WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump mocked a woman who came forward with claims that federal appeals court judge Brett Kavanaugh engaged in sexual assault and other misconduct in the 1980s, earning bipartisan criticism from senators weighing the Supreme Court nominee's confirmation.
Speaking at a rally in Southaven, Mississippi, on Tuesday night, Mr Trump attacked the credibility of Dr Christine Blasey Ford, who last week testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Mr Kavanaugh had drunkenly assaulted her during a high school party more than 30 years ago.
Mr Trump, who just days ago said Dr Ford's testimony was "very credible", ridiculed her memory to cheers in the audience, suggesting certain details she did not recall were evidence that she was not telling the truth.
"How did you get there? I don't remember. Where was the place? I don't remember," Mr Trump said, mocking Dr Ford's answers during last week's hearing.
The remarks drew a rebuke yesterday not just from Democrats but also Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who forced an FBI probe into the accusations against Mr Kavanaugh by threatening to withhold his vote for the judge's confirmation.
Mr Flake said Mr Trump's comments were "kind of appalling" in an interview with NBC News. "There is no time and no place for remarks like that," he said. "But to discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right."
Mr Flake on Tuesday raised concerns about the judge's "partisan" tone at last week's hearing.
"I was very troubled by the tone of the remarks... The interaction with the members was sharp and partisan, and that concerns me," Mr Flake said at an event in Washington hosted by The Atlantic magazine.