person. It is called the politics of destruction. Behind the scene the Dems are laughing. Pray for Brett Kavanaugh and his family!" Trump wrote.