Confirming Brett Kavanaugh to SCOTUS requires keeping Trump at bay


Confirming Brett Kavanaugh to SCOTUS requires keeping Trump at bay

President Donald Trump on Tuesday expanded his criticism of Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, during a rally in Mississippi.

Separate Trump from Kavanaugh

President Donald Trump spoke about Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony at a rally in Mississippi on Tuesday night. The headlines at all the major outlets this morning scream that Trump “mocked” Ford: The Washington Post, USA TODAY, CNN, Politico, etc. Perhaps The New York Times deserves credit for saying he "taunts" Ford, rather than “mocks” her. But watch the video (above) and see what Trump actually had to say.

Trump was not "mocking” Ford, as news outlets claim. In reality, Trump’s comments were quite mild. He repeated "I don’t remember" in order to imitate Ford’s testimony. He did not alter his voice or attempt to imitate any of her mannerisms. He was not ridiculing her or teasing her. He was imitating her testimony in order to make a rhetorical point: that Ford cannot recall key aspects of the night when she was allegedly assaulted. 

Even so, Trump is not the right person to go out and defend Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation is quite literally tearing the nation apart. The atmosphere on social media this week is reminiscent of the days after the 2016 presidential election. Trump is a divisive and blunt figure — not an ideal spokesperson for this cause. 

Further, Republicans should try to distance Kavanaugh from Trump, given Trump’s smutty history with women. The news media will latch onto the latest explosive comment from Trump and will tie Kavanaugh’s reputation to it. 

Related column: Ford's changing Kavanaugh story leaves her short on credibilityRelated talker: News media need to get a grip on Kavanaugh

If Trump had not talked about Ford at Tuesday night’s rally, the story of the day could have been that Ford potentially perjured herself when she claimed that she had never advised anyone on taking a polygraph test. But perhaps I’m giving the mainstream news media too much credit. They’re too concerned about "boofing" and bar fights to cover a story that flies in the face of their narrative that Ford is "credible." 

Amelia Irvine is a Young Voices contributor. You can follow her on Twitter: @ameliairvine3.

What our readers are saying

Never thought I would see the day that the president of the United State would verbally insult a woman who is not only a private citizen but also a victim of attempted rape. Every time you think President Donald Trump can't go any lower, he does.

— Ian Blake

This incident is going to hurt the Republican Party in the midterms. Plus, Trump just hurt his nominee's chances to be on the Supreme Court. The White House is going to have to try to do more damage control, once again.

— Christopher Arguello

Whatever the truth is about the assault allegations from Christine Blasey Ford against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, he has lied under oath. That alone makes Kavanaugh unfit for office. Texts have been found showing that he knew and tried to douse Deborah Ramirez's allegations before The New Yorker piece came out. Kavanaugh testified that he didn't know anything about it until he saw the piece. He is a total liar.

— Reva Cooper

Trump just cannot keep his mouth shut. This is going to do nothing for him in the long run to win any voters who are not already with him. Trump is, however, motivating women to oppose him. Trump sows the wind and will reap the whirlwind.

— Steve Evets

What others are saying

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett,  The Guardian: "The president of the United States has called a woman claiming to be a victim of a violent sexual assault 'evil,' and I’m not even surprised. Since the election of Donald Trump, against whom more than 20 women have made claims of sexual misconduct, and whose own ex-wife claimed he raped her (she later recanted), there has not been a display of public misogyny that surprises me. The Republicans could start rounding women up in the manner of Gilead and I would be frightened and furious, but I would not be surprised. After all, if Kavanaugh succeeds in his endeavours, Roe v. Wade is in the firing line."

Kellyanne Conway,  statement to reporters: "The woman has been accommodated by all of us. She’s been treated like a Fabergé egg by all of us, beginning with me and the president. He’s pointing out factual inconsistencies. Do you have corroboration for her claims? Can you fill in her memory gaps, her factual inconsistencies?"

EJ Montini,  The Arizona Republic: "The senators who will vote on Kavanaugh's nomination must ask themselves if Trump’s derisive, mocking display, which seemed to encourage a sense of distrust, disbelief and ridicule toward sexual assault victims who come forward, is something they support? Is that the message they want to send to their sisters, to their wives, to their daughters and granddaughters?"

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