Trump Attacks Christine Blasey Ford In Latest Twitter Rant

This morning, President Trump took to Twitter to attack Dr. Christine Blasey Ford over her allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

It was just about a week ago that we first learned about the existence of a heretofore undisclosed letter received by Senator Dianne Feinstein over the summer from a woman who alleged that Judge Brett Kavanaugh had attacked her at a party when the two were teenagers. At the time, the name of the woman and the details of the allegations remained secret at her request, although they slowly began to leak out. By Sunday that woman, Christine Blasey Ford, had come forward in an interview with The Washington Post that quickly snowballed to the point where the plan that would have had the Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination yesterday had to be scrapped as even many Republicans were joining the call for hearings on the allegations. By the end of the day on Monday, the Thursday vote had been canceled and a hearing on the allegations set for this coming Monday. That hearing was quickly thrown into doubt, though, with Blasey Ford’s lawyers saying their client wanted an F.B.I. investigation before agreeing to make their client available for a hearing. Initially, this led to something of an impasse but that appeared to be broken through as the two sides opened negotiations that strongly suggest there will be a hearing sometime next week, although the date and the format remain unclear.

Throughout all of this, the remarkable thing has been the extent to which President Trump has remained quiet through all of this, something which is decidedly atypical for him. In the public comments he had made, the President has been unsurprisingly supportive of Judge Kavanaugh but also surprisingly deferential toward Dr. Blasey Ford, saying that she should be able to have her allegations heard. This came at a time when many top advisers were telling reporters behind the scenes that they were worried that the President would say something publicly or via Twitter that would blow the situation wide open in a way that ends of hurting Republicans. As for this morning, that seems to be exactly what has happened:

WASHINGTON — President Trump directly questioned for the first time on Friday the veracity of the accusations levied by a woman who has said Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while they were both teenagers.

Mr. Trump said in a Twitter post that if the alleged attack “was as bad as she says,” charges would have been filed by the woman, Christine Blasey Ford, or her parents.

He asked her to produce contemporaneous law enforcement reports “so that we can learn date, time, and place!”

Many women are reluctant to come forward and report sexual assaults to authorities, in part because they fear they will not be believed.

In suggesting that Dr. Blasey’s version of events from a high school party in the early 1980s lacked credibility, Mr. Trump ended his dayslong restraint from commenting on the accusations — a move that aides have feared could further complicate the confirmation process just weeks before the midterm elections.

Questioning the credibility of a woman who says she was sexually assaulted could jeopardize the support of key Republican senators for Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. It could also further energize female voters in the midterms who are opposed to Mr. Trump.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, assured an audience of conservative Christians on Friday that Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation would go through.

“Keep the faith. Don’t get rattled by all of this. We’re gonna plow right through it and do our job,” Mr. McConnell said at the Values Voter Summit. “In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court.”

Until Friday, the president’s public comments about the matter had been limited to praise for Judge Kavanaugh and blame lobbed at Democrats for slowing the judge’s Supreme Court confirmation process.

At the time of the incident, Dr. Blasey was about 15 years old. She said she was at a small gathering of teenagers in suburban Maryland when Mr. Kavanaugh assaulted her. She said he and a friend pushed her into a bedroom, and Mr. Kavanaugh pushed her onto a bed. She said he jumped on her, groped her and tried to take off her clothes while covering her mouth with his hand to keep her from crying for help.

Dr. Blasey has not been able to recall the date of the party where she says Mr. Kavanaugh assaulted her. He has denied the accusations. Both have said they are willing to provide sworn testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

(…)

“This is EXACTLY why Dr. Ford didn’t want to come forward,” Senator Tammy Duckworth, Democrat of Illinois, said in a tweet.

Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, called Mr. Trump’s comments “unacceptable and beneath the presidency of the United States.”

Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire, said the president should call for the F.B.I. to investigate if he wants to “get to the bottom” of Dr. Blasey’s account.

More from The Washington Post:

President Trump on Friday pointedly questioned the credibility of the woman who has accused Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were teenagers, contending that she or her parents would have reported the attack to law enforcement at the time if it were as bad as she has said.

Trump’s tweet marked a sharp break from the days after the accusation first surfaced, during which he refrained from attacking Christine Blasey Ford, a professor in California, and said she deserved to be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents,” Trump said in the tweet, which was his first to mention his Supreme Court nominee’s accuser by name.

“I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!” Trump said.

Ford told The Washington Post in an interview published online Sunday that Kavanaugh drunkenly pinned her to a bed on her back, groped her and put his hand over her mouth to stifle her screams at a house party in the early 1980s.

Ford said she told no one at the time what had happened to her. She was terrified, she said, that she would be in trouble if her parents realized she had been at a party where teenagers were drinking, and she worried they might figure it out even if she did not tell them

(…)

Ford said she told no one at the time what had happened to her. She was terrified, she said, that she would be in trouble if her parents realized she had been at a party where teenagers were drinking, and she worried they might figure it out even if she did not tell them

The president also took aim at “radical left lawyers” who are seeking to get the FBI to investigate Ford’s allegations, saying: “Why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago?”

Democrats have called for the FBI to reopen its background-check investigation into Kavanaugh, rather than a criminal probe.

The FBI has said it has no plans to do so unless the White House asks for such an investigation. And a Justice Department spokesman said earlier this week that Ford’s allegation “does not involve any potential federal crime.”

Here are the President’s tweets:

Trump’s comments came as Blasey Ford’s attorneys and Senators are in the midst of negotiations regarding what looks like it will be a hearing regarding her charges against Judge Kavanaugh at some point next week, although apparently not on Monday, and they could not possibly be any less helpful. As many people were quick to point out on Twitter in the wake of the President’s comments, there are very good reasons why women who are victims of sexual assault and harassment don’t come forward sooner. This is especially true when the incident in question occurred when the victim was a minor, as was the case regarding the allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore last year or, more broadly, the wide-ranging accusations that have been made against Catholic Priests around the country and around the world. Whether it’s because of the fear over what going public would mean, the shame over having been victimized, or the prospect that they will be the ones who end up being accused of “asking for it” or being a “slut,” or simply the shame of dealing with something like sexual contact at such a young age, there are plenty of good reasons why these things are not immediately reported.

These comments also come, of course, in connection with the numerous allegations against the President regarding his own checkered history. In addition to the long history of reports that followed him as a “celebrity” over the years, there have been plenty of revelations since he became a candidate for President regarding his treatment of women. During his campaign, for example, he engaged in vile personal attacks against women such as Megyn Kelly, Ted Cruz’s wife Heidi, and Carly Fiorina. And, of course, it was just one month before the General Election that we learned about the existence of the Access Hollywood tape, and the claims by nineteen women that Trump had harassed them in the past. Since he became President, we have learned about Trump’s affairs with porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal and the steps that were taken to pay these women off to buy their silence. Given this history, it was inevitable that Trump would be unable to remain quiet and that he’d attack Blasey Ford. What impact that will have on the upcoming hearings and, beyond that, the midterm elections remains to be seen.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2018, Congress, Donald Trump, Law and the Courts, Politicians, Supreme Court, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. MBunge says:

    Just so I’m clear on this NEW RULE…

    A woman accuses a man of something bad decades after it supposedly happens with no evidence to support her allegation. She’s unable to even specify exactly when or where the “something bad” happened or how she got to or from where it happened. She herself introduces a discrepancy in her own story (such as therapist’s notes that say she first claimed four people were involved while she now says it was just two). She then pitches a fit about testifying under oath, including making ridiculous demands of the FBI and a Senate committee.

    But the NEW RULE is that even after all that, anything less than complete and utter acceptance of her allegation qualifies as an “attack.” The man being accused isn’t even to be allowed to say he didn’t do it because that essentially is calling the woman a liar.

    By the way, and for no particular reason, when are we going to get a post on the Democrats nominating an accused domestic abuser for Attorney General of Minnesota?

    Mike

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  2. CSK says:

    I’m astonished he stayed muzzled for this long.

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  3. MBunge says:

    “A French court has ordered far-right leader Marine Le Pen to undergo psychiatric tests as part of an inquiry into her sharing images of Islamic State group atrocities.”

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45590963

    Yeah, this is all going to end well.

    Mike

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  4. HarvardLaw92 says:

    OT: They are clearly setting the table to fire Rosenstein after the midterms …

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  5. Guarneri says:

    @MBunge:

    Never. Intellectual balance has left the building. You can place the date in the month of November, year 2016.

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  6. Kathy says:

    Ford said she told no one at the time what had happened to her. She was terrified, she said, that she would be in trouble if her parents realized she had been at a party where teenagers were drinking, and she worried they might figure it out even if she did not tell them

    Anyone who has been a teenager knows this rings true. I know I hid plenty of things from my parents to cover up some places I went to or things I did, so did my friends, siblings, cousins, and acquaintances. And those are the cases I knew about.

    I recall a classmate in high school desperately begging money from half the school to fix damage to his car from a minor fender bender. I don’t recall the details, but he didn’t call the insurance company because then his parents would find out he’d taken the car on a day he wasn’t supposed to.

    As to Dr. Ford, I can understand saying nothing. She didn’t know how the assault she suffered would affect her later in life. To a teenager, parental wrath looms much larger than almost anything else.

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  7. James Pearce says:

    President Garbage posted some garbage on the Official Government Garbage Machine again?

    Of course he did…

    What impact that will have on the upcoming hearings and, beyond that, the midterm elections remains to be seen.

    Well…to be fair, we know what impact Trump has on any given issue. He makes everything worse. He goads left and right into imbecilic, counter-productive behaviors and everybody in this country is worse off for it.

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  8. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Mr. Trump’s comments “unacceptable and beneath the presidency of the United States.”

    IOW, it’s a day ending in “day.” Still, I guess we have an obligation to keep reminding people of what they voted for in case some of them (yes, I’m looking at you, MBunge), decide to ask “what the flok was I thinking?”

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  9. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MBunge: For once, I may be a skeptical of the value as you are. Alas, the American left has no control over what the nation of France chooses to have for policies. Still, I have some questions about the utility of sharing pictures of Islamic State atrocities aside from the purpose of stirring up hatred of people not like her and without any association with the Islamic State. You mileage may vary–probably will in fact.

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  10. grumpy realist says:

    @MBunge: Hey, dimwit–what if having said psychiatric test is something that is written into the statute?

    Ever heard of a Civil Law country?

    Ever heard of Due Process?

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  11. steve says:

    “But the NEW RULE is that even after all that, anything less than complete and utter acceptance of her allegation qualifies as an “attack.” The man being accused isn’t even to be allowed to say he didn’t do it because that essentially is calling the woman a liar.”

    “This is a completely false allegation,” Kavanaugh said in a statement Monday morning. “I have never done anything like what the accuser describes—to her or to anyone. Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday. I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity.”

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/kavanaugh-denies-accusers-allegation-says-he-will-refute-it-before-senate-judiciary-committee/

    (Which come first? Stupidity, then you become a right wing troll, or does becoming a right wing troll force you to become stupid?)

    Steve

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  12. Timothy Watson says:

    @grumpy realist: You really don’t think that he understands the difference between common law and civil law, right?

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  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    I knew Trump couldn’t keep his mouth shut. He blows like Orange Faithful.

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  14. Hal_10000 says:

    Here’s the thing about Ford’s accusations. I’m not saying it’s true or false. But nothing about it rings false. I didn’t grow up in the DC suburbs but what she talks about is similar to the ones I did grow up in. It sounds utterly plausible. There’s nothing like the Duke or UVa story that strikes of fantastic. It seems like something I could easily have heard about. Kids drinking in a home. Girl shoved into a room. Guy assaults her but then stops. She’s too shocked or embarrassed to tell anyone.

    Again, NOT saying it’s true. I don’t know and neither does anyone else except her, Kavanaugh and Judge. I’m just saying this is not a fantastic tale that beggars belief.

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  15. Teve says:

    Trump cartoonist’s take on Christine Ford.

    I love this guy. He’s almost certainly just some dude who realized that Conservative Artists need a fraction of the skill that real artists need to succeed.

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  16. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Hmmmm…. “attack”

    Maybe I am getting a bit worn out by Trump Tweets ™ but this dickish display doesn’t rank up there with some of his real attacks.

    This could be his pivot to “presidential”… well, as far as he’s capable of pivoting.

    After all, calling a woman a liar about sexual assault is something at which he is well practiced, so it could have been much worse, I guess.

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  17. CSK says:

    @Teve:

    I knew I shouldn’t have clicked on that link; I knew what it was going to be. I suffer too badly from vicarious embarrassment to be exposed to that.

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  18. Mikey says:

    @steve:

    Which come first? Stupidity, then you become a right wing troll, or does becoming a right wing troll force you to become stupid?

    Por que no los dos?

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  19. Mister Bluster says:

    Sit up straight at attention Bunge! Hear this!

    You will never concoct any new rule that supersedes your boyfriend Pud’s Prime Directive when it comes to dealing with women: Grab Them By The Pussy!

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  20. Bruce Henry says:
  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Bruce Henry: There were some guys in my high school who’s family ran an auto dealership. And every year there would be 3 or 4 girls who were driving new Buicks. Hmmmm….

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  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:
  23. Teve says:

    @CSK: his cartoons are so cartoonish that I’d bet money he’s just trying to scam the idiots like a common Coulter.

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  24. CSK says:

    @Teve:

    Yeah; maybe he’s laughing all the way to the bank.

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