Sen. King: Trump used Ford’s ‘powerful’ testimony as ‘punchline’

Posted at 6:23 AM, Oct 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-03 08:42:08-04

Sen. Angus King accused President Donald Trump of using Christine Blasey Ford as a “political rally punchline” after Trump mocked Ford’s testimony against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at a campaign rally.

“It made me feel sort of sick. I don’t understand why he felt he had to do that,” King, an independent from Maine who caucuses with Democrats, said in an interview Wednesday on CNN’s “New Day.”

At a rally in Mississippi Tuesday night, Trump imitated Ford and mocked her for not knowing the answer to questions involving the details of a high school party decades ago where she alleges Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her. Kavanaugh has denied the allegation.

King told CNN that the President’s actions Tuesday night were not a way to win over Republican Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the three key undecided votes on Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“I don’t think that was a way that would be calculated to win over those three votes,” King said, adding that he doesn’t know which way Collins is leaning “but I don’t think the President helped her last night.”

He called Trump’s comments ironic given the President’s previous characterization of Ford as a “credible witness.”

“Ironically, last week he characterized her testimony, I think he used ‘compelling’ or ‘credible’ or something like that, and to turn around and turn her powerful testimony into a political rally punchline, I don’t know what to say,” King said.

King also accused Trump of using Ford’s testimony as an “applause line” and took issue with the President mischaracterizing Ford’s testimony.

Sexual assault survivors have “a clear and vivid memory of what happened and to mock her last night like the President did –he’s dividing us into tribes,” King said. “Last night was the most basic tribe of all, men and women. He’s trying to set us against each other.”

He added, “Let’s try to get to the bottom of the facts, but what he did last night doesn’t contribute to that pursuit at all.”