Brett Kavanaugh; Donald Trump (AP/Salon)

Trump addresses Brett Kavanaugh controversy: It is "very hard for me to imagine anything happened"

Trump addresses what he calls the "very unfair" allegation of sexual assault against his Supreme Court nominee


Rachel Leah
September 19, 2018 4:47PM (UTC)

President Donald Trump addressed the allegation of sexual assault against his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh again Wednesday, telling reporters outside the White House that the charges were "very unfair" and that it was "very hard for me to imagine anything happened."

However, the president acknowledged that, if Kavanaugh's accuser Christine Blasey Ford testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee and "makes a credible showing, that'll be very interesting," according to CBS correspondent Mark Knoller.

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Trump spoke with reporters before heading to North Carolina, which has been seriously impacted by Hurricane Florence. While he stopped short of questioning Ford's credibility, the president placed culpability on the senators who are currently debating Kavanaugh's nomination. "Really, they’re hurting somebody’s life," he said, according to the New York Times. "I think it’s a very unfair thing what’s going on."

Ford, who works as a psychology professor in California, alleges that, at a high school party in Maryland in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh drunkenly pinned her to a bed, groped her, tried to remove her clothes and then covered her mouth when she attempted to scream. Kavanaugh vehemently denies the allegations.

Both individuals have been invited to testify Monday before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a special public hearing. Ford has requested that an FBI investigation precede her testimony, but Republicans have expressed resistance to such a probe.

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During a White House press conference, Trump told reporters Tuesday that Kavanaugh is "an incredible individual— great intellect, great judge" with an "impeccable history in every way." "This is not a man that deserves this," Trump continued, expressing sympathy for Kavanaugh and his family.

But the president said he was in favor of a hearing where both Ford and Kavanaugh can tell their sides. "And then they will vote," Trump said of the Senate. "They will look at his career. They will look at what she had to say from 36 years ago — and we will see what happens."

On Wednesday, the president's remarks followed a similar line. "I really want to see her. I really would want to see what she has to say," Trump said of Ford. "If she shows up that would be wonderful. If she doesn’t show up, that would be unfortunate."

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Trump's defenses of Kavanaugh have been somewhat restrained compared to when others in his orbit have been accused of misconduct, himself included. When former White House staff secretary Rob Porter was accused of domestic violence and resigned amid pressure, Trump said, "It was very sad when we heard about it. Now, as you probably know, he says he’s innocent. And I think you have to remember that . . . We absolutely wish him well."

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It was nearly identical to the statement Trump gave about accused pedophile Roy Moore last Novemebr: "He denies it . . . He says it didn't happen, and you have to listen to him also."

One day after Trump promoted Porter's innocence, he took to Twitter to air his grievances about a lack of due process. "Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation," he wrote at the time.

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Rachel Leah

Rachel Leah is a culture writer for Salon. You can follow her on Twitter: @rachelkleah.

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