WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday attacked the second woman who has accused Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, dismissing her account because she was “totally inebriated and all messed up,” and accused Democrats of playing a “con game” in an attempt to derail his Supreme Court nominee.
In comments to reporters following a speech at the United Nations, Trump took aim at Deborah Ramirez, a classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Yale University, who told the New Yorker magazine that he exposed himself to her at a party when they were both first-year students.
“The second accuser has nothing,” Trump told reporters. “She admits that she was drunk.”
The president dismissed the notion that the allegation could be disqualifying, saying sarcastically: “Oh, gee, let’s not make him a Supreme Court judge because of that.”
Kavanaugh has denied the allegation as well as Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation that he sexually assaulted her when they were high school students in Maryland.
Trump blamed the accusations, which arose late the confirmation process, on Democrats.
“This is a con game being played by the Democrats,” he said.
Trump’s latest comments came amid fresh acrimony among Democratic and Republican senators as they prepare for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday featuring testimony from Ford, a professor in California, and Kavanaugh.
Earlier Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had indicated that the White House is open to the idea of hearing testimony from Ramirez at that hearing.
“Certainly we would be open to that, and that process could take place on Thursday,” Sanders said during an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” She also reiterated Trump’s view that the confirmation process should wrap up soon.
In a Fox News interview on Monday night, Kavanaugh vigorously denied Ramirez’s and Ford’s allegations and said he would not “let false accusations drive us out of this process.”
It remains unclear whether Ramirez will testify and how quickly that could occur, given her more recent accusations. Several Republicans on the committee have said they want to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination shortly after the Thursday hearing.
Though Sanders said the White House is open to testimony from Ramirez, she also stressed Tuesday that the confirmation process needs to come to a close.
“I do think it’s unfair to continue to drag the process out and continue to put good people through the wringer for the sake of political games the Democrats want to play,” Sanders said in a separate interview on Fox News.
In a speech on the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., cast Kavanaugh as a victim of “unsubstantiated smears,” arguing that Democrats have scuttled any presumption of innocence for a distinguished jurist.
“Justice matters. Evidence matters. Facts matter,” said McConnell, who like other Republicans, has rejected Democratic calls for the FBI to investigate the allegations.
During his remarks, McConnell did not mention Ramirez.
“I look forward to hearing from both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh under oath this Thursday morning,” he said. “I’m glad we’ll be able to hear testimony from both. And then I look forward to and up-or-down vote on this nomination right here on the Senate floor.”
In later remarks, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., accused Republicans of trying to rush the nomination and took aim at McConnell in particular for a recent promise to “plow through” the proceedings.
“Does that sound like someone who wants to get the real facts no matter where they fall?” Schumer asked. “Certainly not to me. Not to the American people.”
Schumer also said McConnell had brought the process to “a new low” with a speech Monday in which he called the allegations against Kavanaugh a Democratic smear job.
“They were not,” Schumer said. “Never mind that Leader McConnell had no evidence – no evidence whatsoever – that the events in question took place or didn’t take place.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, has reached out to Ramirez through her lawyer, but there has been no indication that he is preparing to invite her to testify publicly at this point.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, considered a key vote on the Kavanaugh nomination, has said she would like to see Ramirez speak under oath to the committee but has not specified when she would like to see that happen.
Some senators on the Judiciary Committee have already cast doubt on Ramirez’s claims.
Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, among those pressing for a quick vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, on Monday referred to Ramirez’s allegation as “phony.” When pressed on why he characterized it that way, Hatch responded: “Because I know it is. That’s why.”
By the time the Judiciary Committee holds its hearing on Thursday, there could be a third Kavanaugh accuser.
Lawyer Michael Avenatti has said he is representing a woman who has accusations about Kavanaugh’s behavior in high school. In a Tuesday morning tweet, Avenatti said the woman would come forward only when she is ready but said he expects that to be within 36 hours.
Avenatti also represents Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who was paid money by a personal lawyer for Trump to remain silent about an alleged decade-old affair.
Asked Tuesday if he can envision any scenario where the White House withdraws Kavanaugh’s nomination, deputy press secretary Raj Shah said: “Absolutely not.”
“We firmly believe in Judge Kavanaugh,” Shah said during an appperance on MSNBC. “We believe in his nomination. We think that he’s going to make a fantastic Supreme Court justice. … We’re moving forward.”
The Washington Post’s Seung Min Kim contributed to this report.