Trump Returns To Form By Lobbing Grenades At Kavanaugh Accuser Blasey Ford

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Las Vegas Convention Center on September 20, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Trump is in town to support the re-election campaign for U.S. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) as well as Nevada Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt and candidate for Nevada's 3rd House District Danny Tarkanian and 4th House District Cresent Hardy.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America

The Twitter president kept it together for five days. And he only had a few more to go.

Demonstrating an unprecedented amount of restraint, President Donald Trump has spent the past week sinking his teeth into his tongue (and Twitter account) at the request of aides and lawmakers, who have asked him to avoid his natural instinct: attacking the woman who has accused his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, of sexual assault.

After the Washington Post published a detailed account of Palo Alto University Professor Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Kavanaugh on Sunday, Trump kept quiet for nearly two full days. The discipline reportedly came at the behest of White House counsel Don McGahn and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who advised Trump to distance himself and avoid attacking the accuser. According to Politico, Trump’s initial urges fell in line with expectations: he wanted to fight back.

Addressing the scandal directly for the first time on Tuesday, Trump demonstrated rare prudence during a pool spray and offered cursory sympathy for Kavanaugh.

“I feel so badly for him that he is going through this to be honest with you,” he told reporters. “I feel so badly for him. This is not a man that deserves this.”

On Tuesday and into Wednesday, as Republicans called on the Senate Judiciary Committee to delay the confirmation vote and hold a public hearing and the White House propelled it’s talking points — that Blasey Ford should be heard, but the whole ordeal was Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) fault — Trump continued to avoid criticizing the accuser.

He tweeted about the importance of the Supreme Court confirmation and even hinted at a change of heart, suggesting “we’ll have to make a decision” if Blasey Ford’s allegations proved credible. He lamented it would be “unfortunate” if Blasey Ford didn’t appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, as uncertainty dangled over whether she intended to testify. Blasey Ford’s lawyers told the Senate Judiciary Committee that she wanted the FBI to conduct an investigation before she would appear before the Senate, a move Trump had already deemed “not” the FBI’s “thing.”

But by Thursday evening — as Blasey Ford indicated she’d be willing to testify under certain conditions — Trump was getting increasingly anxious about Kavanaugh’s chances of survival.

While White House officials reportedly hoped Trump would “keep it together” until Monday, Trump hinted he was losing his patience during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Thursday evening, when he questioned why the accuser hadn’t told anyone about the alleged assault after it happened when she was 15 years old.

“Why didn’t somebody call the FBI 36 years ago?” he said. “What’s going on?”

By Friday morning, Trump’s base instincts burst back out into the open. In a series of tweets, Trump invoked the claims of the accuser, suggesting Kavanaugh was “under assault” from the “radical left-wing politicians.” Minutes later he claimed Blasey Ford wouldn’t filed charges as a teenager if the alleged assault was “as bad as she says.”

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