President Donald Trump on Monday dismissed the allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior levied against his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, calling them “totally political.”
“And for people to come out of the woodwork from 36 years ago and 30 years ago and never mentioned it and all of a sudden it happens, in my opinion it’s totally political,” he said. “It’s totally political.”
Trump made the comments as he made his way into the United Nations building in New York for this week’s UN General Assembly.
Trump also defended his nominee as “a fine man, with an unblemished past.”
The President’s comments come at a perilous time for Kavanaugh and once again insert him into a controversy that many Republicans fear could jeopardize their standing with women ahead of the midterm elections.
On Sunday night, The New Yorker reported that a woman who attended Yale University with Kavanaugh said she remembers Kavanaugh exposing himself to her at a dormitory party. Earlier this month, Christine Blasey Ford alleged that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her during a party in their high school years, and she is set to testify in an open hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
Kavanaugh, who has denied Ford’s accusation, also pushed back against the allegations detailed in The New Yorker shortly after they were published Sunday night.
“This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen,” Kavanaugh said in a statement. “The people who knew me then know that this did not happen, and have said so. This is a smear, plain and simple. I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name – and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building – against these last-minute allegations.”
White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement, “This 35-year-old, uncorroborated claim is the latest in a coordinated smear campaign by the Democrats designed to tear down a good man. This claim is denied by all who were said to be present and is wholly inconsistent with what many women and men who knew Judge Kavanaugh at the time in college say. The White House stands firmly behind Judge Kavanaugh.”
Trump challenged the credibility of Ford last week when he asked on Twitter why the California professor didn’t report the alleged incident to law enforcement when it happened decades ago. Two people familiar with the call told CNN that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Trump to tell him his tweets were not helpful.