Trump tweets: Dr. Ford must provide documentation of her assault

He doesn't understand why she didn't file charges back in the day.

CREDIT: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
CREDIT: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In a pair of tweets Friday morning, President Trump lashed out at Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and her parents, insisting that the credibility of her story depends on whether she can produce documentation showing she reported Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual assault to police.

Trump had said earlier in the week that he feels “so badly” for Kavanaugh, and in his first tweet Friday, he doubled down on this support. Kavanaugh, he said, “is a fine man, with an impeccable reputation, who is under assault by radical left wing politicians.” He insisted that the facts are on Kavanaugh’s side.

Trump then implied that the legitimacy of Ford’s allegations depends upon whether she “or her loving parents” filed charges back when the sexual assault allegedly took place. He called upon her to “bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!”

Reactions to the tweets were swift. Many pointed out that “assault” was a poor word choice for the first tweet, given Ford’s allegation is that she was literally assaulted. Others noted that if Trump wants more information about her story, he should allow the FBI to investigate. In a follow-up tweet a few minutes later, Trump insisted it shouldn’t matter if an investigation didn’t take place decades ago.

Earlier this week, Trump ignored questions about whether he would ask the FBI to investigate this incident. Back in 1991, it took only two days for the FBI to begin investigating Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.

Trump expresses no awareness about the many reasons why women do not report sexual assault. As psychotherapist Beverly Engel explained last year in the wake of similar allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore (R), there are a myriad of reasons why women don’t come forward after they’ve been raped. Those reasons include shame, denial, fear of the consequences (including damage to their credibility), low self-esteem, hopelessness, and helplessness. According to the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN), only about 31 percent of sexual assaults are reported to police.


By shaming Ford for not coming forward when she was younger, Trump is reinforcing the very culture that discourages victims from speaking out about harassment and assault that they experience.

This is a pattern for Trump. He has insisted that all of the women who have accused him of sexual assault are liars, and he likewise stood by Moore in the wake of allegations against him. Not coincidentally, Moore came to Kavanaugh’s defense this week too.

Ford is currently negotiating the terms to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week. While Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is trying to rush her to testify as early as Monday, she is busy trying secure her safety in the wake of numerous death threats.