The Senate Judiciary Committee during the hearing on Brett Kavanaugh.

During last night’s ceremonial swearing in, President Trump apologized to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh for the “terrible pain and suffering” he and his family endured during the confirmation hearings.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley presided over those hearings and says the president’s apology to Kavanaugh was both unexpected and “very important.” “You could feel the pain that both he and Dr. Ford had in their hearings,” Grassley says. “You could see it visible in both of their faces.” Grassley says Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford had their lives turned upside-down while under the national spotlight following Ford’s accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers in 1982.

Grassley notes Kavanaugh was visibly shaken during the hearings before the Judiciary Committee. Grassley says, “You could particularly see it when he spoke and you could see it more in his wife, sitting behind him, the pain that they were going through.” Grassley says Kavanaugh and Ford were subjected to “great attacks” and the president’s apology was Trump’s plea that people on both sides put an end to such divisiveness.

Grassley says, “I think the president is setting the stage for the return to civility in the process of our governmental institutions but that is, indirectly, pleading for some civility within the American society as a whole.” President Trump was widely criticized for mocking Ford during a campaign appearance in Mississippi last week. Trump will be in Iowa tonight for a campaign rally, but Grassley doubts there will be any more mockery.

“I think the president is going to give the usual speeches he’s given but there won’t be anything said about Dr. Ford tonight and there shouldn’t be,” Grassley says, “and what the president said earlier shouldn’t have been said.” Tonight’s presidential speech in Council Bluffs is expected to focus on an effort to make the E-15 ethanol blend a year-round product, as it’s now banned during the summer months.