Senator Jeff Flake, a central figure in the controversy surrounding Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, will visit New England on Monday, where the Arizona Republican is due to speak in Boston and Manchester, N.H.
Hundreds of protesters are gearing up for each event, to urge Flake to reject Kavanaugh, organizers said Sunday.
In Boston, Flake is due to appear at City Hall Plaza as part of the Forbes Under 30 Summit. The location had to be moved from an Emerson College theater, amid security concerns due to Flake’s high-profile role in Kavanaugh’s confirmation proceedings.
Organizers have not said what time Flake will appear with Ohio Governor John Kasich during the summit, which is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. He is due to speak from 5 to 6 p.m. at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H.
Flake’s visit comes just days after he was thrust into the national spotlight after news cameras captured two sex assault victims tearfully confronting him in an elevator on Capitol Hill before a crucial committee vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination.
Earlier in the day, Flake issued a statement saying he would back Kavanaugh. But when he voted to move the Kavanaugh nomination out of the Senate Judicial Committee, he said his full support in the Senate is contingent upon the completion of a limited FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against the judge.
City officials said Sunday the Under 30 Summit will be held on the plaza through Tuesday and referred any programmatic questions to the event’s organizers. Two spokespeople for Flake did not respond to inquiries about Flake’s Boston appearance. He is due to appear on the summit’s main stage on City Hall Plaza, alongside Kasich, but the specific time of their appearance remains fluid, said Matthew Hutchison, a Forbes spokesman.
Meanwhile, protesters are preparing to gather around 10 a.m. on the plaza to call on the senator to send a strong message about civility and respecting women by opposing Kavanaugh.
At least 700 people who signed on the organizers’ Facebook event called “Tell Jeff Flake to Reject Kavanaugh” indicated that they were planning to protest, and another 3,100 people said they were interested in attending as of Sunday afternoon.
“Based on what happened Friday — with his change of heart on Judge Kavanaugh — we just want to keep the pressure on him to let him know that we stand with survivors in Boston,’’ said Rebecca Hart Holder, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, one of the Boston-area organizers of the Flake protest.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who will join protesters at the Flake event, said he is urging senators across the country to give voice to survivors and reject Kavanaugh.
“This moment in time will mark how we, as a country, respond to the call for action from women and individuals who have bravely spoken out about sexual assault,” said Walsh. “We believe survivors and we want to make their voices heard, from Boston to Washington, and all across America.”
In Manchester, protesters planning a rally there said the FBI investigation is a step in the right direction but Flake’s next decision will be crucial.
“This may be one of the last opportunities for Senator Flake to hear directly from the American public ahead of his vote on the Supreme Court nomination,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “It’s up to us to remind Flake that women and survivors around the world are watching his every move.”