Escalation

Trump goes on Twitter attack against Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford

President Donald Trump makes his way to board Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on September 20, 2018. Trump is heading to Las Vegas for a campaign rally. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump had been unusually restrained in recent days as the drama surrounding whether Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assaulting her decades ago when they were both teenagers, would testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I really want to see her. I really would want to see what she has to say,” Trump told reporters at the White House earlier this week. “If she shows up, that would be wonderful.” In his remarks, he hadn’t even gone so far as to mention Ford by name.

All such restraint flew out the window on Friday morning as the president, as he so often does, pulled out his iPhone, opened the Twitter app and unleashed a series of broadsides against Ford, while expressing full support for his nominee.

“I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents,” Trump said. “I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn  date, time, and place!” The president also defended Kavanaugh, describing him as “a fine man” who is “under assault by radical left wing politicians.” He also assailed “radical left lawyers” and wondered, “Why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago?” Trump also demanded the Senate vote on Kavanaugh whether or not Ford testifies.

Until Friday, Trump had been very measured in his support of Kavanaugh and, despite his reputation as a fierce counter-puncher, had avoided attacking Ford. A report earlier this week by Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair suggested the president wasn’t fully behind his nominee due to Kavanaugh’s ties to the Bush administration, of which Trump has been highly critical. Sherman also reported that Ivanka Trump advised her father to quit backing Kavanaugh altogether. Trump, White House insiders have noted, according to the report, knows he has several other similar people he could easily nominate if Kavanaugh is rejected.

It’s not clear what prompted Trump’s sharp turnaround on Friday. Perhaps he read the results of a HuffPost / YouGov poll released on Thursday that shows despite the nearly wall-to-wall coverage the sexual assault allegations are getting on cable news and online, the public sentiment toward him has hardly changed. One interesting anecdote from the poll found that when asked, “Do you think that the allegation of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh generally is or is not credible?” 28% of male respondents said they found the allegations credible, and 25% of women responded that they found the allegations credible.

Read the full story at The Associated Press

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