Trump Launches Attack On Christine Blasey Ford

After roughly a week of staying silent, President Trump decided last night to openly mock Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

After days of silence since last Thursday’s hearing on the accusations made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and even at some points seemingly going out of his way to acknowledge that she came across as credible, President Trump took off the gloves last night in Mississippi and went directly after Dr. Blasey Ford in a manner that had his loyal minions in the crowd cheering:

President Trump on Tuesday sharply mocked the woman whose allegation of sexual assault has upended his effort to install a second justice on the Supreme Court, escalating a battle that has already polarized Washington and the country.

At a campaign rally, Mr. Trump went further than ever before in directly assailing Christine Blasey Ford, the university professor who accused Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, his nominee, of pinning her to a bed and trying to take her clothes off at a high school party in the early 1980s.

Playing to the crowd of thousands gathered to cheer him on, the president pretended to be Dr. Blasey testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday. “Thirty-six years ago this happened. I had one beer, right? I had one beer,” said Mr. Trump, channeling his version of Dr. Blasey. His voice dripping with derision, he then imitated her being questioned at the hearing, followed by her responses about what she could not recall about the alleged attack.

“How did you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. What neighborhood was it in? I don’t know. Where’s the house? I don’t know. Upstairs, downstairs, where was it? I don’t know,” Mr. Trump said, as the crowd applauded. “But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember.”

Then, continuing in his own voice, he said: “And a man’s life is in tatters. A man’s life is shattered. His wife is shattered.” Referring to those who have championed Dr. Blasey’s case, he added: “They destroy people. They want to destroy people. These are really evil people.”

Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, criticized the president’s mocking of Dr. Blasey.

“To discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right, it’s just not right and I wish he had not have done it,” Mr. Flake said early Wednesday on NBC. “It’s kind of appalling.”

Mr. Flake is a key Republican who had pushed for the Senate Judiciary Committee to allow Dr. Blasey to testify about her sexual assault. And, last week, Mr. Flake recommended, in coordination with Democrats, that the F.B.I. spend another week conducting a background check on Judge Kavanaugh.

Mr. Trump’s taunts could inflame a struggle over power and sex that has consumed the capital in recent weeks and risked alienating two of the undecided moderate Republicans whose votes will decide the fate of his nomination, Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

The president’s advisers and his Republican allies in the Senate have implored him to restrain himself in the fight to salvage Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination, and for the most part, he has kept to defending the nominee and accusing Democrats of a “con game” while not overtly disparaging Dr. Blasey. On a couple of occasions, he broke from script and directly questioned her account as unbelievable, drawing a rebuke from Ms. Collins, who called his comments “appalling,” but this was the first time he mocked Dr. Blasey in this way.

Mr. Trump’s impression of Dr. Blasey, 51, a research psychologist at Stanford University and a psychology professor at Palo Alto University who also goes by her married name, Ford, drew a pointed retort on Tuesday night from Michael R. Bromwich, one of her lawyers.

“A vicious, vile and soulless attack on Dr. Christine Blasey Ford,” he wrote on Twitter. “Is it any wonder that she was terrified to come forward, and that other sexual assault survivors are as well? She is a remarkable profile in courage. He is a profile in cowardice.”

The ridicule of Dr. Blasey cut against the grain of the Republican strategy until this point of trying to gingerly question her account without seeming to attack her. Senate Republicans have emphasized their respect for Dr. Blasey and have praised her bravery in coming forward even as they accepted Judge Kavanaugh’s adamant denials. The president himself said after the hearing last week that Dr. Blasey was “a very credible witness” and “a very fine woman” whose testimony was “very compelling.”

Earlier Tuesday, the president’s advisers were privately marveling at how measured — for him — he had been throughout the controversy around Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation process. But his patience appeared to run out on Tuesday night, as Mr. Trump seemed eager to charge up his supporters against Dr. Blasey.

Mr. Trump’s portrait of Dr. Blasey was met with cheers and laughter by the crowd of several thousand supporters at the Landers Center in Southaven, Miss. And it mirrored the increasingly sharp attacks against her by conservative news media, which in recent days has questioned her credibility about what were deemed inconsistencies in her testimony.

Democrats were quick to denounce the President’s mocking tone toward Dr. Blasey Ford, and they were joined by Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona:

Democrats  as well as key Republican Sen. Jeff Flake — criticized President Donald Trump Wednesday after he used a speech in Mississippi to repeatedly mock Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers.

In an interview with NBC’s “Today,” Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who sided with his Democratic colleagues last week in seeking a one-week pause on the confirmation process of Kavanaugh to allow the FBI to investigate multiple claims of sexual misconduct, called Trump’s remarks the prior evening “appalling.”

“There’s no time and no place for remarks like that,” Flake said Wednesday. “To discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right.”

“I wish he hadn’t done it,” added Flake, whose vote Senate Republicans would likely need to confirm Kavanaugh if all Democrats oppose the nomination.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, another undecided vote on Kavanaugh, said Wednesday that “the president’s comments were just plain wrong.”

Democrats were outspoken about Trump’s remarks on Tuesday night, too.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tweeted that Ford “deserves better.”

“Dr. Ford is a profile in courage,” Harris wrote after Trump spoke. “She knew what she was up against when she came forward but spoke out because she felt it was her civic duty. She deserves better.”

Sen. Mazie Hirono, also a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told CNN that Trump’s remarks were proof that “we can always count on the President to go down to the lowest common denominator.”

“Mock people, call people names, attack them,” she said. “This is what he does.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, said Trump “owes Dr. Ford and immediate apology.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said, “I thought his comments were disgraceful and shows that he has no empathy for survivors of sexual violence. It was just another statement by our president to show that he doesn’t value women, and I really was disgusted.”

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said the president’s comments “made me feel sort of sick.”

“I don’t understand why he felt he had to do that,” he told CNN’s “New Day” Wednesday.

“To turn around and turn her powerful testimony into a political rally punchline, I don’t know what to say,” added King, who caucuses with the Senate Democrats and who has said he will vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

These remarks came just hours after the President made statements as he departed for Mississippi in which he clearly expressed more sympathy for men accused of abusing women than for the women making the accusations:

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he believes the reaction to the allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh makes it “a very scary time for young men in America.”

“It is a very scary time for young men in America, where you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of,” Trump said. “This is a very, very — this is a very difficult time. What’s happening here has much more to do than even the appointment of a Supreme Court justice.”

The allegations against Kavanaugh — including sexual assault and exposing himself to a young woman in college — have sparked the latest reckoning in America about sexual assault and men’s treatment of women, bringing the #MeToo movement back to the fore. And while Trump has called Christine Blasey Ford, who testified to Congress that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while they were in high school, “credible” and “compelling,” he has continued to support Kavanaugh’s confirmation and emphatically defend his character.

Trump’s comments on Tuesday were just the latest instance of the President expressing concern about the public outcry resulting from the allegations against Kavanaugh and the impact on other men.

“It’s a very scary situation where you’re guilty until proven innocent. My whole life I’ve heard you’re innocent until proven guilty, but now you’re guilty until proven innocent. That is a very, very difficult standard,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. “You could be somebody that was perfect your entire life and somebody could accuse you of something.”

Last night’s remarks were a significant change from how the White House was approaching the accusations made by Dr. Blasey Ford up until now. While the official statements and the President continued to make statements in support of Judge Kavanaugh, there was a marked and rather apparent effort to avoid directly attacking his accuser. In fact, in the immediate aftermath of the hearing last Thursday, President Trump went out of his way to say that Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony was “very compelling,” and even called her a “very credible witness.”  This itself was a marked departure from where Trump was just a week before when he was seeking to undermine Dr. Blasey Ford’s story before she had testified. 0Other White House spokespersons stayed within these boundaries with several, such as Presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway, going out of their way to at least appear to be sympathetic toward Dr. Blasey Ford. This didn’t mean that they were abandoning Judge Kavanaugh, of course, but there seemed to be at least some recognition that directly attacking someone putting forward a seemingly credible story of how she had been sexually assaulted as a young teenager was a step too far that was likely to backfire on the President, the Administration, and the Republican Party heading into the midterm elections.

All of that changed last night in Mississippi. Instead of being restrained, the President not only attacked the allegedly incredulous elements of Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony but also openly mocked her in a way that demeaned her specifically and women generally and seemed clearly designed to throw red meat at the pro-Trump crowd that he was speaking to. To some extent, I suppose that this was inevitable. Trump himself has a long history of demeaning women who make accusations of sexual assault and harassment, whether it is those that have been made against him, For example, Trump has attacked the women who made sexual harassment claims against people such as Bill O’Reilly and Roy Moore. In addition, he has a long history of attacking women generally, whether it be entertainers such as Rosie O’Donnell, journalists such as Megyn Kelly, politicians such as Carly Fiorina, or political wives such as Heidi Cruz. Given this history, I suppose it was inevitable that the President would turn his fire on the most credible accuser of his Supreme Court nominee, but that doesn’t make it any less detestable.

The President isn’t alone in unleashing against Dr. Blasey Ford. As The New York Times notes, he’s being joined by Senate Republicans, No doubt, this will play well with the base of the Republican Party, to whom it was most clearly aimed. In terms of decency, though, it was rather deplorable. But then, that’s an apt description of this entire Administration.

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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    In terms of decency, though, it was rather deplorable. But then, that’s an apt description of this entire Administration.

    hmmmm…. I’ve heard that word before. Who was it who said it and was roundly condemned for accurately using it? Her name slips my mind just now.

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  2. MBunge says:

    So…pointing out the vast memory gaps from a woman with vast memory gaps is an “attack.”

    But calling Brett Kavanaugh a rapist is…what?

    Mike

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  3. Moosebreath says:

    “It’s a very scary situation where you’re guilty until proven innocent. My whole life I’ve heard you’re innocent until proven guilty, but now you’re guilty until proven innocent. That is a very, very difficult standard,”

    Unless you are one of the Central Park Five, in which case Trump will run ads proclaiming the defendants deserve the death penalty before trial, and proclaiming he still believes them to be guilty years after DNA evidence cleared them.

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  4. CSK says:

    Trump is so bloody stupid he thinks that a few thousand yahoos bellowing their approval of him equates to the entire population of the United States: “They love me!”

    And, congrats, Trump, you political genius, you: You just assured that Collins, Murkowski, Heitkamp, and Flake will vote “no.” But the jackasses who love you will love you anyway.

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  5. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge: \

    So…pointing out the vast memory gaps from a woman with vast memory gaps

    Actually his recounting, as with most of what Dennison says, was false.

    But calling Brett Kavanaugh a rapist is…what?

    Is likely true.

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  6. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @CSK:

    You just assured that Collins, Murkowski, Heitkamp, and Flake will vote “no.”

    Those folks will vote yes, no matter what happens.

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MBunge: Just for you: Rachel Mitchell’s Former Colleague Slams Her Kavanaugh Memo as “Absolutely Disingenuous”

    A former colleague of Rachel Mitchell, the sex crimes prosecutor hired by Senate Republicans to question Christine Blasey Ford, blasted Mitchell for writing a memo casting doubt on Ford’s allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Matthew Long, a former sex crimes prosecutor who was trained by Mitchell in the Maricopa County, Arizona, attorney’s office, told Mother Jones the memo was “disingenuous” and inconsistent with Mitchell’s own practices as a prosecutor. “I’m very disappointed in my former boss and mentor,” Long said.

    ………………….

    Long next attacked a section of the memo in which Mitchell focused on Ford’s inability to recall certain details about the circumstances of the assault, including whose house she was at, who invited her, how she got there, and how she got home. “The spotty memory Ms. Mitchell talks about, as if that’s an indication it didn’t happen, is just absurd,” he said. “Again, I was trained by Ms. Mitchell about how trauma explicitly does prevent memory from happening.” Trauma causes the body to go into “fight, flight, freeze,” a survival mode that creates tunnel vision and prevents certain memories from forming that might otherwise have been retained. “I was trained explicitly by Ms. Mitchell to identify that as corroborative, as corroborating that someone has been victimized and experienced trauma,” he stressed. “Ms. Mitchell knows better than that.”

    OK, I lied, I’m not putting it up for you who will never click thru and read the rest, I’m putting it up for everyone else so they can link and quote it so all will know how full of shit that particular line of attack is.

    My wife recently had a very serious car accident. Her memory is a total blank up until just before she hit the tree. This is NOT uncommon, as you would know if you had ever ventured from your basement and faced a life threatening situation.

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  8. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:
    And last week you were questioning why it took her so long to come forward.
    Now you know, don’t you?
    Douche.

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  9. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Kellyanne Conway, advisor to President Dennison, on his mocking a sexual assault survivor;

    “She’s been treated like a Fabergé egg by all of us, beginning with me and the president.

    Fabrege egg? That’s a Russian thing, right?

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  10. OzarkHillbilly says:
  11. Jc says:

    This coming from a guy who cannot remember paying off a porn star just two years ago…or forgetting the words to the national anthem…wait, you have to actually know something in order to forget – Even his feet forgot they ever had bone spurs, like Mbunge forgot about his conscience

  12. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    mais non…

    A Fabergé egg (Russian: Яйца Фаберже́, yaytsa faberzhe) is a jeweled egg (possibly numbering as many as 69, of which 57 survive today) created by the House of Fabergé, in St. Petersburg, Imperial Russia. Virtually all were manufactured under the supervision of Peter Carl Fabergé between 1885 and 1917,[citation needed] the most famous being the 50 “Imperial” eggs, 43 of which survive, made for the Russian Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II as Easter gifts for their wives and mothers.

  13. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @tm01:

    Just wondering precisely what Trump said is wrong.

    He mis-stated and mis-characterized her testimony.

    A former boyfriend says she never mentioned assault or Kavanaugh.

    Some guy she wasn’t intimate with? Sorry, that’s not a boyfriend. You don’t seem to understand that sexual assault victims don’t go advertising to everyone. Most never tell about it to anyone.

    I really have to wonder if you are actually this dumb, or just pretending.

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  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Thanx, it was the Faber that fooled me.

  15. NW Steve says:

    @tm01: @tm01: @tm01:

    Well, given that Kavanaugh’s HS drinking disqualifies him for that, it’s obvious that Obams’s Choom Gang and cocaine use disqualifies him as well.

    Let’s see if you can handle a, you know, distinction.
    – “Kavanaugh’s HS drinking” isn’t disqualifying. People can and should be allowed to move on past some kinds of youthful mistakes after they’ve acknowledged them.
    – His working hard to conceal it (some observers might even call it “lying about it”) just might be.

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  16. Eric Florack says:

    It’s about time somebody started telling the truth about the woman

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  17. Lynn says:

    And the crowd applauded.

    Just pitiful

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  18. SC_Birdflyte says:

    No surprise here. The only (remotely) surprising thing is that Trump was able to wait as long as he did before shooting his mouth off.

  19. CSK says:

    @SC_Birdflyte:
    Apparently he has no recollection that he called her a “very fine woman” who was “credible” just a few days so ago.

    It’s a bit like Charlottesville: First he said the white supremacists were “very fine.” Then he was made to retract that. Then he repeated it.

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  20. Kathy says:

    Anyone having trouble figuring out why Trump lying about Dr. Ford’s testimony and mocking her is wrong, should resign from the human race permanently.

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  21. An Interested Party says:

    The saddest thing about this, much like the NYT article about how Trump originally got his money, is that it is all so predictable…he is a repulsive, loathsome, and corrupt creep…and to think there are still people who are defending this dirtbag…Republicans need to pay a heavy price for giving so much power to this tinpot dictator wannabe…

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  22. Michael Reynolds says:

    @tm01:
    Obama didn’t lie under oath about his earlier drug use, Kavanaugh did and continues to do so.

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  23. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Lindsey Graham on Dr. Ford:

    “This is what happens when you go through a trailer park with a $100 bill.”

    I guess that’s what happens when you poke your head in the closet and ask for an opinion.
    Dr. Fords credentials;

    Christine Margaret Blasey Ford (/ˈblɑːzi/; born November 1966) is an American professor of psychology at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Widely published in her field, she specializes in designing statistical models for research projects. During her academic career, Ford has worked as a professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine Collaborative Clinical Psychology Program

  24. al Ameda says:

    @tm01:

    Well, given that Kavanaugh’s HS drinking disqualifies him for that, it’s obvious that Obams’s Choom Gang and cocaine use disqualifies him as well.

    Help me out here; How many women Obama came forward and accused Obama of sexual assault, in circumstances that involved his use of cocaine or weed?

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  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Eric Florack: One thing you can be sure of, if trump said it, it’s a lie.

  26. grumpy realist says:

    Look you twits who are claiming that a rape victim is just lying–you say that about all rape victims.

    Guess what happens if women decide we have a situation where we can’t trust the law to protect us–we’ll start going around armed and defending ourselves no matter what.

    You really want a knife to your balls after you’ve said something slightly off-color? That’s the world you’re building towards.

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  27. wr says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: “I really have to wonder if you are actually this dumb, or just pretending.”

    I wonder that about Bungles and sometimes Pearce. This guy, I never wonder.

  28. wr says:

    @Eric Florack: “It’s about time somebody started telling the truth about the woman”

    I’m sure when Trump was making fun of a handicapped reporter — before he denied he ever did such a thing, despite the fact that it was on video — you were saying “it’s about time someone started telling the truth about that cripple.”

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  29. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @tm01:

    I remember when there was talk of Obama potentially becoming a justice on SCOTUS. Judicial Scholar (sic) and all that.

    Everything you type is just complete nonsense.

    “When I got out of law school, I chose not to clerk…partly because I was an older student, but partly because I don’t think I have the temperament to sit in a chamber and write opinions.”

  30. Scott F. says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Vote the scum out and get others to vote against scum as well. Leverage diversity initiatives in the business sector to ostracize them as well.

    Trump, his GOP enablers and his sycophantic supporters will not be influenced to know shame for their abhorrence. They must be hit hard where it hurts – their power and their money – and then hit again and again.

  31. Gustopher says:

    I’m surprised there wasn’t a rousing round of “Lock Her Up.”

    Part of the reason for him to do this is to raise the stakes for anyone else who comes forward. The other part is just that he is a boorish ass.

  32. MarkedMan says:

    From one of our Trumpers:

    None of her other homes have had additional front doors

    I shudder to even think what kind of slime coated pool of RWNJ fantasy this alludes to.

  33. Mikey says:

    @tm01:

    Well, given that Kavanaugh’s HS drinking disqualifies him for that

    It’s not the drinking, it’s the lying about it, you cultist toad.

  34. Mikey says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    My wife recently had a very serious car accident. Her memory is a total blank up until just before she hit the tree.

    I hope she’s doing well. That can be pretty shitty.

    My supervisor had a serious motorcycle accident and the hour surrounding it is entirely missing from his memory. He remembers up until five miles up the road from where the accident happened, and the next memory he has is the EMT talking to him in the ambulance.

    I personally had something happen in 1984. It wasn’t as traumatic as what happened to Dr. Ford, but it was definitely emotionally significant. I don’t remember the exact date, or how I got there, but I can tell you the person’s name and what they looked like with absolute 100% certainty.

    Because contrary to the fatuous, bigoted bullshit put out by Trump and his worshipers, that’s how the mind works.

  35. dmhlt says:

    @MBunge:
    Junior’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding his Trump Tower meeting with Russians reveals that at least 186 times he didn’t know or couldn’t remember.

    And that was for a major meeting just a few months previous.

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/everything-donald-trump-jr-doesnt-know-about-meeting_us_5afc5fd4e4b0779345d52258
    https://qz.com/1279771/there-are-186-things-donald-trump-jr-says-he-cant-remember-or-doesnt-know-about-the-trump-tower-meeting/

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: But IIRC, made for Tsar Nicholas’ family (the real one, not the one who used to post here before he changed his name to something else).

    ETA: I see Daryl and his brother both beat me to this. Well done guys!

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Le sigh…. My ignorance knows no bounds. Unlike some commentators. 😉

  38. One American says:

    @NW Steve: if you really think barry moved beyond his drug use while beyond teen years or as a public figure, think again.

  39. Timothy Watson says:

    @Gustopher:

    I’m surprised there wasn’t a rousing round of “Lock Her Up.”

    According to Maggie Haberman, there were people in the crowd yelling, “lock her up!” (via her Twitter):

    Several moments after Trump describes Kavanaugh’s treatment as “abuse” and decries guilty until proven innocent, the crowd goes into “Lock her up!”

  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Timothy Watson: Well yeah, about her guilty until proven innocent IS due process. After all, isn’t she what you get when you “drag a $100 bill through a trailer park” [ht: Lindsey Graham]?

  41. Teve says:

    The Cruelty is the Point.

    Pretty good explanation of Trump and the Trump Chumps.