President Donald Trump went on a Twitter rant Friday morning aimed at Christine Blasey Ford, the California research psychologist who claims she was sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh when they both were teenagers.
"I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents," the president tweeted. "I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!"
The president also suggested the allegations facing Kavanaugh were part of an obstructionist campaign mounted by the "radical left."
"Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a fine man, with an impeccable reputation, who is under assault by radical left wing politicians who don’t want to know the answers, they just want to destroy and delay," Trump wrote on Twitter. "Facts don’t matter. I go through this with them every single day in D.C."
Trump foreshadowed his impending attack on Kavanaugh's accuser, and liberals in general, when he was being interviewed Thursday by Fox News host Sean Hannity during a "Make America Great Again" rally on behalf of Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, a Republican running in a close reelection campaign.
During the interview, Trump said that Ford should be afforded an opportunity to "have her say – and let’s see how it all works out" but also emphasized, in a complaining tone, that Democratic senators had "delayed it a week already." The "it" that Trump was referring to was Kavanaugh's confirmation process, which had been smoothly sailing along prior to Ford going public with her allegation of attempted rape.
"I say, let her say what she has to say. And, let's see how it all comes out," Trump told Hannity. "But they’ve delayed it a week. And they have to get on with it."
He also took the opportunity to attack another investigation that he despises — namely, the one into potential collusion between his presidential campaign and the Russian government.
"Well, it has to come to an end. It’s so bad for our country. I call it the witch hunt," Trump told Hannity. "It is so bad for our country."
As Aaron Blake of The Washington Post pointed out on Friday, the notion that Trump has been "restrained" in his reaction to Ford's accusations against Kavanaugh reveals the extent to which he has lowered the bar when it comes to civility in political discourse.
But here’s the thing: Trump has been “respectful” and shown “restraint” only by his own, very artificially depressed standard. It’s notable that he hasn’t directly attacked Christine Blasey Ford as a liar or completely discounted her account — as he has with women who previously accused him and his allies of sexual assault — but Trump has more than hinted in both of those directions.
And the dam appears to be breaking.
Trump, in fact, has regularly alluded to the idea that this whole thing is another made-up witch hunt, while occasionally peppering in a, “But we should hear what she has to say.” Had any other president (or politician) offered the kind of commentary he has on this topic, we’d be talking about how they were prejudging the whole thing. As with many things, Trump has desensitized us.
It remains to be seen whether Trump will double down on his recent attacks on Ford or continue to emphasize that she deserves to be heard out.