WASHINGTON — One of the GOP swing votes on the Supreme Court nomination on Brett Kavanaugh said she was “appalled” at how President Trump swung on Twitter at the woman who has accused the nominee of sexual assault.
Christine Blasey Ford, a Palo Alto, Calif., professor, alleges that a drunk Kavanaugh, then 17, pinned her on a bed when she was 15 and tried to remove her clothes while covering her mouth with his hand as his friend watched. Ford said she thought Kavanaugh “might inadvertently kill me” as he “was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.” She said she revealed the incident to her husband and therapist at a 2012 couple’s therapy session. A friend told the San Jose Mercury News that Ford told her about the allegations late last year.
Both Kavanaugh and his high school friend, Mark Judge, have denied the incident. Kavanaugh has indicated he wants to testify about it under oath, while Judge said he does not.
Ford’s attorneys are in negotiations with the Senate Judiciary Committee about how she could testify this upcoming week; she doesn’t, for instance, want to testify in the same room with Kavanaugh and wants to be questioned by lawmakers instead of committee staff or outside counsel.
Trump tweeted this morning, “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. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!”
“The radical left lawyers want the FBI to get involved NOW. Why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago?” he added.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told reporters in her home state today, “I was appalled by the president’s tweet. I thought that the president’s tweet was completely inappropriate and wrong.”
“We know that allegations of sexual assault— I’m not saying that’s what happened in this case — but we know that allegations of sexual assault are one of the most unreported crimes that exist,” the senator added.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, which runs the National Sexual Assault Hotline and the Defense Department’s Safe Helpline, reports that out of every 1,000 rapes, 310 are reported to police, 57 lead to an arrest, 11 cases will be referred to a prosecutor, 7 will result in a felony conviction, and 6 rapists will be incarcerated. Among the least likely to report sexual assault are women of college age, the elderly, and members of the military. Among reasons for not reporting are fear of retaliation and a belief that the police won’t help.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo tweeted in reply to Trump that sexual assault and domestic violence are two “of the most under-reported crimes in society, this is a fact & in the past the law enforcement community has not done a good job of creating safe spaces for victims.”
“Politics aside, we should seize this moment & take stock of where we are at as a Nation on these types of issues & explore how we can do better to improve our system and make it safer for victims of sexual assault and DM. Although we’ve come a long way, we have a long way to go,” Acevedo added.
Trump’s tweet sparked the trending hashtag #WhyIDidntReport, with women and men explaining why their sexual assaults weren’t reported to authorities.