The Republican senators whose votes President Trump needs to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh are condemning the comments the President made Tuesday evening mocking one Kavanaugh’s accusers, Christine Blasey Ford.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) called the comments “just plain wrong” Wednesday morning. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said they were “wholly inappropriate.” Both Republicans have withheld announcing their position on Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation while the FBI completes an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations brought by Blasey Ford and other women.
Murkowski, in criticizing Trump’s comments, said she was “taking everything into account” in considering how she would vote on Kavanaugh, who has vehemently denied the allegations.
Even Republicans who have stridently supported Kavanaugh, as the allegations were scrutinized, sought to distance themselves from Trump’s remarks on Wednesday.
The President, at a rally Tuesday evening, offered a caricature of Blasey Ford’s performance in Senate testimony last week, with Trump pretending not to remember the answer to basic questions. The act received uproarious laughter from the crowd at the rally, but risked making wavering senators more uncomfortable with how Republicans are treating the allegations.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who pushed for a weeklong delay on the Senate’s Kavanaugh vote for the FBI probe, said on the Today Show Wednesday morning that Trump’s making a mockery of something so “sensitive” was “not right.”
“I wish he hadn’t done it. It’s kind of appalling,” Flake said.
It was hard to find any Republicans at the Capitol who were comfortable with Trump’s performance, even among the senators who were ready to vote to confirm Kavanaugh last week.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) said that Trump’s comments were “not appropriate.”
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) said that the President had a “tendency to have a coffee klatch conversation with his base,” but that it was “not what I would have said.”
He said “time will tell” if it had any affect on the Senate’s ability to confirm Kavanaugh, noting the plans to begin floor votes on his nomination later this week.
Even Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), perhaps the Senate’s most vocal and emotional defender of Kavanaugh, told the President to “knock it off,” even as he was somewhat lukewarm in his criticisms of the remarks.
“President Trump went through a factual rendition that I didn’t particularly like, and I would tell him to knock it off: ‘You’re not helping,'” Graham said at the Atlantic Festival Wednesday.