The White House on Wednesday responded to President Donald Trump‘s decision to publicly mock Christine Blasey Ford, a woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in 1982.
Trump was merely “stating facts,” said Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, during her first on-camera press briefing in nearly a month. “No one is looking at whether the accusation has been corroborated,” she said. “Every single bit of evidence and facts have supported Judge Kavanaugh.”
Sanders said Trump is not concerned that his attack on Ford could influence crucial swing votes in the Senate. “The president is very confident in his nominee,” she said.
She also accused Senate Democrats of “literally trying to undercut the voice of the American people when they elected Donald Trump.”
Asked whether she believed Kavanaugh was a victim as well, she replied, “I think both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh are victims at the hands of the Democrats.”
Speaking at a campaign rally Tuesday night in Mississippi, Trump mocked Ford’s recollection of her alleged attack, while the crowd cheered and laughed.
“I had one beer!” Trump said, mimicking Ford. “How did you get there? I don’t remember. How did you get home? I don’t remember,” he said, alternating the inflections. “Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know … But I only had one beer! That’s all I remember.”
Until Tuesday, the president had been largely respectful of Ford in public, even as her allegation caused Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote to be delayed in order to give the FBI an opportunity to investigate it. Kavanaugh has strenuously denied Ford’s accusation, as well as at least one other credible allegation of sexual misconduct made by a female classmate of his at Yale University.
Sanders said Wednesday that the testimony of Dr. Ford was “compelling,” but added, “You can’t make this decision based on emotion. It has to be based on fact.”
Yet even as Trump attacked Ford on Tuesday, presumably in order to benefit Kavanaugh, he also appeared to distance himself from the nominee later on in the rally. “I don’t even know him. I met him for the first time a few weeks ago. It’s not like I want to protect my friend,” Trump said of Kavanaugh, whom he nominated to the Supreme Court in early July.