‘I know you’re not thinking’: Trump berates women reporters over Kavanaugh questions
President Trump mocked and dismissed several women reporters at a press conference on the U.S. trade deal with Canada and Mexico Monday after they asked questions about Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women.
The president’s first target was ABC’s Cecilia Vega, whom he called on before realizing her question would be about Kavanaugh. “She’s shocked that I picked her. She’s in a state of shock,” he said.
“I’m not, thank you, Mr. President,” Vega responded.
Apparently mishearing her, Trump said, “I know you’re not thinking, you never do.”
“I’m sorry?” she responded, before Trump smiled and said, “No, go ahead. Go ahead.”
Vega then proceeded with her question. “In a tweet this weekend, Mr. President, you said that it’s incorrect to say you’re limiting the scope of the FBI investigation.”
Before she could finish, Trump interrupted her, saying, “What does that have to do with trade? I don’t mind answering the question but, you know, I’d like to do the trade questions and then we’ll get to that.”
After taking a number of questions on trade, Trump finally called on another reporter, CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, who also tried to ask about Kavanaugh. “Now that you’ve answered several questions on trade, I’d like to turn to Judge Kavanaugh,” she said.
Trump interrupted Collins as well. “Don’t do that. Excuse me. Do you have a question on trade? We’ll do one or two more questions on trade. Don’t do that. That’s not nice, and besides that, somebody is before you,” he said.
Collins attempted to finish asking her question, prompting Trump to respond, “Excuse me. Don’t do that.”
Later in the press conference, Trump returned to Collins as promised, but snapped at her follow-up questions. After dodging her question about whether he would pull Kavanaugh’s nomination over his alleged history of alcohol abuse, which Kavanaugh denies, he said angrily, ” You know what, you’ve really had enough. You’ve had enough.”
Trump spent much of the question-answer section of Monday’s press conference refusing to discuss the White House’s attempt to limit the scope of the FBI’s investigation into Kavanaugh and simultaneously claiming he wanted a full investigation, as long as it goes quickly.
On Sunday, The New York Times reported the White House and Senate Republicans had limited the investigation to questioning just four people: two high school friends of Kavanaugh’s, Mark Judge and P.J. Smyth; Leland Keyser, friend of Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford; Ford herself; and Deborah Ramirez, another woman who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.
Trump said Monday that he believes a long investigation is unfair to Kavanaugh.
“What he’s gone through over the last three weeks is incredible,” he said. “It’s unfair to him at this point.”
He added that the FBI should only interview Kavanaugh’s third accuser, Julie Swetnick, “if there is credibility.”
“I heard that the third one has — I have no idea if this is true, has very little credibility. If there is credibility, interview the third one,” he said.
Swetnick wrote in a sworn affidavit last week that she was gang-raped at a party in the 1980s where Kavanaugh was present, and that she had previously learned Kavanaugh and his friends would frequently drug women or spike their drinks in order to rape them. (She did not directly implicate Kavanaugh in her rape.)
Trump’s press conference Monday comes days after Kavanaugh and Ford both testified under oath in front of the Judiciary Committee about the myriad allegations against him.
Ford claims Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a “gathering” in high school. During a testimony under oath Thursday, she said Kavanaugh forced himself on her, groped her over her clothes, and tried to pull off her clothing.
When she tried to scream, he then covered her mouth with his hand and turned up the music in the room to muffle her cries. She said during her testimony that she believed Kavanaugh might accidentally kill her.
Just before Swetnick released her sworn statement last week, another woman, Deborah Ramirez also came forward, telling The New Yorker that, at a party in college, Kavanaugh thrust his penis into her face against her wishes, causing her to touch it.
Kavanaugh has unequivocally denied all the allegations. Unlike Ford, he has not requested an FBI investigation into the matter, but during his testimony said he welcomed whatever step the Senate Judiciary Committee took next.