Flake's decision to call for an FBI investigation on Friday delayed the vote on Kavanaugh's nomination

By Emily Zauzmer
October 03, 2018 09:00 AM
Drew Angerer/Getty; Alex Edelman- Pool/Getty

Sen. Jeff Flake, the Republican lawmaker who called for the one-week FBI investigation into allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, is speaking out against President Donald Trump‘s mocking of Kavanaugh’s accuser Christine Blasey Ford.

On Today on Wednesday, Flake, 55, told Savannah Guthrie, 46, that the president’s remarks were “kind of appalling.”

Alongside Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Flake said, “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 have done it.”

Two other GOP senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, also spoke out against Trump’s attack on Ford, The Washington Post reported.

About two hours after Flake’s appearance, Collins told reporters, “The president’s comments were just plain wrong.” She did not answer a question about whether the comments could affect her vote on Kavanaugh.

Murkowski told reporters Wednesday afternoon, “I thought the president’s comments yesterday mocking Dr. Ford were wholly inappropriate and in my view unacceptable.”

Asked whether the comments would affect her vote, she replied: “I am taking everything into account.”

On Tuesday, Trump, 72, made fun of Ford’s testimony at a rally in Mississippi. As he acted out the hearing, Trump said, “I had one beer. It was one beer. How did you get home? I don’t remember. 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.”

He continued, “What neighborhood was it in? I don’t know. Where’s the house? I don’t know. Upstairs? Downstairs? Where was it? I don’t know. But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember.”

Trump added, “A man’s life is in tatters. A man’s life is shattered. His wife is shattered. His daughters, who are beautiful, incredible young kids. They destroy people. They want to destroy people. These are really evil people.”

Ford — a 51-year-old research psychologist and professor at Palo Alto University — claims that Kavanaugh, 53, sexually assaulted her at a high school party in the 1980s, where he allegedly pinned her down to a bed, groped her and tried to remove her clothes. Kavanaugh denies the allegation.

Christine Blasey Ford
Erin Schaff/Getty

On Friday, Flake voted with his fellow Republicans to approve Kavanaugh’s nomination but asked Senate leadership to delay the full vote for up to a week for an FBI investigation. His unexpected move came after he was confronted in an elevator by two women who spoke out about their own sexual assaults.

Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate, but Flake is considered one of three critical deciding votes on Kavanaugh’s confirmation. He is being closely watched this week for signs of wavering in their previously stated support for Trump’s nominee.

Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine are also considered undecided votes. Neither have publicly spoken about Trump’s comments.

Jeff Flake

When Guthrie asked whether Kavanaugh “was truthful and straightforward in all respects” at his hearing, Flake replied, “A lot of people were concerned about the tone that he used. When he said what he said, my reaction was that’s probably how I would react if I felt that I was unjustly accused.”

He continued, “Some of the comments were sharp and more partisan than a lot of us would like to see. Having said that, we’ve seen a record that he’s had on the court of collegiality and working with other members. I think you have to give some leeway for the charges that were coming against him and how he would feel.”

Brett Kavanaugh
Win McNamee/Getty

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A second woman, Deborah Ramirez, accused Kavanaugh of committing sexual misconduct when they were freshmen at Yale. Ramirez, 53, said that Kavanaugh “exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away,” The New Yorker reported.

A third accuser, Julie Swetnick, also accused Kavanaugh of committing sexual misconduct. Kavanaugh denies these allegations as well.