After initially saying Christine Blasey Ford was “very compelling” in her appearance on Capitol Hill last week, President Donald Trump questioned her testimony during a political rally Tuesday.
Trump appeared in Southaven, Mississippi, for an event that included his skeptical take on Ford’s sexual assault claims against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the president’s Supreme Court nominee.
Imitating the dialogue between Ford and her questioners on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Trump portrayed her as a witness who could not remember key details of the night of the alleged 1982 assault.
“‘I had one beer,'” Trump said. “‘You think it was?’ ‘Nope, it was one beer.’ ‘Oh, good. How did you get home?’ ‘I don’t remember.’ ‘Where was the place?’ ‘I don’t remember. ‘How many years ago was it?’ ‘I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.’ ‘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.'”
The president continued to defend Kavanaugh, saying, “And a man’s life is in tatters. A man’s life is shattered. His wife is shattered. His daughters, who are beautiful, incredible young kids. … It’s a damn sad situation.”
On Wednesday, Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who serves on the judiciary committee, said Trump’s comments about Ford were “kind of appalling.”
“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,” Flake said during an interview Wednesday morning on NBC’s “Today.”
“I wish he hadn’t done it, and I just say it’s kind of appalling,” the senator said.
After initially indicating Friday he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh, Flake was instrumental in delaying the vote until the FBI could investigate Ford’s claims, as the Democrats on the committee demanded. The shift came after he was confronted by protesters in a Senate elevator.
Flake’s criticism of Trump’s latest comments came hours after he explained his decision to go against his own party and work with the Democrats, including Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, to resolve Kavanaugh’s troubled confirmation hearings.
“When I walked into that room on Friday and saw the food fight that was going on between our parties, just split on the dais, Democrats threatening to walk out and not even vote in the final vote, just going back and forth, this vitriol, that’s when I sat there and when I came to Chris,” he said.
Flake said Coons “gave a very sober, rational speech about how we could move forward,” and the proposal for an FBI investigation made sense to him. “I thought that’s what we’ve go to do, because the Supreme Court is still the last bastion, the last institution that most Americans have faith in,” he said.
The senator said he was “very troubled” by Kavanaugh’s testimony last week about the assault claim, calling the nominee’s interaction with Democrats on the committee “sharp and partisan.”
Flake said he wanted to “give a little leeway” to the judge, given the seriousness of the charges against him, but thought Kavanaugh’s testimony was too partisan for a prospective Supreme Court justice.
“We can’t have this on the court,” he said.
Flake is a frequent critic of Trump and said in March that he might challenge the incumbent in the 2020 presidential race.
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