In an unscripted monologue Tuesday night, U.S. President Donald Trump ridiculed Christine Blasey Ford’s account of her alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in 1982.
Trump was speaking at a campaign rally in Southaven, Mississippi, where the crowd laughed and cheered as the leader of the country mocked Ford’s recollection of her alleged attack.
“I had one beer!” Trump said, mimicking Ford’s testimony on Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Switching into the voice of a mock questioner, Trump asked, “How did you get there?”
“I don’t remember,” he answered in his version of Ford’s voice.
“How did you get home? I don’t remember,” he said, alternating the inflections. “Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know … But I only had one beer! That’s all I remember.”
And now, Trump said, “a man’s life is in tatters.”
Following the rally, Ford’s lawyer, Michael Bromwich responded to the president’s attack on his client with a tweet, calling Trump’s remarks “vicious, vile and soulless.”
“Is it any wonder that she was terrified to come forward, and that other sexual assault survivors are as well?” wrote Bromwich.
Until Tuesday, the president had been largely respectful of Ford in public, even as her allegation caused Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote to be delayed in order to give the FBI an opportunity to investigate it. Kavanaugh has strenuously denied Ford’s accusation, as well as at least one other credible allegation of sexual misconduct made by a female classmate of his at Yale University.
In the Oval Office on Friday, Trump told reporters he thought Ford’s testimony the day before had been “very compelling. She looks like a very fine woman to me, very fine woman.”
Yet even as Trump attacked Ford on Tuesday, presumably in order to benefit Kavanaugh, he also appeared to distance himself from the nominee later on in the rally. “I don’t even know him. I met him for the first time a few weeks ago. It’s not like I want to protect my friend,” Trump said of Kavanaugh, whom he nominated to the Supreme Court in early July.
The president’s apparent anger at Ford may also have been a reflection of other frustrations for the president, including a major investigation by The New York Times, published Tuesday, into how Trump and his siblings used aggressive tax avoidance strategies to transfer the real estate fortune of their father, Fred Trump, to their own generation.
A White House response to the Times story Tuesday night read, in part, “Fred Trump has been gone for nearly twenty years and it’s sad to witness this misleading attack against the Trump family by the failing New York Times. Many decades ago the IRS reviewed and signed off on these transactions.”