President Donald Trump reacted to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s Senate Judiciary testimony Friday afternoon, telling reporters she was a “very credible witness” and a “very fine woman,” before changing course and suggesting Kavanaugh should be confirmed anyway.
“I thought her testimony was very compelling and she looks like a very fine woman to me, very fine woman,” he said. “And I thought that Brett’s testimony likewise was really something that I hadn’t seen before. It was an incredible moment I think in the history of our country. But certainly she was a very credible witness. She was very good in many respects.”
After the brief show of compassion, a reporter asked Trump if he had considered a replacement for Kavanaugh, who is currently facing numerous allegations of sexual assault or misconduct.
“Not even a little bit,” Trump replied.
Trump’s response came minutes after the Senate Judiciary Committee announced it would potentially delay a vote to confirm Kavanaugh by one week, so that the FBI is able to sufficiently investigate the allegations.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said Friday afternoon that he and some of his Republican colleagues agreed with Democrats’ previous demand for a full investigation, in order to more fully vet the claims.
“I have spoken to a few other members on my side of the aisle that may be supportive as well,” he said. “But that’s my position. I think that we ought to do what we can to do all do diligence with a nomination this important.”
Ford claims Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a small house party in 1982, when the two were teenagers. She told the Washington Post Kavanaugh pushed her into an empty bedroom, held her down, and proceeded to try and remove her clothes, muffling her screams by turning up the music and covering her mouth with his hand. She said she was able to get away and locker herself in the bathroom after his friend, Mark Judge, jumped on the bed, unintentionally jostling the two apart.
Two other women have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. One woman, Deborah Ramirez, claims Kavanaugh thrust his penis into her face during a dormitory party when the two were students at Yale, causing her to touch it against her wishes. Another woman, Julie Swetnick, says she was gang-raped at a party where Kavanaugh was present, and that she had seen him and other boys allegedly spike the punch and drug women at other gatherings in order to attack them.
Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.
Minutes before Thursday’s scheduled committee vote, two sexual assault survivors confronted Flake — who had previously said he would vote in favor of Kavanaugh’s confirmation — in a Senate elevator, begging him to reconsider his vote.
“Don’t look away from me. Look at me and tell me that it doesn’t matter what happens to me,” one woman said.
Minutes later, Flake called for the vote to be suspended while an investigation was carried out.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) can still call for a full vote, though the vote will fail if Flake and one other Republican vote no.