OVER THE LINE
Jeff Flake: Trump’s Joke About Christine Ford Was ‘Appalling’
The Arizona Republican, seen as a swing vote on the Brett Kavanaugh nomination, told the ‘Today’ show the president’s shocking rant was ‘just not right.’
Sen. Jeff Flake was watching Tuesday night when President Trump made a series of jokes about Christine Blasey Ford, calling his attacks on her “appalling” on this morning’s Today show.
At Trump’s Mississippi rally the night before, the erstwhile real-estate mogul mocked the California professor’s sexual-assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“There’s no time and no place for remarks like that,” Flake, an Arizona Republican, told Today show host Savannah Guthrie early Wednesday. “To discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right. I wish he hadn’t done it. I’d just say it’s kind of appalling.”
Ford testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh decades earlier. The hours-long hearing drew widespread disgust.
Her emotional testimony riveted an estimated audience of 22 million live viewers, creating a bitter divide between those who believe her and those who support Kavanaugh, who allegedly held down and groped Ford at a summer 1982 high-school party while his friend Mark Judge egged him on. The two allegedly laughed as Kavanaugh held his hand over Ford’s mouth to keep her from screaming out for help.
Two other accusers, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, came forward last week to accuse Kavanaugh of exposing himself in college and of involvement in a series of gang-rapes at house parties, respectively.
Sen. Flake and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) came to an agreement last week that called for a seven-day FBI investigation during a cease-fire in the hearings before a final vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination is called.
Both men appeared on Wednesday’s show.
Coons told Guthrie he hopes that “the FBI’s been allowed to follow all of the reasonable leads from the credible allegations” before completing its assessment.
Last week the president—himself an accused sexual predator—described Ford’s testimony as “compelling” and “credible,” standing in sharp contrast to his attack at the rally, in which he imitated Ford saying “I don’t remember” and “I don’t know” about details of the alleged assault when she was questioned by Arizona sex-crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell.
The Mississippi crowd laughed.
"The details about that night that bring me here today are ones I will never forget,” Ford said last week.
“The stairwell, the living room, the bedroom,” she said. “The laughter, the uproarious laughter, and the multiple attempts to escape.”
Those details, she testified, “have been seared into my memory and have haunted me.”