President Donald Trump has claimed that women support his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, hours after angering female lawmakers in his own party by questioning accuser Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations.
‘We have to fight for him. Not worried about the other side,’ Trump told a roaring crowd at a Friday night rally in Springfield, Missouri. ‘And by the way, women are for that more than anyone would understand.’
Ford accuses Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her at a house part in the early 1980s, when they were both high school students in suburban Maryland. Her lawyers on Friday night defied a Judiciary Committee ultimate to giver her decision on whether she will testify next week.
Earlier on Friday, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who is considered on the fence for Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote, said she was ‘appalled’ by Trump’s tweet calling Ford’s story into question.
‘We have to fight for him. Not worried about the other side,’ Trump told a roaring crowd at a Friday night rally in Springfield, Missouri
Brett Kavanaugh (left) has volunteered to testify in new hearings if Ford (right) is willing to appear. Her lawyers again delayed on scheduling testimony on Friday night
Trump addressed Ford’s allegation in a tweet on Friday that questioned why she didn’t come forward about her assault claim for over three decades.
‘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,’ Trump wrote on Friday morning. ‘I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!’
The remark drew fury online, including accusations that Trump was ‘victim shaming’ Ford.
Senator Collins told reporters: ‘I was appalled by the president’s tweet.’
‘We know that allegations of sexual assault are some of the most under-reported crimes that exist. So I thought that the president’s tweet was completely inappropriate and wrong,’ she said.
At the rally in Missouri though, there were female Trump supporters who backed up his claim that they want to see Kavanaugh successfully confirmed.
Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine (center), considered on the fence for Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote, said she was ‘appalled’ by Trump’s tweet calling Ford’s story into question
Marsha Poindexter, who has been a self-employed insurance agent for 20 years in Springfield, Missouri, said that Ford needs to appear before the committee if she wants to level accusations.
‘Everyone needs to be accountable,’ Poindexter told a pool reporter.
Trisha Hope, of League City, Texas said of Kavanaugh: ‘I think I’ve never seen such a spectacle in my life, to see Democrats act this way.’
Hope said she is skeptical of Ford’s story because she can’t specify where and when the alleged assault took place.
She said she doesn’t think the FBI should investigate, pointing out that Kavanaugh has already undergone FBI background checks six times for successive appointments.
Hope, who was in town to promote her book about Trump called Just The Tweets, said it’s up to Ford to decide whether she should testify. But, she added, ‘If you make an accusation, you have to be responsible. You owe it to the accused.’
Trump supporters cheer during a rally at JQH Arena in Springfield, Missouri on Friday. Women in the crowd said they backed up Trump’s claim that they support Kavanaugh’s confirmation
As of Friday night, the question of Ford’s testimony remained up in the air, with Republicans increasingly accusing the 51-year-old psychology professor and her lawyers of stalling in a bid to delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote until after the midterms.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley on Friday said that Ford’s lengthy list of demands, including that Kavanaugh testify first and not be given a chance to respond to her testimony, were unreasonable.
Grassley gave Ford a deadline of 10pm on Friday to schedule her testimony, but she rejected the deadline and asked for another day to respond.
A statement by Ford’s lawyers called the deadline ‘arbitrary’.
‘Its sole purpose is to bully Dr. Ford and deprive her of the ability to make a considered decision,’ the statement said. ‘Our modest request is that she be given an additional day to make her decision.’
Late on Friday, an exasperated Grassley granted Ford’s request for an extension to decide whether she will testify.
‘I just granted another extension to Dr Ford to decide if she wants to proceed [with] the statement she made last week to testify to the senate,’ Grassley wrote on Twitter, saying that he had already given five extensions.
‘She [should] decide so we can move on,’ Grassley wrote. ‘I want to hear her.’