Ed Whelan apologizes for “mistaken identity” tweets

As Steve reported last night, our friend Ed Whelan set off a storm yesterday with a series of tweets suggesting Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her was a case of mistaken identity. There had been plenty of buzz about this possibility, triggered mainly by Ed’s earlier tweets stating that compelling evidence would exonerate Kavanaugh.

In his tweets yesterday, Ed went so far as to identify the person he thought Dr. Ford mistook for Kavanaugh. That person was a classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Georgetown Prep, who lived near the Country Club near where Ford said the party in question occurred, and who resembled Kavanaugh. Ed was careful to add that he wasn’t accusing this person of misconduct. However, he did inject the guy into a highly contentious dispute over events that occurred (or didn’t occur) 36 years ago.

The four of us discussed Ed’s theory on our program for subscribers last night. Our view was that Ed’s tweets making the case for his mistaken identity theory were not compelling; that we were surprised Ed, without more, identified by name the person he thought Ford mistook for Kavanaugh; and that, given Ed’s track record, it seemed likely he had more evidence to support his theory.

Today, however, Ed apologized for naming Kavanaugh’s high school classmate, and deleted his tweets. He tweeted:

I made an appalling and inexcusable mistake of judgment in posting the tweet thread in a way that identified Kavanaugh’s Georgetown Prep classmate. I take full responsibility for that mistake, and I deeply apologize for it. I realize that does not undo the mistake.

In addition, Ford has stated unequivocally that this is not a case of mistaken identity. She says:

I knew them both [Kavanaugh and the classmate], and socialized with [the classmate]. I even visited [him] when he was in the hospital. There is zero chance that I would confuse them.

When Ed predicted that Ford’s allegations would be rebutted by conclusive evidence, I expressed “surprise,” writing:

The conventional wisdom among Kavanaugh’s supporters is that this a case of “he said, she said” and that the alleged episode occurred so long ago that evidence doesn’t exist conclusively to prove or disprove Ms. Ford’s allegation.

Right now, it looks like the conventional wisdom had it right.