WASHINGTON — Three influential Republicans, who together could decide the fate of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, condemned on Wednesday comments by President Trump that mocked one of the women who has accused his nominee of sexual assault.
The president’s mockery of the woman, Christine Blasey Ford, at a Mississippi campaign rally on Tuesday injected still more uncertainty into the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh and only served to heighten tensions in the Senate.
Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, told reporters, “I am taking everything into account. The president’s comments yesterday mocking Dr. Ford were wholly inappropriate and in my view unacceptable.”
On NBC’s “Today,” Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, said, “There is no time and no place for remarks like that, but to discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right.”
“I wish he hadn’t have done it, and I just say it’s kind of appalling,” Mr. Flake added.
And Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, told reporters in the Capitol the remarks were “just plain wrong.”
Those swift rebukes, and others from liberal Democrats trying to sink Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation, reflected the strained atmosphere that has settled over Capitol Hill as the Senate lurches toward a final vote on Judge Kavanaugh that could alter the course of the Supreme Court. A White House official said Mr. Trump was merely “stating facts.”
Ms. Collins did not indicate that the comments would affect her final vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation, which could come as soon as late this week. Mr. Flake said it would not: “No, you can’t blame or take it out on other people, the president’s insensitive remarks.”
Instead, the senators have said they are waiting for the results of a supplemental background investigation by the F.B.I. into sexual misconduct claims — findings that could reach Capitol Hill by Wednesday afternoon.
Two senior Republicans lamented the comments, as well. Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined the condemnations when he took to Twitter to “plead with all” to stop attacks and “destruction of” Dr. Blasey.
“I wish he would just stay out of it,” said Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah.
But in a sign of how the Kavanaugh debate has shattered the longstanding rules of decorum in the Senate, the Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, nearly accused his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, of lying after Mr. McConnell accused Democrats of trying to delay the confirmation vote.
“It is a blatant falsehood,” Mr. Schumer declared. “I’m so tempted to use the ‘L’ word — but he is my friend — to say the Democrats caused the delay.”
Mr. McConnell, for his part, railed against protesters who have dogged him and other Republican senators.
“One of our colleagues and his family were effectively run out of a restaurant in recent days. Another reported having protesters physically block his car door,” he said.
“I’m not suggesting we’re the victims here,” he went on. “But I want to make it clear to these people who are chasing my members around the hall here, or harassing them at the airports, or going to their homes. We will not be intimidated by these people.”
A handful of undecided senators helped force Republican leaders to initiate the inquiry into sexual misconduct allegations last week, and have kept close tabs on how the investigation is progressing. Mr. Flake has made clear he intends to vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh if the F.B.I. does not turn up any meaningful new information bolstering the accusations. Ms. Collins, one of the body’s few remaining moderates who is under intense pressure from liberals and conservatives, has said she remains undecided.
Mr. Trump’s tone toward Dr. Blasey has shifted in the days since she first came forward with a story that Judge Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her more than thirty years ago when they were both teenagers. The president initially avoided criticizing her directly and said he would watch her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee closely.
But on Wednesday, before a cheering crowd in Mississippi, he dispensed with that reserve, deriding Dr. Blasey’s emotional testimony of what happened that night.
“Thirty-six years ago this happened. I had one beer, right? I had one beer,” Mr. Trump said, imitating Dr. Blasey.
“How did you get home? I don’t remember,” he said. “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.”
At the White House on Wednesday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, batted back criticism of Mr. Trump’s remarks at the rally.
“It seemed to me that he was stating facts that Dr. Ford herself laid out in testimony,” Ms. Sanders said, adding that there had been no information made public that supported Dr. Blasey’s accounts. Ms. Sanders also defended the White House’s handling of the F.B.I. background investigation into the accusations, saying the administration had given senators what they asked for.
“Every single word that Judge Kavanaugh has said has been picked apart, every single word, second by second,” she said. “Yet if anybody says anything about the accusations that have been thrown against him, it’s off limits.”
Still, a Republican who has forcefully defended Judge Kavanaugh, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said he took no issue with the content of Mr. Trump’s speech but did not like the president’s delivery.
“I would tell him to knock it off — it’s not helpful,” Mr. Graham said at the Atlantic festival in Washington.
Liberal opponents of Judge Kavanaugh wasted little time in turning Mr. Trump’s verbal assault on Dr. Blasey into an internet advertisement intended to pressure Ms. Collins, Mr. Flake and Ms. Murkowski.
The ad, created by the group Demand Justice, features a black and white photograph of Dr. Blasey, her hand raised as she takes the oath before testifying, and Mr. Trump’s mocking words. It carries the tag line, “Please stand up to Donald Trump,” and will run in the senators’ home states.