During a news conference alongside Polish President Andrzej Duda on Tuesday, President Trump was asked about the alleged sexual assault perpetrated by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and said he “feels so badly” — not for the alleged victim, but for Kavanaugh himself.
Trump was asked by a Fox News reporter if he has any issues with the FBI possibly reopening a background investigation of Kavanaugh in light of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation that, at a house party in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh “pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth,” as she described to the Washington Post.
Trump indicated that reopening a background check investigation “wouldn’t bother me,” but then quickly pivoted to offering unequivocal praise of Kavanaugh.
“They have done supposedly six background checks over the years as Judge Kavanaugh has gone beautifully up a ladder,” Trump said. “He is an incredible individual. Great intellect. Great judge. Impeccable history in every way. In every way. I feel so badly for him that he is going through this, to be honest with you. I feel so badly for him. This is not a man that deserves this.”
At no point did Trump express any empathy for Blasey Ford, who has been the target of a right-wing smear campaign since she went public with her story in an interview with the Post that was published on Sunday. Trump didn’t even mention her name.
Brooke Baldwin bringing the fire after Trump's presser: "Refer to her by her name. She is not anonymous. She is not 'the woman' as you referred to her. She is not the accuser, she is Christine Blasey Ford." pic.twitter.com/7oiCi0bNfc
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) September 18, 2018
Trump’s sympathy for Kavanaugh is reminiscent of what he said about former White House aide Rob Porter after photographic evidence emerged that Porter abused his ex-wife.
“Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,” Trump tweeted at the time. “Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused – life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”
Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused – life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 10, 2018
During remarks to the media earlier on Tuesday, Trump defended Kavanaugh and described the assault allegation as “a terrible thing.” But he was referring to the timing of the allegation becoming public, not the assault Kavanaugh is accused of perpetrating.
Trump’s defense of Kavanaugh is hardly surprising, given that Trump also stands accused of sexual assault by 16 women, and was recorded on a hot mic bragging about grabbing women by their genitals. The White House’s official position is that all of Trump’s accusers are lying.
In his new book “Fear: Trump in the White House,” journalist Bob Woodward recounts a conversation between Trump and an unnamed “friend who had acknowledged some bad behavior toward women” in which Trump said, “You’ve got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women. If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you’re dead.”