Republican Jeff Flake calls Trump’s speech ‘kind of appalling’ while Ford’s lawyer condemns ‘vicious, vile and soulless attack’.
In a raucous campaign-style rally in Mississippi on Tuesday night, Donald Trump mocked Christine Blasey Ford, who in wrenching testimony at a hearing before the Senate judiciary committee last week said the supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager.
As hundreds of supporters cheered, Trump delivered a crude imitation of Ford from her testimony, in which she vividly described a violent sexual assault she alleges Kavanaugh committed against her in the early 1980s, while admitting that certain details of the time and place were lost to memory.
Early on Wednesday, the Republican senator Jeff Flake, a key member of the Senate judiciary committee that held the hearing, called Trump’s remarks “kind of appalling”.
Trump has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 20 women, whose allegations he has denied and dismissed. But last week he called Ford a “very credible witness” and said: “I thought her testimony was very compelling and she looks like a very fine woman to me, very fine woman.”
At his rally, the president mocked Ford’s testimony with a question-and-answer patter that brought cheers from the crowd in Southaven, Mississippi.
“How did you get home?” Trump said, echoing a question Ford was asked by the committee. “I don’t remember,” the president said.
“How did you get there? ‘I don’t remember.’ Where is the place? ‘I don’t remember.’ How many years ago was it? ‘I don’t know.’ What neighborhood was it? ‘I don’t know.’ Where’s the house? ‘I don’t know.’”
Trump concluded the riff by lamenting the personal cost to Kavanaugh of Ford’s allegations and by insinuating that Ford was part of a partisan conspiracy. “They destroy people, these are really evil people,” Trump said.
The crowd chanted ‘lock her up’ in an appalling display of irony.