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October 6, 2018

WEIRD THAT SOMEONE WHOSE CAREER WASN’T IN POLITICS CAN HAVE BETTER INSTINCTS THAN THE POLITICIANS:

Again and again, President Trump was instructed not to do it. A cadre of advisers, confidants and lawmakers all urged him — implored him, really — not to personally attack the women who had accused Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

So he did it anyway.

Addressing thousands at a boisterous rally in Mississippi, Trump relied on his own visceral sense of the moment and mocked Christine Blasey Ford for gaps in her memory, directly impugning the accuser’s credibility.

Establishment Republicans initially reacted with horror. But Trump’s 36-second off-script jeremiad proved a key turning point toward victory for the polarizing nominee, White House officials and Kavanaugh allies said, turbocharging momentum behind Kavanaugh just as his fate appeared most in doubt. . . .

“How did you get home? ‘I don’t remember,’ ” Trump said, reenacting Ford’s hearing. “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. I don’t know. I don’t know.’ ”

The riff lasted less than a minute, but had lasting ramifications. The senators whose votes Kavanaugh was wooing said they were aghast at the president’s rally-stage behavior. But Kavanaugh allies saw a clear benefit: An argument by the president that bucked up Kavanaugh, discredited Ford and became a clarion call for conservatives.

More than two dozen Trump supporters interviewed at the president’s campaign rally Thursday in Minnesota said they wish he had not gone after Ford, fretting that doing so was not presidential. Yet many also acknowledged the president had simply spoken aloud what many of them thought privately.

Everybody knew her story was bunk, but — since she was a white, upper-class, professional, liberal woman — everyone said she was “credible.” But she wasn’t, and only Trump was willing to say it. Once he did, well. . . .