The morning after President Donald Trump mocked Dr. Christine Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, in which she alleged that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her, several senators still publicly undecided about their confirmation votes expressed fresh dismay at the president’s antics.
Trump’s remarks, made during a political rally in Mississippi Tuesday night, targeted Dr. Ford, lampooning her credibility as the crowd cheered.
“How did you get home? ‘I don’t remember,'” Trump told the assembled rally-goers. “How did 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. I don’t know. I don’t know.”
He imitated Ford again, saying, “But I had one beer — that’s the only thing I remember.”
The video of Trump mocking Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony at his rally. Remember, aides were initially surprised at his restraint on the matter. pic.twitter.com/p75xQrDeJD
— andrew kaczynski🧐 (@KFILE) October 3, 2018
Wednesday morning, some of the fence-sitting Republican senators criticized the president’s decision to ridicule Ford.
On NBC’s Today Show, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said that Trump’s remarks were “kind of appalling” and that he wished Trump hadn’t done it.
“There’s no time and no place for remarks like that,” Flake said. “To discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right.”
Flake would later make it clear that Trump’s behavior would, nevertheless, have no influence on his vote.
Flake just told me Trump’s comments last night on Ford would NOT affect his vote. He downplayed Kavanaugh comments about drinking in college as simply exaggerating – not lying to Congress. He said McGahn has been filling him in about probe.
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 3, 2018
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), sounded a similar tone, telling reporters Wednesday morning that “the president’s comments were just plain wrong.” She declined to answer both a follow-up question from a reporter as she entered a Senate office door, as well as one emailed to her from ThinkProgress, about whether Trump’s remarks would affect either the FBI investigation or her vote.
Additionally, Sen. Angus King (I-ME), who has already indicated he opposes Kavanaugh’s nomination, said that the president’s comments “made [him] feel sort of sick” on CNN Wednesday morning. Other Democrats joined in — Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called for Trump to make an “immediate apology.”
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) tweeted Tuesday evening that Ford “deserves better.”
Dr. Ford is a profile in courage. She knew what she was up against when she came forward but spoke out because she felt it was her civic duty. She deserves better.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) October 3, 2018
Other more conservative senators have been quiet about the president’s comments. ThinkProgress asked undecided Sens. Heitkamp, Manchin, and Murkowski, as well as Sens. Capito, Cassidy, Corker, Cornyn, Ernst, Fischer, Gardner, Heller, Kennedy, Lankford, Perdue, Portman, Rubio, Sasse, and Toomey, about the president’s comments. None have replied as of this article’s publication.
Kavanaugh’s biggest defenders, however, barely lost a step. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) defended Trump’s comments during an interview at the Atlantic Festival, saying “I don’t like what the president said last night” but “everything he said was factually true.”
Lindsey Graham on Christine Blasey Ford: "This is what happens when you go through a trailer park with a $100 bill."
And on Donald Trump viciously mocking a sexual assault victim: "Everything he said was factually true." pic.twitter.com/ZPJEDJaxjg
— John Iadarola (@johniadarola) October 3, 2018
While Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spent time Wednesday morning on Twitter complaining about how the opposition to Kavanaugh is a sham and that the Senate should just vote to confirm him, neither they nor any of their other colleagues had commented on the president’s remarks.
Meanwhile, on Fox News, White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway defended the president. After assuring viewers that the White House had been accommodating to Ford during the confirmation process, Conway then echoed and repeated her boss’ attacks.
“At the same time, the president is pointing out factual inconsistencies,” she said. “By Ford’s own testimony there are gaps in her memory, there are facts that she cannot remember. How she got home, how she got there. Where the house was, what the date was. If those pretending they want to find the truth, don’t say we can’t find the truth when she doesn’t know all the facts.”
He is a very sick man. pic.twitter.com/eOTBqBY81T
— The Daily Edge (@TheDailyEdge) October 3, 2018
The president’s decision to shame, mock, and criticize Dr. Ford was a break from his previous remarks on the matter. Less than a week ago, Trump told reporters that Ford’s testimony was “compelling” and referred to her as “a very credible witness,” even as he maintained his support for Kavanaugh.