Protesters who oppose Judge Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court confronted Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his wife at dinner Monday night, heckling them at their table at a Washington restaurant until they left.
As interest groups and advocates on opposite sides mount fierce efforts to either salvage or derail the nomination of the judge, who has been accused of sexual assault, a group of activists targeted Cruz and his wife, Heidi, in the latest public confrontation of a government official recorded on video.
"I would love to talk to you about Brett Kavanaugh tonight," one of the protesters, who identified herself as a survivor of sexual abuse, told the couple as they sat down at Fiola, an upscale Italian restaurant near the Capitol.
While the group of activists chanted, "We believe survivors," the woman repeatedly asked Cruz whether he would vote in favor of Kavanaugh. At the judge's confirmation hearing this month, Cruz said that he and his wife have been "good friends" with Kavanaugh and his wife, Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, for 20 years.
Kavanaugh and one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, a research psychologist in Northern California, are scheduled to testify Thursday about her claim that he sexually assaulted her at a party when they were teenagers.
At first on Monday night, Cruz tried to ignore the crowd and sat down at a table. But the chants did not stop. Seconds later, he stood up, signaled to his wife that he wanted to leave and put his jacket back on.
"You have a delightful time," Cruz told one protester as he tried to weave through the crowd to exit the restaurant. "God bless you," he told another.
The videos were posted online by Smash Racism DC, an anti-fascist organization, which said the protesters on Monday night were from several left-leaning groups. The office of Cruz did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday morning.
As the couple walked out of Fiola, one protester made reference to Cruz's re-election efforts in Texas, where he faces an intense challenge from the energized campaign of Rep. Beto O'Rourke, an unabashed liberal running in a traditionally bright red state. Recent polls have indicated that the race is a tossup.
"Beto is way hotter than you, dude," the protester told Cruz.
During a debate in Dallas with O'Rourke last week, Cruz said that Blasey's sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh were "serious" and "deserve to be treated with respect."
Asked during the debate if her testimony could lead him to oppose the judge's confirmation, Cruz responded, "absolutely."