Trump admits influence of allegations against him


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Associated Press

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.

Kavanaugh calendar

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Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s high school calendar from 1982, which he provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sworn declarations

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Attached are the sworn declarations that were submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

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 also was 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 likely would 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.”

He added: “It’s possible that I’ll hear that, and I’ll say I’m changing my mind.”

Pushed to acknowledge the cultural moment, Trump repeatedly returned to the idea that qualified men would lose out on jobs because of allegations.

“I don’t want to be in a position where people say, ‘No, thanks. I spoke to somebody 38 years ago, and it may not be good,’” Trump said, adding, “The people that have complained to me about it the most about what’s happening is women.”

On his message for young men, Trump said: “It’s a very dangerous period in our country, and it’s being perpetrated by some very evil people.”

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