President Donald Trump on Tuesday said the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination drama has exposed a “very scary time” for young men in the United States because one accusation could ruin an otherwise “perfect” life.
As he departed the White House for remarks to a crowd of electrical contractors and then a fundraiser and a campaign rally in north Mississippi, the president also endorsed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s intention to hold a floor vote on Kavanaugh’s now-controversial nomination this week.
But he again signaled a desire to let the FBI conclude a quick probe into the list of sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh. The president also for the first time suggested that he would pull the nomination should the inquiry show the nominee lied to the Senate Judicary Committee .
“I don’t think he should lie to Congress. There’s been a lot of people over the last year that have lied to Congress," Trump said. The latter appeared to refer to testimony to congressional panels about his campaign, Russia and related matters.
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“That, to me, would be unacceptable,” the president said of his nominee. “A lot is going to depend on what comes back from the FBI.”
Trump was asked what is his message to young men just days after Kavanaugh and one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, offered gut-wrenching testimony about what she says was the nominee sexually assaulting her as a house party when they were both high schoolers in the early 1980s.
Trump has shown much more empathy for Kavanaugh than Ford, saying the culture of the moment in America is a “scary situation where you’re guilty until proven innocent.”
“That is a very, very difficult standard,” Trump said.
Trump has two daughters and three sons. He also has faced a number of sexual misconduct charges, as well as weathered a political storm created by his comments on the so-called “Access Hollywood” tape on which he is heard bragging about grabbing women by their genitals just because he was famous.
He also told reporters the Kavanaugh drama has been a “rallying cry” for Republicans as the midterm elections near.
“What’s happening here has more to do than even the appointment of a Supreme Court justice,” Trump said, adding he hopes the Senate votes later this week to confirm Kavanaugh as the high court’s ninth justice.
The president’s comments were similar to those of his son, Donald Trump Jr., who told the Daily Mail he was more concerned about how his sons will be affected by the #MeToo movement than his daughters.
“Right now I would say, my sons,” he said. “When the other sides weaponizes against men 40 years later we can bring it up and you did something in high school that no one remembers, and it should disqualify you from ever doing anything ever again, it diminishes the real claims.”
Sen. Mazie Hirono, a Hawaii Democrat who has gained a reputation during Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process as a champion of sexual assault survivors, told CNN that the president’s son’s comments stem from a “fear and mistrust of women.”Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.