By Julie Hirschfeld Davis
New York Times News Service
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump falsely charged on Tuesday that Democrats had sought to time a sexual assault allegation against his Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, to obstruct his confirmation, siding with the judge as he called for a swift process for airing the accusation on Capitol Hill.
“I feel so badly for him that he’s going through this,” Trump said of Kavanaugh, who has been accused by Christine Blasey Ford, a research psychiatrist, of attempted rape at a party in Washington in the 1980s, when both were teenagers. “This is not a man that deserves this.”
Kavanaugh has flatly denied the charge.
The president attacked Democrats for not having raised the accusation earlier in the confirmation process, when they first learned of it over the summer, arguing that they had deliberately withheld the information to harm him.
“Why didn’t the Democrats bring it up then?” Trump said Tuesday during a news conference at the White House with President Andrzej Duda of Poland. “Because they obstruct, and because they resist. That’s the name of their campaign against me — they just resist and they just obstruct.”
“It’s a shame,” he added, “because this is a great gentleman.”
In casting doubt on the timing of Blasey’s accusation, Trump, himself the subject of sexual misconduct allegations that he has denied, mischaracterized Democrats’ role. They took their cue from Blasey, who was not willing to go public with her accusation until this past weekend.
She contacted a reporter this year about the episode and detailed it in July in a confidential letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is considering Kavanaugh’s nomination. Blasey had initially asked to remain anonymous, until she came forward this past weekend in an interview published in The Washington Post.
Blasey’s revelation has sent what had appeared to be a surefire confirmation for Kavanaugh careening off track. Bowing to pressure from senators in their own party, Republican leaders postponed a Thursday vote to confirm the judge, and Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, announced that the panel would hear from both Kavanaugh and Blasey on Monday. (She uses the surname Blasey professionally, though news accounts have also referred to her by her married name, Ford.)