In Brief

Republicans turn on Trump for mocking Kavanaugh accuser

Three key GOP lawmakers speak out following president's performance in Mississippi

Donald Trump has been taken to task by three key Republicans after openly mocking Dr Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, in which she claimed she had been sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh.

Republican senators Jeff Flake of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska each condemned the remarks Trump made at a rally in Mississippi on Tuesday night, when he cast doubt on Ford’s account.

During the rally, Trump echoed a number of questions put to Ford by members of the judiciary committee, making light of her apparent inability to remember specific details of the alleged attack, which she says took place in 1982.

“How did you get home? ‘I don’t remember’,” Trump said, bringing cheers from his supporters. “How did you get there? ‘I don’t remember.’ Where is the place? ‘I don’t remember.’ How many years ago was it? ‘I don’t know.’ What neighbourhood was it? ‘I don’t know.’ Where’s the house? ‘I don’t know.’”

Speaking to NBC’s Today programme, senator Flake called the comments “appalling”, adding: “There’s no time and no place for remarks like that. To discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right. It’s just not right. I wish he hadn’t had done it.”

Senator Murkowski said it was “wholly inappropriate” and “unacceptable”, while senator Collins, a key moderate swing vote in the senate, said: “The president’s comments were just plain wrong.”

Kavanaugh has denied allegations that he sexually assaulted Ford when they were both high school students and has vowed to continue his effort to join the Supreme Court, to which Trump nominated him in July.

Trump’s mockery of Ford’s testimony came a week after he referred to her as a “very credible witness”, and risks losing the votes of Flake, Collins and Murkowski when the Senate votes on Kavanaugh’s appointment.

Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority in the Senate, and the loss of those three votes – provided every Democrat votes against Kavanaugh’s appointment, as is expected – could scuttle Trump’s pick and delay the appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice until after the November midterm elections.

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