President Donald Trump praised Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s emotional, angry and at times combative Senate testimony as “incredible” and said Friday that he had “not even a little bit” considered any replacement nominees.
On Friday afternoon, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-10 to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate, though Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona said he would request a week delay to allow for a possible FBI investigation into the allegation, something Republicans have resisted. It’s not clear whether that FBI investigation has been, or will be, ordered.
Speaking from the White House, Trump reiterated his support for Kavanaugh and spoke of him in glowing terms.
“I thought that Brett’s testimony, likewise was really something that I hadn’t seen before,” said Trump, who has continued to support Kavanaugh’s nomination despite a number of women accusing the judge of sexual misconduct. “Incredible. It was an incredible moment in the history of our country.”
Trump went on. “It think it will work out very well for the country,” he said. “I just want it to work out well for the country. If that happens, I’m happy.”
Trump was also careful not to attack Christine Blasey Ford, who in her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday said Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when she was 15.
“I thought her testimony was very compelling and she looks like a very fine woman to me,” he said. “Certainly she was a very credible witness. She was very good in many respects.”
Trump said he had no message for senators undecided about whether they would vote to confirm Kavanaugh, like Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine.
“They have to do what they think is right,” Trump said. “They have to be comfortable with themselves.”
When asked about the one week delay in the nomination, Trump, who has been pushing for a full Senate vote on Kavanaugh as quickly as possible, said he would defer to Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and others on timing.
“I’m going to rely on all the people, including Sen. Grassley who is doing a very good job,” he said. “I’m going to let the Senate handle that. They’ll make their decisions. They’ve been doing a good job and very professional.”
Earlier Friday, Raj Shah, the White House principal deputy press secretary, told the PBS NewsHour that the White House was doing all it could to push for Kavanaugh to be confirmed. “The White House has been very actively engaging the Senate,” he said. “We continue to do do.”
He added that Trump “is invested in Judge Kavanaugh’s success and as a result, he is talking about it. He nominated him. He believes in him.”
READ MORE: Ford testified. Kavanaugh testified. What did we learn?
Yamiche Alcindor is the White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour; the moderator of Washington Week, the weekly public affairs show on PBS; and a political contributor for NBC News and MSNBC. She often tells stories about the intersection of race and politics as well as fatal police encounters. She is currently covering the administration of President Joe Biden and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
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