President Donald Trump’s mocking of Christine Blasey Ford during his Mississippi rally on Tuesday was not simply an off-the-cuff remark: He believes he can energize his base by tapping into its perception that in America, white males are under attack.
> The president and his political advisers are so convinced that Kavanaugh represents an untapped cultural undercurrent that in Mississippi on Tuesday Trump finally dropped any pretense of sympathy for women who have accused the nominee of sexual misconduct. As a crowd at a political rally chanted “we want Kavanaugh,” Trump lit into the judge’s accusers, picking at inconsistencies and gaps in their allegations.
> “What neighborhood was it in? I don’t know. Where’s the house? I don’t know. Upstairs. Downstairs. I don’t know. But I had one beer, that’s the only thing I remember,” Trump said as he mocked the account of Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a house party while the two were in high school. The audience responded with laughter and cheers.
> “And a man’s life is in tatters. A man’s life is shattered,” Trump said.
> White House officials said they believe they can harness the controversy to energize the president’s core supporters, who regard the allegations against Kavanaugh as a Democratic plot and part of a broader cultural war against white males -- in effect the inverse of the #MeToo movement to hold powerful men accountable for sexual abuses.
The president’s decision to pursue this line of attack is based at least in part on the White House looking for a divisive issue to jolt the Republican base ahead of midterm elections, Bloomberg said.
But the strategy could backfire:
> The president’s Mississippi remarks were condemned by three key Republican senators, including Jeff Flake, who has said he won’t vote to confirm the nominee before the FBI finishes an investigation of the allegations.
> “There’s no time and no place for remarks like that,” Flake said on NBC’s “Today” show on Friday. “To discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right. It’s just not right. I wish he hadn’t of done it. It’s kind of appalling.”
> Two other Republican senators who haven’t committed to confirming Kavanaugh, Maine’s Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, also criticized Trump’s remarks. Collins said in a statement: “The president’s comments were just plain wrong.” Murkowski told reporters his remarks were “wholly inappropriate.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump had simply stated the fact regarding Ford’s testimony, but that is not entirely accurate.
As Bloomberg notes, “she told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the assault took place upstairs, contrary to Trump’s characterization.”
Trump took aim at another of Kavanaugh’s accusers during the rally as well:
> After mocking Ford, he turned his attention to Julie Swetnick, who has claimed in a sworn affidavit that Kavanaugh participated in efforts at high school parties to get girls intoxicated so that groups of boys could have sex with them.
> “This woman had no clue what was going on, and yet she made the most horrible charges,” Trump said.