WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Monday that he would accept a “little delay” in Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process in light of new sexual assault allegations.
“If it takes a little delay, it’ll take a little delay,” Trump told reporters from the White House Roosevelt Room. “It shouldn’t certainly be very much.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee is currently scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation on Thursday, setting the stage for an eventual full-floor vote.
Democrats in the upper chamber, however, have pushed for the vote to be held off until members can weigh the merits of allegations, which were leveled by California professor Christine Blasey Ford.
Three Republican senators — Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona — have also expressed a willingness to see the process delayed.
Last week, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) disclosed that she had received a letter that included allegations against the nominee, but noted that the author had requested anonymity. The senator added that she had notified the FBI about the allegations.
On Sunday, Ford made her identity public via the Washington Post, telling the paper that in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, groped her and attempted to remove her clothes while he was intoxicated.
When the details of the allegations emerged last week, Kavanugh responded Friday with a statement offering a full denial.
“I did not do this back in high school or at any time,” the nominee said.
Kavanaugh stood by his denial Monday and said in an additional statement that he would be available to appear before lawmakers to address the allegations.
“I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the Committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity,” Kavanaugh said.
Debra Katz, a Washington, D.C.-based civil rights attorney representing Ford, told CNN’s “New Day” Monday morning that her client would be willing to publicly testify as well.
Trump’s comments on Monday mark the first time the president has addressed the crisis facing his nominee.
The president emphasized that he stands by Kavanaugh, lauding him as an “outstanding intellect” and “respected by everybody,” and characterized his confirmation as continuing along the right track.