President Donald Trump on Tuesday continued to downplay the sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, questioning the credibility of one accuser because “she admits she was drunk” at the time of the alleged assault.
“The second accuser has nothing,” Trump told reporters of Deborah Ramirez, who told The New Yorker in an interview published Sunday that she believes Kavanaugh thrust his penis in her face when they were freshmen at Yale University in the early 1980s. “She was totally messed up. She admits she was drunk.”
“Oh gee, let’s not make him a Supreme Court justice because of this,” the president added in a sarcastic tone, according to The New York Times.
Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge, has been the subject of mounting sexual misconduct allegations in recent weeks.
Christine Blasey Ford, a 51-year-old research psychologist in Northern California, has alleged Kavanaugh pinned her down, groped her and tried to remove her clothes when they were high school students around 1982. A week later, The New Yorker published Ramirez’s accusations, in which she alleges Kavanaugh exposed himself during a drunken dormitory party.
Ramirez told The New Yorker that she was initially hesitant to speak out because she had been drinking at the time and there were gaps in her memory. After six days of assessing her memories and consulting her attorney, Ramirez told the news outlet that she felt confident about what Kavanaugh had done.
Kavanaugh, 53, has vehemently denied the allegations.
Trump’s comments on Tuesday fly in the face of sexual assault survivor advocacy groups, which note that victims of abuse should be believed and are never at fault ― even if they were intoxicated at the time.
“Some victims blame themselves for drinking too much at a party or putting themselves in a potentially dangerous situation,” according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network’s website. “It’s important to remember that if a sexual assault occurs under these circumstances, it is still not your fault. The blame falls on the perpetrator who took advantage of you.”
Some members of the Trump administration, including U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, have distanced themselves from the president’s aggressive rhetoric on the matter. While discussing the Kavanaugh allegations Sunday on CNN, Haley said sexual assault accusers should not be blamed or second-guessed.
“Accusers go through a lot of trauma and some handle it one way and some handle it the other way,” Haley said.
Trump also claimed on Tuesday that the Kavanaugh allegations were part of Senate Democrats’ efforts to “delay and obstruct” the judge’s confirmation.
“It’s a con game,” Trump said. “They’re playing a con game. They’re playing actually much better than the Republicans.”
Blasey and Kavanaugh are scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. The panel has delayed its vote on whether to advance Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the full Senate in order to hear Blasey’s testimony.
This story has been updated with more details about Trump’s comments and about sexual assault survivors.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.