President Trump said Monday that it was “an insult to the American public” for Democrats to consider impeaching Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh and predicted that Republicans would benefit at the polls following the chaotic confirmation process.
As he departed the White House, Trump lauded Kavanaugh as a “brilliant jurist” and blamed Democrats for the focus on decades-old allegations of sexual misconduct that dominated debate in the weeks before the nominee’s Senate confirmation Saturday.
“The way they really tortured him and his family, I thought it was a disgrace,” Trump said. “A brilliant jurist, a man that did nothing wrong, a man that was caught up in a hoax that was set up by the Democrats using the Democrats’ lawyers, and now they want to impeach him.”
Trump will host a ceremony for Kavanaugh at the White House Monday evening that will allow the president to tout the confirmation of his Supreme Court pick. Kavanaugh has already been sworn in, taking both of his oaths—one is constitutional, the other judicial—Saturday night. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy presided.
While liberal activists have called for impeaching Kavanaugh, many Democratic lawmakers have tried to tamp down such talk in recent days.
“I think that’s premature,” Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “I think, frankly, we are just less than a month away from an election. Folks who feel very strongly one way or the other about the issues in front of us should get out and vote and participate.”
Even before the allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced, some Democrats questioned Kavanaugh’s truthfulness during his initial Senate confirmation hearing. “Untruthful testimony, under oath and on the record,” Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said in a tweet.
More recently, Democrats have cast doubt on Kavanaugh’s account of his drinking while a teenager, an issue that came up repeatedly during a Senate hearing that included testimony from Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who accused him of drunkenly assaulting her while they were in high school.
Two other accusers stepped forward in the closing weeks of Kavanaugh’s confirmation process to allege that he had behaved inappropriately with them while in high school and college.
“It was all made up, it was fabricated, and it was a disgrace,” Trump said of the allegations of one of Kavanaugh’s other accusers.
Democrats have said that an FBI investigation into the allegations that Trump ordered was too limited in scope to be useful. Trump and Senate Republican leaders agreed to the FBI probe at the request of Republican senators whose support for Kavanaugh appeared to be wavering.
Trump predicted that Democrats would pay a price in the midterm elections.
“I think you’re going to see a lot of things happen on November 6th that would not have happened before,” he said. “The American public has seen this charade.”
“I think a lot of Democrats are going to vote Republican,” Trump added. “The main base of the Democrats have shifted so far left that we’ll end up being Venezuela. This country would end up being Venezuela.”
Speaking later Monday at the National Press Club, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said that based on his own travels over the past several days, he believes the Republican base “is very much activated” as a result of the Kavanaugh fight.
Ryan praised the speech that Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) gave on the Senate floor announcing her vote to confirm Kavanaugh. He added that he wasn’t personally involved in speaking with Trump or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on the issue of Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Trump made his comments as he left the White House en route to an event with law enforcement officials in Florida, where he devoted a segment of his comments to Kavanaugh.
“When I decided on Brett, I said he’s flawless,” Trump told the annual convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Orlando. “He’s a flawless person. The best student, the best scholar, the great intellect, incredible record over many years, and yet he’s a young man. I said, ‘Brett, congratulations, this is going to be a piece of cake getting you confirmed.’ ”
Trump said that what followed was “a disgraceful situation brought about by people that are evil, and he toughed it out. We all toughed it out together.”
Trump is scheduled to return later Monday in time for a ceremonial swearing-in of Kavanaugh at the White House.
Erica Werner contributed to this report.