President Donald Trump has not always expressed caution when responding to #MeToo accusers, calling them liars in the past and defending alleged perpetrators, but he is treading more carefully amid accusations that Judge Brett Kavanaugh assaulted a young woman when he was in high school.
After allegations surfaced that Kavanaugh tried to force himself on Christine Blasey Ford when they were both minors, Trump expressed support for Kavanaugh as a nominee but did not immediately jump to his defense regarding the claims as Trump has done previously. (RELATED: Kavanaugh Accuser’s Lawyer: It’s Not Her Job To Corroborate Her Story)
Kavanaugh “is one of the finest people that I’ve ever known,” Trump said in a Monday appearance at the White House, supporting Kavanaugh’s character but not flatly denying the accusations as he had done before.
“He is somebody very special,” Trump said. “At the same time, we want to go through a process.”
Trump continued to emphasize the importance of going through a process multiple times in front of the press, and that a little bit of a delay was possible.
The president’s tune is different than previous occasions where he defended the late Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly when they were accused of sexual assault, and came to former White House staff secretary Rob Porter’s aid when he was accused of abusing his ex-wives. The president also defended GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore after accusations surfaced that he’d assault young women when Moore was in his 30s.
The allegations were first reported by The New Yorker Sept. 14, and Ford’s name was not reported until Sept. 16. Reports also indicate that multiple media outlets possessed this information as early as July, but did not release the information until California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein sent a letter to the FBI about the allegations Sept. 13.
“I wish the Democrats could have done this a lot sooner, because they had this information for many months,” Trump said.
Kavanaugh rejected all allegations of misconduct.
“This is a completely false allegation. I have never done anything like what the accuser describes — to her or to anyone,” Kavanaugh said in a Monday statement. “Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday.”
Kavanaugh reportedly insisted he wasn’t at the party that’s been described as the location where the assault occurred. (RELATED: Two Former Kavanaugh Girlfriends Refute Claims That The 65 Women Who Supported Him No Longer Do)
The president is “suggesting the accusation has been politicized without directly saying it,” a Washington Post reporter wrote, pointing to Trump’s statements which expressly state his thoughts while remaining cautious. “It’s suggesting Democrats are doing something desperate by pushing this now, when they could have done so before.”
Kavanaugh spoke with the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday evening about the sexual assault allegations. The Committee will hold a public hearing for Kavanaugh and Ford on Sept. 24.
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