President Donald Trump shifted his tone on Tuesday evening and launched into his fiercest attack yet against Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the California professor whose allegation of sexual assault by Judge Brett Kavanaugh kick-started the FBI’s weeklong investigation of the Supreme Court nominee.
During an extended sequence at his “Make America Great Again” rally in Southaven, Miss., Trump mocked Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, when she described how Kavanaugh allegedly tried to drunkenly force himself on her at a house party in suburban Maryland in the 1980s, when they were both in high school.
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“Thirty-six years ago this happened,” Trump told the crowd, before tearing into Ford’s recounting of the assault.
“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,’” the president said, continuing his imitation as the crowd in the Landers Center Arena roared with applause.
“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. But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember.’”
Trump’s attack came just four days after he praised Ford from the Oval Office as “a very credible witness,” telling reporters that she “looked like a very fine woman” and “was very good in many respects.”
Ford’s lawyers earlier Tuesday said she had not yet been interviewed by agents as part of the FBI’s investigation into Kavanaugh.
“It is inconceivable that the FBI could conduct a thorough investigation of Dr. Ford’s allegations without interviewing her, Judge Kavanaugh, or the witnesses we have identified in our letters to you,” attorneys Debra Katz and Michael Bromwich wrote to top FBI officials in a letter obtained by POLITICO.
Bromwich condemned the president’s remarks on Twitter on Tuesday evening, calling Trump’s speech in Mississippi a “vicious, vile and soulless attack“ on Ford.
“Is it any wonder that she was terrified to come forward, and that other sexual assault survivors are as well?“ Bromwich wrote online of his client. “She is a remarkable profile in courage. He is a profile in cowardice.“
The bureau is set to complete its inquiry as soon as Wednesday, and the report of its findings will be available only to senators and not the public, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.
At the rally on Tuesday night, the president criticized another of Kavanaugh’s accusers, Julie Swetnick, who alleges that the federal judge took part in plying women with alcohol and drugs, without their knowledge, at house parties in the Washington area in the early 1980s.
Swetnick claims that Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were present at one such gathering where she was raped by multiple boys.
“They were hanging about the area where I started to feel disoriented and where the room was, and where the other boys were hanging out,” she said Monday in a pre-recorded interview on MSNBC. “And laughing. I could hear them laughing and laughing.”
Swetnick also said she believes the Supreme Court nominee was involved in what she described as coordinated attempts to gang-rape girls at parties. Trump dismissed that accusation in Mississippi.
“They had gang rape,” he said. “A gang rape. Many times. Well that turned out to be false. So many different charges.”
Another woman, Deborah Ramirez, has also come forward with a charge of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh, claiming he “thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent” during an alcohol-fueled dormitory party in the 1983-84 academic school year at Yale, where they were both students.
Trump on Tuesday lamented that Kavanaugh’s life had been “shattered” and was “in tatters” as a result of the allegations, for which he pinned blame on a smear campaign by congressional Democrats to hobble his high court pick.
“They destroy people,” Trump said. ”They want to destroy people. These are really evil people.”
The president threatened that “I could tell you things about every one of them,” ripping into Democratic senators, including Richard Blumenthal, Dianne Feinstein and Cory Booker.
After senators have raised questions about Kavanaugh’s drinking habits, Trump singled out another Democrat in that context.
“Patrick Leahy. Oh, he’s never had a drink in his life,” Trump said, invoking the senior senator from Vermont, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committe and is weighing Kavanaugh’s nomination. “Check it out. Look under ‘Patrick-Leahy-slash-drink.’”
He then blasted the media for not covering the lawmakers’ political follies.
“The fake news doesn’t ever want to put that stuff on,” Trump said. “They don’t want to talk about it. They don’t ever want to put it on. They’re a bunch of fakers.”
Trump directed similar jabs at reporters throughout his remarks — broadsides that landed with extra resonance given a report by The New York Times just hours earlier alleging that Trump perpetrated various tax schemes in the 1990s to enhance his inherited wealth.
The president did not address that Times investigation directly at the rally, where his appearance was intended to boost Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), who was appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant in March to replace the retiring Sen. Thad Cochran. She is now running in a special election to finish serving out the rest of Cochran‘s term.