SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — President Donald Trump on Tuesday repeatedly mocked Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, despite having said just days ago that he found her Senate testimony last week "very credible."
In a one-man reenactment of Ford's appearance before the Judiciary Committee, with his voice alternating between an impression of her and of her inquisitor, Trump challenged the veracity of the testimony that paused his nominee's confirmation.
The extended ridicule of Ford, delivered at the Landers Arena in deeply conservative DeSoto County, stood in stark contrast to the respectful way in which Trump and his aides had previously treated her testimony, even as they have stood by Kavanaugh and his assertion that he never assaulted her.
"I had one beer!" Trump said, characterizing Ford's testimony about her level of intoxication as a teenager when she says she was attacked at a small get-together in Montgomery County, Md., in the early 1980s.
"How did you get home?" the president asked, taking on the role of prosecutor.
"I don't remember," he said in his Ford voice.
"How did you get there?" Trump continued in his reenactment of the Senate hearing.
"I don't remember," he replied in the Ford voice.
Trump then mockingly asked and answered a series of questions with the responses "I don't remember" and "I don't know."
One thing Ford did remember clearly — which Trump didn't mention — is that she was "100 percent" certain that it was Kavanaugh who had attacked her.
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The crowd in this county, which favored Trump 65 percent to 31 percent in 2016, cheered with gusto in the midst of his banter with himself.
"A man’s life is shattered," the president said of Kavanaugh after making fun of Ford's testimony. "These are really evil people."
Michael Bromwich, an attorney for Ford, called Trump's performance "a vicious, vile and soulless attack" and said the president is "a profile in cowardice."
A vicious, vile and soulless attack on Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Is it any wonder that she was terrified to come forward, and that other sexual assault survivors are as well? She is a remarkable profile in courage. He is a profile in cowardice. https://t.co/UJ0bGxV1EZ
The Senate has delayed a final vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation while the FBI looks into multiple allegations of sexual misconduct that have been lodged against him. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.
The president's tone on Ford's testimony clashed with his assessment last week.
"I thought her testimony was very compelling, and she looks like a very fine woman to me, very fine woman," Trump said of Ford while speaking to reporters on Friday.
But his new approach was welcome here, where several rally-goers said they did not believe Kavanaugh had assaulted Ford, and some said that he should be confirmed whether or not he had.
"You have to forgive," said Michele Stuber, 55, of Holly Springs Mississippi. "If everybody in Congress had to 'fess up to everything they'd done ... there'd be nobody left."
She said she's upset by the idea that an accuser should be believed automatically.
"I hate to see our whole culture going in that direction," she said.
A short time later, Trump echoed those sentiments from the stage, characterizing Julie Swetnick's allegation that Kavanaugh was present at a gang rape as particularly outlandish.
"Guilty until proven innocent," he said. "That’s very dangerous for our country."
Justin Hanna, 33, of Savannah, Tenn., said he agreed with the president.
Men can get in trouble "if you look at a girl the wrong way or you talk to a girl," he said. "It's just a different world we're living in now. It's not for the best in some aspects."
As he has done with increasing intensity in recent days, Trump took aim at the Democratic Party and individual lawmakers.
He accused Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., of imbibing too much — perhaps revealing who he was talking about during a Monday Rose Garden ceremony when he said he had seen a Democratic senator "compromised" by alcohol abuse.
"Look under 'Patrick Leahy slash drinking,'" he said.
He also fired off barbs at Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. — both members of the Judiciary Committee — as well as "globalists," Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
And he attacked the "fake news media," as he often does. However, his remarks this time came on the heels of an in-depth New York Times report on how he acquired his wealth from his father — using aggressive tax avoidance schemes and not primarily, as he often claims, through his own ingenuity and business acumen.
Ostensibly, Trump was in town to help Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who is locked in a three-way race with fellow Republican Chris McDaniel and Democrat Mike Espy, with the top two finishers in the first round squaring off in a general election. But Trump made clear at the very top of his remarks that he's thinking about his own re-election.
"I have to start by saying 2020 is looking really easy," he said.