By Catherine Lucey and Jill Colvin - Associated Press
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference Wednesday in New York. -
WASHINGTON — An agitated President Donald Trump acknowledged Wednesday that past accusations of sexual misconduct against him have influenced the way he views similar allegations against other men, including his Supreme Court nominee.
Wading into the #MeToo moment, Trump said he views such accusations “differently” because he’s “had a lot of false charges made against me.” He made the comments at a news conference in New York a day before Judge Brett Kavanaugh was set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee amid multiple accusations of sexual misconduct.
While Trump pledged to listen to the testimony of Kavanaugh’s accuser and even said he was open to changing his mind about his nominee, he made clear that he was deeply skeptical of these types of accusations.
“It’s happened to me many times,” Trump said, claiming he’d been accused — falsely — by “four or five women.”
In fact, more than a dozen women came forward during the 2016 campaign, claiming they were assaulted, groped or kissed without consent by Trump. Trump was also caught on tape in 2005 boasting of grabbing women by their genitals and kissing them without permission.
During the free-wheeling news conference, Trump continued to lash out at Democrats and label the allegations against Kavanaugh politically motivated. He also expressed frustrations with the delays in the process guided by Republicans and took a shot at attorney Michael Avenatti, who is representing the latest accuser.
Trump’s remarks underscored the complexity of the moment, as Republicans seek to continue their efforts to install conservatives on the high court. While Republicans want to move forward, they are mindful of the fallout if they don’t take the accusations seriously. Should the effort fail, the party would likely explode in finger-pointing that could have implications in the November elections.
“Republican senators have delayed this for weeks now,” Trump said. “They are giving the women a major chance to speak.”
Kavanaugh and his chief accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, who says Kavanaugh assaulted her in high school, are both expected to testify Thursday. Ford has claimed that Kavanaugh tried to remove her clothes and clamped a hand over her mouth at a party when both were in high school.
Another woman came forward over the weekend, telling The New Yorker magazine that Kavanaugh exposed himself and caused her to touch his penis at a party when both were Yale freshmen. And on Wednesday, a woman represented by Avenatti — who shot to fame as the attorney taking on the president for porn actress Stormy Daniels — made another accusation of misconduct.
Kavanaugh has steadfastly denied all the allegations.
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference Wednesday in New York.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_121338007-9e72d3a9599a4882a8cfea729a865fbb.jpgPresident Donald Trump speaks during a news conference Wednesday in New York.