President Donald Trump tweeted his support of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh Thursday after Kavanaugh testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee to address Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that he sexually assaulted her.
The president was noticeably silent on Twitter throughout the daylong hearing, during which both Blasey and Kavanaugh offered tearful testimony. Immediately after the hearing ended, Trump called Kavanaugh’s testimony “powerful, honest and riveting,” while calling Blasey’s accusations part of a political tactic by Democrats.
He echoed Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who during the hearing went on a tangent about Blasey’s allegations being a “sham” leveled by Democrats on the committee.
“I would never do to them what you’ve done to this guy,” Graham yelled. “This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics. And if you really wanted to know the truth, you sure as hell wouldn’t have done what you’ve done to this guy.”
Thursday’s hearing was a critical moment for the Me Too movement, hinging on whether U.S. politicians believe women like Blasey and Kavanaugh’s other alleged victims, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick; whether allegations of sexual assault can or should affect a Supreme Court confirmation; whether speaking out against powerful men is worth the inevitable backlash.
It was no surprise that Trump chimed in about the hearing. He’s publicly defended Kavanaugh and lashed out at Blasey since she went public with her allegation that Kavanaugh forced himself on her at a party in high school. In a Twitter tirade last week, Trump wondered why Blasey never called the cops (victims of rape and sexual assault rarely do) and why nobody reached out to the FBI (you’re not supposed to). He accused Democrats of playing a “con game” and making “false accusations.” He said Kavanaugh was “an absolute gem” who had been “treated very unfairly.”
The president also argued that Ramirez “has nothing” against Kavanaugh because “She was totally messed up. She admits she was drunk.” Ramirez accused the nominee of thrusting his penis in her face when they were freshmen at Yale in the ’80s.
Trump has said little about Swetnick, who stated in a sworn declaration prior to Thursday’s hearing that Kavanaugh and others in his circle would spike beverages at parties and “target” particular women in attendance. Swetnick said she was raped at a party where Kavanaugh was present.
Trump’s swipes at Kavanaugh’s accusers demonstrate why many victims don’t share their stories of assault or seek help. Blasey’s closest friends have said she was hesitant to come forward with her story because she feared these very attacks.
Despite being forced to spar with the president online and endure threats and harassment, Blasey announced on Sunday that she would indeed testify about her accusations against Kavanaugh.
“We committed to moving forward with an open hearing,” wrote Blasey’s lawyers in a statement. “Despite actual threats to her safety and her life, Dr. Ford believes it is important for Senators to hear directly from her about the sexual assault committed against her.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.