Well, it was only a matter of time before President Donald Trump lost his grip on the restraint he’d shown in recent days and launched a callous, obnoxious attack on Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her when the two were in high school during the early 1980s. Just a few days ago, Trump had said of Ford, “I thought her testimony was very compelling and she looks like a very fine woman to me. She was a very credible witness.”
Those words were spoken to reporters in the Oval Office on Friday. The message to supporters at a rally in Missouri on Tuesday night was the polar opposite.
“I had one beer. Well, do you think it was — nope, it was one beer,” Trump said, making a mocker of Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. “How did you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know,” Trump continued. The remarks drew a mix of laughter and applause from reporters, but if you look at the faces of some of the women standing behind him at the rally, clear looks of unease, if fleeting, came over the faces.
“I don’t know. I don’t know,” Trump continued. “What neighborhood was it in? I don’t know. Where’s the house? I don’t know. Upstairs, downstairs — where was it? I don’t know — but I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember.”
Trump also went on to frame the saga surrounding Kavanaugh’s confirmation process as part of a larger problem for American men in which they are “guilty until proven innocent.”
“Think of your son. Think of your husband,” he said, adding that he’s faced a number of “false allegations.” More than a dozen women have accused Trump of various forms of sexual misconduct over the years.
By Wednesday morning, fellow Republicans were criticizing Trump for going after Ford in the manner in which he did. During an appearance in NBC’s Today show, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona said, “There’s no time and no place for remarks like that.” Flake, who made his vote to endorse Kavanaugh’s nomination conditional on a one-week FBI investigation into the claims against the embattled nominee was completed, added, “To discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right, it’s just not right. I wish he hadn’t done it. It’s kind of appalling.”
Senator Angus King of Maine, an independent, blasted Trump as well, telling CNN, “I watched it two or three times. It made me feel sort of sick.” King added, “I don’t understand why he felt he had to do that.”
Below, watch a highlight from Flake’s appearance on the Today show.
“There’s no time and no place for remarks like that. But to discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right…It’s kind of appalling.” @JeffFlake on President Trump’s comments about Dr. Ford at a rally last night pic.twitter.com/6SaTLZK899
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 3, 2018
And Senator Susan Collins of Maine, a moderate Republican who is seen as one of the key swing votes in the Senate on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, reacted on Wednesday morning to Trump’s attack on Ford. Speaking with reporters on Capitol Hill, Collins said, “The president’s comments were just plain wrong.”
WATCH: “The president’s comments were just plain wrong," Sen. Collins, key vote for potential Kavanaugh confirmation, says about President Trump's remarks mocking Dr. Ford pic.twitter.com/9ExTiJp3um
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) October 3, 2018
But the White House defended Trump, not surprisingly. At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters, “The president was stating the facts. And, frankly, facts that were included in Special Prosecutor Rachel Mitchell’s report. He was stating facts that were given during Dr. Ford’s testimony.” She added, “The testimony by Dr. Ford was compelling, but you can’t make this decision based on emotion. It has to be based on fact.” Watch highlights from the press conference below.
“The president was stating the facts,” Sarah Sanders said on Trump mocking Christine Blasey Ford during his rally last night. pic.twitter.com/7GEtxyqtBo
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) October 3, 2018
When asked by @CeciliaVega about Pres. Trump mocking Dr. Ford after earlier calling her a "credible witness," press sec. Sarah Sanders said, "The testimony by Dr. Ford was compelling, but you can't make this decision based on emotion. It has to be based on fact." pic.twitter.com/1GsOvZq0iQ
— ABC News (@ABC) October 3, 2018
Read the full story at The Hill.