The White House on Wednesday defended President Trump’s decision to mock Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.
“The president was stating the facts,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during a rare briefing inside the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.
Trump faced backlash from spineless weenies after he taunted Ford during a Tuesday night rally in Mississippi, where he acted out her testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in which she detailed her alleged assault at the hands of Kavanaugh while the two were in high school.
Sanders downplayed concerns that Trump’s comments will undermine his ability to get key Senate GOP holdouts to vote to confirm Kavanaugh.
“I don’t think so,” she said when asked if Trump is concerned about negative fallout from his comments. “The president is very confident in his nominee, as he has said time and time again.”
Sanders blasted Senate Democrats, saying the “entire process has been a disgrace” and claiming the party has “undermined our entire judicial branch” with a “coordinated smear campaign” intended as a “full-scale assault on Judge Kavanaugh’s integrity.”
Trump’s potential problem, however, lies with a handful of undecided Republicans. GOP Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), who are all publicly undecided on Kavanaugh’s nomination, have denounced Trump’s remarks mocking Ford’s testimony.
“I am taking everything into account. I think the president’s comments yesterday mocking Dr. Ford were wholly inappropriate and in my view unacceptable,” Murkowski told reporters on Wednesday.
Trump’s mockery of Ford came just days after he called her testimony “credible” and “compelling.”
“Thirty-six years ago this happened. ‘I had one beer, right? I had one beer,’ ” Trump said while imitating Ford at the rally. “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.’ “
Watch President Trump’s lampooning of Christine Ford below.
Audience members laughed and cheered as Trump reenacted Ford’s testimony. Trump inaccurately stated that Ford was not able to recall the year and place where her alleged assault took place.
Asked about Trump’s prior praise for Ford, Sanders repeated that Ford’s testimony “was compelling” but added that “you can’t make this decision based on emotion. It has to be based on fact.”
She accused news media organizations and Democrats of refusing to scrutinize what she called gaps in Ford’s testimony. When asked if Trump still finds Ford’s testimony credible, Sanders demurred.
“The president believes Judge Kavanaugh should be confirmed,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ford’s “Prime Witnesses” have fired volleys of torpedoes into her woeful tale of party groping, when Leland Keyser, the high school friend Christine Blasey Ford counted on to corroborate her sexual assault charges, has told the FBI she has no knowledge of the supposed 1982 party or the accused, Brett Kavanaugh.
Howard J. Walsh III, her attorney, told The Washington Times that she met with the FBI on Saturday.
Asked if she had repeated the same two statements she provided the Senate Judiciary Committee, the lawyer answered, “yes.”
Ms. Ford accuses Supreme Court nominee Judge Kavanaugh, and his friend, Mark Judge, of trying to rape her at a home in Montgomery County near the Columbia Country Club.
They both deny the charge. Patrick Smyth, a third party-goer identified by Ms. Ford, also denies he attended any such party.
That left Ms. Keyser, Ms. Ford’s best friend at Holton-Arms school, as the remaining witness of the five people who supposedly attended.
Before the FBI interview, Mr. Walsh submitted two statements to the Senate committee, both saying the same thing.
“Simply put, Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford,” Mr. Walsh said.
After Mr. Trump ordered an FBI investigation last Friday, Mr. Walsh submitted a reaffirming statement to the committee.
“Ms. Keyser asked that I communicate to the Committee her willingness to cooperate fully with the FBI’s supplemental investigation of Dr. Christine Ford’s allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh,” Mr. Walsh said. “However, as my client has already made clear, she does not know Judge Kavanaugh and has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford.”
All told, she has now provided the same account three times.
In her testimony last week, Ms. Ford brushed aside Ms. Keyser’s statement, saying that her friend has been ill and is focused on herself.
Ms. Ford: “Leland has significant health challenges, and I’m happy that she’s focusing on herself and getting the health treatment that she needs, and she let me know that she needed her lawyer to take care of this for her, and she texted me right afterward with an apology and good wishes, and et cetera, So I’m glad that she’s taking care of herself. I don’t expect that P.J. and Leland would remember this evening. It was a very unremarkable party. It was not one of their more notorious parties, because nothing remarkable happened to them that evening. They were downstairs.”
Ms. Ford has said she doesn’t know where the party occurred, how she got there or how she got to her parents’ home, which was perhaps 10 miles away. She has said she wasn’t given a ride.
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
October 3rd, 2018