Donald Trump mocked Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser and took ownership of whatever happens to Republican control of the House and Senate after November’s midterm elections Tuesday night.
Trump defended the federal appellate judge amid sexual assault allegations and questions about whether he lied under oath last week to the Senate Judiciary Committee about his drinking habits and other actions as a younger man.
“What’s happening now is just crazed. … They had gang rape,” he said. “Well, that turned out to be false. Guilty until proven innocent, that’s dangerous for our nation.”
“We want Kavanaugh! We want Kavanaugh!” the crowd chanted loudly, underscoring the tribal divide across the country over the now-controversial nomination.
“A man’s life is … shattered,” Trump said, again defending Kavanaugh over his accusers while dubbing Senate Democrats “evil” for their handling of the accusations and treatment of the nominee.
He did not show such sympathy for the first accuser who testified before Kavanaugh last week, Christine Blasey Ford.
Instead, Trump, for the first time, mocked her. As he ticked off things she says she does not remember about an alleged 1982 sexual assault she says was carried out on her by Kavanaugh, the president said each time with a mocking tone: “I don’t know!”
(He did incorrectly state that Ford does not recall the room where the alleged attack happened. She described in detail during her testimony the upstairs bedroom in which she says Kavanaugh and friend Mark Judge trapped her before Kavanaugh assaulted her.)
Trump also said that the midterm election is largely about his presidency.
“I’m not on the ballot, but in a certain way I’m on the ballot, so please go out and vote,” he urged a crowd of supporters in Southaven, Mississippi.
The president then lashed out at Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Judiciary ranking member Dianne Feinstein of California over their roles in the now-messy confirmation process.
“How horrible is this?” Trump asked rhetorically as the crowd booed loudly as he again called the #MeToo era a troubling one for young men, saying one false allegation can ruin a man’s life.
He used the Kavanaugh situation as an example of why the supporters in the hall should vote in November for Republican candidates.
Trump left the White House earlier Tuesday — when he told reporters the saga surrounding sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee is a “very scary” moment for men — for stops in Pennsylvania then Mississippi. He is ostensibly there to stump for recently appointed GOP Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who traveled with the president aboard Air Force One.
Inside Elections with Nathan Gonzales rates the race as Solid Republican.
But a new poll shows Hyde-Smith in a three-way dogfight with Democrat Mike Espy and Republican Chris McDaniel, according to the (Jackson) Clarion-Ledger. She and Espy are virtually tied (25 percent to 24 percent), with McDaniel only 6 percentage points behind Hyde-Smith. The 27 percent of those surveyed who said they are undecided will determine what happens next.
The race appears headed to a runoff. Voters would decide between the top two finishers on Nov. 27.
Hyde-Smith was appointed to the seat vacated by the spring retirement of Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran by GOP Governor Phil Bryant in April.
This is … a referendum about me,” Trump said. “And the gridlock they’ll put this country through,” he added of Democrats blocking his agenda should it control one or both chambers. “Pretend I’m on the ballot.”
Trump finally got to Hyde-Smith after about 30 minutes onstage, who took over the presidential podium and declared him the “best president we’ve ever had.”
“We’re going to get back on Air Force One and go back to Washington, D.C., because we’ve got a Supreme Court justice to confirm” Hyde-Smith yelled into the microphone. The crowd responded by chanting “U-S-A!”
He dropped his usual line that a vote for the Democratic candidate, Espy, would be a vote for congressional Democratic leaders and “open borders and radical socialism.”
Should Democrats take one or both chambers, Trump assured the friendly crowd, “I’ll be doing a lot of veto, don’t even worry about it.”
Trump also lashed out at Senate Appropriations ranking member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
“Oh he’s never had a drink in his life. Look it up,” Trump said, urging the crowd to do an Internet search for “Patrick Leahy slash drink.”
Trump warned that if Democrats win the Senate, Leahy would control the spending panel, while Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., would head the Budget Committee and Sen. Dianne Feisnstein, D-Calif., would take over the Judiciary Committee — despite what the president called her bungling of a confidential letter from Ford.
Watch: Trump Has 3 Prime-Time Rallies This Week. Here’s What We’re Watching