Speed Reads

Kavanaugh Confirmation

Did the women in the elevator change GOP Sen. Jeff Flake's mind?

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) has slightly changed his tune on Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation, and some strong-willed women may be responsible.

On Friday morning, Flake counteracted speculation that he might upset Kavanaugh's confirmation, publicly asserting he'd support the nominee in a vote on the Senate floor. But by that afternoon, Flake flipped — sort of. He'd push Kavanaugh through to a full Senate vote by voting in the affirmative in the Senate Judiciary Committee, but he may not ultimately support the nominee without further FBI investigation into his sexual assault allegations, he said.

So what changed his mind? Some say it was Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher, two sexual assault survivors who confronted Flake in an elevator Friday morning after he announced he'd support Kavanaugh. The women lambasted him for supporting "someone who actually violated a woman" and for "telling all women that they don't matter." A video of the incident quickly circulated the internet, earning Gallagher and Archila widespread praise.

When Flake called for an investigation that afternoon, supporters went so far as to declare the women responsible for the flip. Actor and activist George Takei named Gallagher a "hero" in a Friday tweet, while actor Kumail Nanjiani tweeted that "the heroic act by those two women in the elevator worked." There's no telling exactly what solidified Flake's change of heart, but Archila and Gallagher are nevertheless convinced they did something. Kathryn Krawczyk