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.
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.
[Experts say long delays in reporting or a foggy recall are hallmarks of sexual assault.]
Until Friday, Mr. Trump, who has been the subject of more than a dozen sexual misconduct allegations, had said he felt terribly for Judge Kavanaugh and encouraged senators to hear from both parties before they vote on the judge’s confirmation.
Some of the president’s aides had implored Mr. Trump not to publicly attack Dr. Blasey, reminding him how important it was to the Republican Party that the judge’s confirmation go through.
For days, Mr. Trump had shown uncharacteristic restraint and even acknowledged in a Twitter post how important this vote was for his party.
“The Supreme Court is one of the main reasons I got elected President,” Mr. Trump said on Tuesday.
The Senate had planned to vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation on Sept. 20, but the Judiciary Committee agreed to delay the decision until Dr. Blasey and Judge Kavanaugh could testify.
Dr. Blasey declined an invitation to testify on Monday, but through her lawyer, said she was open to testifying later under several conditions. She said she would be willing to speak with senators on the committee later next week as long as she is questioned by lawmakers — not outside counsel — and as long as Judge Kavanaugh is not in the hearing room while she speaks. She also asked for steps to be taken to ensure her safety — she has received death threats.
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, called Dr. Blasey’s requests of the Senate Judiciary Committee a “laundry list of demands.”