Trump finds Ford ‘credible,’ says he has ‘no message whatsoever’ for Senate
U.S. Senators should take the time they need to be “comfortable” with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump said Friday, adding that he found accuser Christine Blasey Ford “credible.”
Trump said he will defer to Senate Republicans to decide how to respond to what he called the “delay” in a final vote on Kavanaugh on the Senate floor, but he reiterated his support for his nominee.
The president spoke in the Oval Office shortly after Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said he will condition a final “yes” vote on a new FBI investigation into sexual assault and misconduct claims against Kavanaugh. Flake said that investigation should last no more than a week.
“I’m going to let the Senate handle that,” Trump said when asked about the development. “They’ll make their decisions.”
Meeting with visiting Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, Trump was calm and measured despite the unexpected detour on the path to Kavanaugh’s confirmation, which the White House had hoped to conclude before the start of the next Supreme Court term on Monday.
“I have no message” to senators about the potential delay, Trump said in response to reporters’ questions. “They have to do what they think is right. There is no message whatsoever. They have to do what they think is right. They have to be comfortable with themselves, and I’m sure that’s what they want.”
Trump said he was “not even a little bit” considering a replacement for Kavanaugh.
But he said that Ford, who testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday that Kavanaugh had pinned her to a bed and attempted to rape her when she was 15, was “very compelling.”
“Certainly she was a very credible witness. She was very good in many respects,” Trump said. “And I think that, I don’t know if this is going to continue onward, or if we’re going to get a vote.” Trump added that he was still catching up to developments.
He also praised Kavanaugh’s testimony Thursday as “really something that I hadn’t seen before. Incredible. It was an incredible moment in the history of our country.”
“I think it will work out very well for the country. I just want it to work out well for the country,” Trump said. “If that happens, I’m happy.”
Trump praised committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who had presided, tight-lipped, as Flake told senators he would vote to advance Kavanaugh to the floor but wanted the further inquiry before he could vote to confirm him.
“I’m going to rely on all the people, including Senator Grassley, who is doing a very good job,” Trump said.
“That is going to be a decision they are going to make, and I suspect they’ll be making some decision soon whether to take a vote or do whatever else they want to do. I will be totally reliant on what Senator Grassley and the group decides to do.”