White House 'would be open to' having Deborah Ramirez testify, Sanders says

WASHINGTON — The White House is open to having Deborah Ramirez, the second woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, testify on Thursday alongside the first accuser and Kavanaugh, press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday.

In an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America," host George Stephanopoulos asked if the president would want Ramirez to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee at Thursday's hearing.

"Certainly we would be open to that and that process could take place on Thursday," said Sanders.

"The president said a number of times that these individuals should be heard," she also said.

Ramirez alleged in an article published by The New Yorker Sunday night that while she and Kavanaugh both attended Yale University in the early 1980s, he pulled down his pants and exposed himself to her.

Sanders also appeared in an interview on Fox News and blamed Democrats for how they've handled Kavanaugh's confirmation process.

"They have exploited these individuals and their families for their own political purposes," she said.

Trump ultimately wants Kavanaugh's nomination to come to a vote, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday would happen "in the near future."

"Look, the president wants this process to come to a vote," Sanders said. "Because that's what's supposed to happen. In every single one of these instances where someone is nominated, they go before, they have a hearing and then the senators vote on it. That's what's supposed to happen and that's what the president expects to happen."

In a separate interview on MSNBC, White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said, "We believe Judge Kavanaugh, clear, under penalty of perjury, called for a hearing last week. He told the country last night, he's never sexually assaulted anyone, in high school or any time. He's a good man whose life story shows he promotes women's equality."

Kavanaugh appeared for his first on-camera interview about the allegations on Fox News Monday night in which he rejected them and defended himself with his wife, Ashley, by his side.

"The truth is I've never sexually assaulted anyone, in high school or otherwise," Kavanaugh said.

"I never sexual assaulted anyone," he said. "I did not have sexual intercourse in high school or for many years thereafter. The girls from the schools I went to and I were friends."

Kavanaugh was referring to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party in the suburbs of Maryland when they both were in high school. Ford is set to testify publicly at a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday about the allegations and Kavanaugh is expected to testify afterward in response to the same panel.

Meanwhile, McConnell continued to blame Democrats Tuesday morning for how they've handled the confirmation process and defended Kavanaugh against the allegations.

"This is America we're talking about. We're supposed to uphold innocence. Everyone deserves better than this — everyone — not just Judge Kavanaugh, everyone.