Trump says he would pull Kavanaugh nomination 'if I thought he was guilty'

In a rambling 82-minute news conference in New York City on Wednesday, President Trump defended his beleaguered Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but left open the possibility of withdrawing the nomination, depending on Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

“I’m going to see what happens tomorrow. I’m going to be watching, believe it or not,” Trump said of the hearing, which is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. ET. “I’m going to see what’s said. It’s possible that Ford will be convincing.”

Ford was the first of three women to have accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in his teens. The Senate Judiciary Committee is also investigating an anonymous allegation made against Kavanaugh by a fourth woman regarding an incident that allegedly took place in 1998.

By turns defensive and combative, Trump also portrayed the allegations against Kavanaugh as part of a Democratic “con game.”

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Trump said of the claims of sexual harassment. It’s a con game that they’re playing.”

But Trump said he was open to withdrawing the nomination, depending on what happens at the hearing.

“If I thought he was guilty of something like this, yeah sure,” Trump said.

Trump refused to answer repeated questions about whether he thought the three women accusing Kavanaugh are simply lying.

Donald Trump
President Trump holds a news conference at the UN. (Photo: Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

The long-in-coming full news conference took a personal turn when reporters asked the president about the many women who had accused him of sexual impropriety over the years.

“I was accused by, I believe it was four women,” Trump said. “I was accused by four or five women who got paid a lot of money to make up stories about me. We caught them and the mainstream media refused to put it on television. … So I’ve had numerous accusations about me.”

But Trump dismissed those who have accused him of sexual assault as “women who got paid a lot of money to make up stories about me,” saying “we caught them and the mainstream media refused to put it on television.”

While Trump has derided the #MeToo movement that has targeted a number of prominent men, the president also acknowledged that Thursday’s hearing could be another touchstone for the nation.

“It’s a very big cultural moment,” Trump said, adding, “This is a very big moment for our country.”


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