WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump’s imitation of a women who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault was not intended to be mockery, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday.
Instead, Sanders claimed, the president was merely trying to relay sticking points from California-based professor Catherine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.
“I dispute that it [was] anything other than the president stating facts,” Sanders said.
In stirring testimony last Thursday, Ford told the committee that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, groped her, put his hand over her mouth and tried to remove her clothing when they were both teenagers.
Ford acknowledged not being able to remember certain specific details, but said that she is “100 percent” certain Kavanaugh was her attacker, attributing her confidence in his identity to trauma.
Kavanaugh has denied the allegations as well as other accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior brought forward by two other women.
Rachel Mitchell, a sex crimes prosecutor tapped by the committee to question Ford during her testimony, issued a report indicating that if the hearing were a criminal proceeding, then there would not be enough evidence to bring charges against Kavanaugh.
During a rally in Mississippi on Tuesday evening, Trump appeared to mock Ford for gaps in her memory of the alleged incident.
Here’s the video of Trump mocking Ford and her allegations in front of thousands of people, including an imitation of her testimony pic.twitter.com/zr9HYFS84y
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) October 3, 2018
While Sanders claimed that the comments were not made with any malicious intent, they nevertheless sparked considerable backlash.
Senators Susan Collins, Jeff Flake and Lisa Murkowski, three Republicans who could be the swing votes to make-or-break Kavanaugh’s confirmation, each criticized the president’s comments.
When asked Wednesday if Trump would be calling them prior to Kavanaugh’s final vote in order to address any concerns, Sanders said that no call with the three of them had been scheduled, but that the president will be calling senators until the the end of the confirmation process.