Democrats — as well as key Republican Sen. Jeff Flake — criticized President Donald Trump Wednesday after he used a speech in Mississippi to repeatedly mock Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers.
In an interview with NBC’s “Today,” Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who sided with his Democratic colleagues last week in seeking a one-week pause on the confirmation process of Kavanaugh to allow the FBI to investigate multiple claims of sexual misconduct, called Trump’s remarks the prior evening “appalling.”
“There’s no time and no place for remarks like that,” Flake said Wednesday. “To discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right.”
“I wish he hadn’t done it,” added Flake, whose vote Senate Republicans would likely need to confirm Kavanaugh if all Democrats oppose the nomination.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, another undecided vote on Kavanaugh, said Wednesday that “the president’s comments were just plain wrong.”
Democrats were outspoken about Trump’s remarks on Tuesday night, too.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tweeted that Ford “deserves better.”
“Dr. Ford is a profile in courage,” Harris wrote after Trump spoke. “She knew what she was up against when she came forward but spoke out because she felt it was her civic duty. She deserves better.”
Sen. Mazie Hirono, also a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told CNN that Trump’s remarks were proof that “we can always count on the President to go down to the lowest common denominator.”
“Mock people, call people names, attack them,” she said. “This is what he does.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y, said Trump “owes Dr. Ford and immediate apology.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said, “I thought his comments were disgraceful and shows that he has no empathy for survivors of sexual violence. It was just another statement by our president to show that he doesn’t value women, and I really was disgusted.”
Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said the president’s comments “made me feel sort of sick.”
“I don’t understand why he felt he had to do that,” he told CNN’s “New Day” Wednesday.
“To turn around and turn her powerful testimony into a political rally punchline, I don’t know what to say,” added King, who caucuses with the Senate Democrats and who has said he will vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Democratic candidates in closely watched races also slammed Trump for the comments.
Jacky Rosen, who is running against incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller in Nevada, tweeted that Ford “was courageous during her testimony. She’s been dignified throughout this process. She deserves our respect.”
“Instead, President Trump is attacking her, mocking her, and making jokes about her experience,” Rosen said.
Sexual assault awareness groups also weighed in.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) tweeted it has “a whole page of tips about how to react when someone tells you that they’ve been sexually assaulted.”
“Spoiler alert: mockery isn’t one of them,” the group said.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a frequent Trump critic, tweeted that Ford “showed more courage in one day than” the president “has in his entire life.”
Even anti-Trump celebrities made their anger known.
The cavalcade of criticism followed Trump’s one-man reenactment Tuesday night at a rally in Southaven, of Ford’s appearance before the Judiciary Committee, with his voice alternating between an impression of her and of her inquisitor.
“I had one beer!” Trump said, characterizing Ford’s testimony about her level of intoxication as a teenager when she says she was attacked at a small get-together in Montgomery County, Md., in the early 1980s.
“How did you get home?” the president asked, taking on the role of prosecutor.
“I don’t remember,” he said in his Ford voice.
“How did you get there?” Trump continued in his reenactment of the Senate hearing.
“I don’t remember,” he replied in the Ford voice.
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway defended Trump on Wednesday, saying Ford “has been treated like a Fabergé egg by all of us.”
The president, with his mocking reenactment of her testimony, was pointing out “memory gaps” and “factual inconsistencies,” Conway told reporters outside the White House.