WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he believes the reaction to the allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh makes it “a very scary time for young men in America.”
“It is a very scary time for young men in America, where you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of,” Trump said. “This is a very, very — this is a very difficult time. What’s happening here has much more to do than even the appointment of a Supreme Court justice.”
The allegations against Kavanaugh — including sexual assault and exposing himself to a young woman in college — have sparked the latest reckoning in America about sexual assault and men’s treatment of women, bringing the #MeToo movement back to the fore. And while Trump has called Christine Blasey Ford, who testified to Congress that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while they were in high school, “credible” and “compelling,” he has continued to support Kavanaugh’s confirmation and emphatically defend his character.
Trump’s comments on Tuesday were just the latest instance of the President expressing concern about the public outcry resulting from the allegations against Kavanaugh and the impact on other men.
“It’s a very scary situation where you’re guilty until proven innocent. My whole life I’ve heard you’re innocent until proven guilty, but now you’re guilty until proven innocent. That is a very, very difficult standard,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. “You could be somebody that was perfect your entire life and somebody could accuse you of something.”
During the 2016 campaign, at least 15 women accused Trump of misbehavior ranging from sexual harassment and sexual assault to lewd behavior around women. They came forward in the wake of a 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape that was released in October 2016 in which he is caught saying on a hot mic: “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the p****. You can do anything.”
The White House — through press secretary Sarah Sanders and others — has dismissed all the allegations against him as old news that had been litigated during the campaign.
While many prominent public figures have seized on the latest resurgence of the #MeToo movement to send a message to women and victims of sexual assault that their voices are being heard, Trump has focused on backing up the accused. He’s offered few words to women.
Moments after he addressed his concerns for young men in America, the President was asked if he had a message for young women.
“Women are doing great,” Trump replied, before walking off to board Marine One.
Trump’s comments echoed remarks his son Donald Trump Jr. made in an interview with the Daily Mail on Monday, when he was asked if he is more afraid for his sons or his daughters in the wake of the reaction to the allegations against Kavanaugh.
“I mean, right now, I’d say my sons,” Trump Jr. said in the interview. “I’ve got boys, and I’ve got girls. And when I see what’s going on right now, it’s scary.”
The President also made similar comments last week when he was asked about his message to young men in America.
“Somebody could come and say 30 years ago, 25 years ago, 10 years ago, five years ago, he did a horrible thing to me. He did this, he did that, he did that and, honestly, it’s a very dangerous period in our country,” Trump said during a news conference in New York.
Asked at that news conference about the message being sent to young women, Trump focused on women’s complaints about how Kavanaugh has been treated through his confirmation process.
“I’ll tell you this, the people that have complained to me about it the most about what’s happening are women. Women are very angry,” Trump said. “I have men that don’t like it, but I have women that are incensed at what’s going on.”