When men cry in public

With tears flowing repeatedly, Brett Kavanaugh angrily denied allegations of sexual misconduct as he appeare...

Posted: Sep 28, 2018 1:34 PM
Updated: Sep 28, 2018 1:34 PM

With tears flowing repeatedly, Brett Kavanaugh angrily denied allegations of sexual misconduct as he appeared Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The airing of the allegations, he insisted, was not just a moment of crisis for him but a "national disgrace," and the controversy had "destroyed" his family.

In a previous generation, in 1972, a display of emotion by presidential candidate Ed Muskie, who appeared to cry as he defended the honor of his wife, Jane, helped end his hopes for higher office. (Later, observers conceded that it might have been melting snow, rather than tears, on Muskie's cheek.)

Brett Kavanaugh

Political Figures - US

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government organizations - US

Politics

US Congress

US federal government

US Senate

White House

Judgments on Kavanaugh's emotional performance will likely depend on each viewer's perspective, but he demonstrated the wider latitude that men in politics have today to show their emotions. However, were he a woman, he would likely be dismissed as overwrought, even hysterical, which helps explain why the witness who testified before him, Christine Blasey Ford, was far more composed and restrained.

If Republican Senators waffle on support for Kavanaugh's nomination, the most important judgment will be rendered by Donald Trump. Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair tweeted, "The crying has unnerved some White House aides, source says. 'People don't know why he is crying.'"

For Trump, who would seemingly rather risk a man keeling over from a heart attack than indulging his feelings, the display was likely an exasperating development. "When I see a man cry I view it as a weakness," Trump once told writer Timothy O'Brien. "I don't like seeing men cry."

Still, the President immediately tweeted his support for Kavanaugh as soon as the hearing ended:

"Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him. His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting. Democrats' search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!"

As a nominee for the Supreme Court who no doubt believed he would soon be approved by the Senate, Kavanaugh's feelings are easy to understand. He was suddenly made the subject of three separate accusations of sexual misconduct and was on a mission to clear himself. Ford, the first accuser and the only one the Republicans who control the committee will hear, alleged he attacked her when they were teens.

Such an allegation, in addition to the others, would disturb anyone who is accused, but as Kavanaugh let his emotions show, it was easy to imagine Trump growing impatient, if not disgusted.

A man firmly planted in the ethos of the 1950s male, Trump would no more cry in such a setting than admit that he was elected president with the aid of the Russians. He has, himself, faced more than a dozen allegations of sexual misconduct and never once reacted with anything but a dismissive attitude. To see Kavanaugh weep must have galled the man who named him to the court.

Attitudes about masculinity have changed a lot in the decades since Trump's youth. Former Speaker of the House John Boehner was so sentimental that he teared up over almost anything, and Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama have shed tears in moments of tragedy or mourning. The difference is that, at least in public, these men did not cry in anger, or because their own feelings were hurt.

President Trump is not part of the Washington crying crowd. He is the man who called Senator Charles Schumer "cryin' Chuck" when he teared up in early 2017. In 2015, Trump called broadcaster Glenn Beck "wacky" and "worse than Boehner" because he got emotional on his show.

Recent decades have seen greater acceptance for open displays of emotion. As one writer at a website devoted to boosting positive images of modern men recently argued, "Real men do cry."

Whether or not the crying went over well at the White House, Kavanaugh has retained the President's support. And if Kavanaugh is backed by the Republican majority in the Senate, he'll be on the Supreme Court.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 51612

Reported Deaths: 2760
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12074693
Lake5650249
Elkhart361860
Allen2952134
St. Joseph214869
Hamilton1708101
Cass16459
Hendricks1466100
Johnson1345118
Porter84038
Tippecanoe7799
Vanderburgh7686
Clark71144
Madison67864
LaPorte62328
Howard60758
Bartholomew60145
Kosciusko5824
Marshall5579
Noble52028
Boone49144
LaGrange48610
Jackson4783
Delaware47552
Hancock46836
Shelby45925
Floyd41444
Monroe34828
Morgan34531
Grant32226
Dubois3096
Montgomery29820
Henry29618
Clinton2903
White27610
Dearborn26523
Warrick26129
Vigo2588
Decatur25632
Lawrence25225
Harrison21822
Greene19632
Miami1942
Jennings17912
Putnam1738
DeKalb1694
Scott1659
Wayne1586
Daviess15117
Perry14910
Steuben1382
Orange13723
Jasper1362
Ripley1347
Franklin1288
Gibson1242
Wabash1163
Carroll1142
Starke1083
Whitley1076
Fayette1067
Newton10110
Huntington942
Jefferson872
Wells821
Randolph804
Fulton731
Jay720
Knox710
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay645
Rush623
Posey610
Spencer571
Owen521
Benton510
Sullivan501
Adams491
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain362
Crawford330
Switzerland320
Tipton321
Parke270
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union140
Pike120
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 65592

Reported Deaths: 3058
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin12035447
Cuyahoga9208399
Hamilton6950208
Lucas3007306
Marion274839
Montgomery251336
Summit2351209
Pickaway222741
Mahoning1948239
Butler186347
Columbiana138560
Stark1225116
Lorain115269
Trumbull105378
Warren100926
Clark81610
Delaware72415
Fairfield69217
Lake60923
Tuscarawas60910
Medina58932
Licking58312
Belmont57024
Miami51031
Portage50260
Clermont4977
Wood49451
Ashtabula44844
Geauga42843
Richland3786
Wayne37355
Allen36641
Greene3469
Mercer30210
Erie28622
Holmes2615
Darke25926
Huron2472
Madison2229
Ottawa19324
Sandusky16915
Athens1671
Ross1483
Washington14620
Coshocton1424
Putnam14215
Crawford1415
Hardin12312
Morrow1211
Jefferson1152
Auglaize1114
Muskingum1041
Union1021
Preble911
Clinton892
Monroe8917
Hancock861
Lawrence860
Guernsey813
Hocking819
Williams762
Shelby754
Logan711
Scioto710
Carroll703
Ashland682
Fulton670
Brown631
Wyandot635
Champaign551
Fayette550
Knox551
Defiance543
Highland531
Van Wert491
Perry461
Seneca412
Henry350
Paulding320
Jackson300
Pike290
Adams261
Vinton232
Gallia211
Harrison141
Noble140
Meigs130
Morgan110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 81°
Angola
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 79°
Huntington
Few Clouds
84° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 84°
Decatur
Scattered Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 81°
Van Wert
Scattered Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 81°
Warmer Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events