Republicans deplore Trump mocking accuser

Senators Susan Collins (left) and Jeff Flake

Senators Susan Collins (left) and Jeff Flake

US President Donald Trump is facing criticism from fellow Republicans after he mocked a woman who says she was assaulted by his Supreme Court nominee.

Senators Jeff Flake and Susan Collins, both key votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, spoke out a day after Mr Trump’s remarks at a Mississippi rally.

Mr Flake called the president’s comments “appalling”, and Ms Collins said they were “just plain wrong”.

Last week Mr Trump called Christine Blasey Ford a “compelling” witness.

Mr Flake – who helped spur the FBI investigation into Judge Kavanaugh – told NBC’s Today show he wished the president had not spoken out.

“There’s no time and no place for remarks like that,” he said on NBC’s Today show.

“To discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right. It’s just not right. I wish he hadn’t done it.”

Mr Flake, of Arizona, is a closely watched swing vote as Republicans can potentially only afford one defection if they are to confirm their nominee.

If approved, Judge Kavanaugh, 53, would be expected to tilt the ideological balance of the Supreme Court in favour of conservatives.

Its nine justices are appointed for life and have the final say on some of the most contentious issues in US public life, from abortion, to gun control, to voting laws.

Ms Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine, has not yet said whether she will vote for Judge Kavanaugh either.

“The president’s comments were just plain wrong,” she told reporters on Wednesday.

Prof. Ford’s lawyer, Michael Bromwich, described Mr Trump’s words as “a vicious, vile and soulless attack” on her.

“Is it any wonder that she was terrified to come forward, and that other sexual assault survivors are as well?” he added.

Democratic leader Senator Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor on Wednesday to denounce Mr Trump’s “outright mockery of a sexual assault survivor.”

But White House aide Kellyanne Conway brushed aside the criticism.

She said Prof. Ford has “been treated like a Fabergé [egg] by all of us”.

 

At Tuesday night’s rally, Mr Trump poked fun at Prof. Ford for not remembering key details about the alleged assault.

He said: “Thirty-six years ago this happened: I had one beer! Well, you think it was…? Nope! It was one beer.

“Oh, good. How’d you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where was the place? I don’t remember. -BBC

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