Four questions into a very rare solo press conference from President Donald Trump, after he had already called the sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh a “big, fat con job” perpetrated by Democrats, CNN’s Jim Acosta suggested that he call on “one of our female colleagues.”
“What does that mean?” Trump asked. “I wouldn’t mind that at all,” he added. “Wouldn’t make any difference to me.”
But once the president began to call on female reporters, starting with NBC News’ Hallie Jackson, the difference was clear. Repeatedly, these women tried to ask Trump about his comments questioning the credibility of Kavanaugh’s accusers, and repeatedly he interrupted and talked over them, saying what he wanted without waiting to hear their questions in several cases.
“When the allegations first surfaced, you initially said how important it was for Dr. Ford to testify. and that you wanted to hear from her,” CBS News’ Weijia Jiang began. But before she could ask a question, Trump started to railroad right over her, saying, “I do. I wish it could have gone quicker.”
“You also said that if what she said were as bad as she claims, surely her or her parents would have reported it, and just today, you said you wouldn’t—” Jiang said as Trump interrupted again. “So my question is,” she added, as the president continued talking, going off on a tangent about how picking a Supreme Court justice is just below “war and peace” on his personal list of important presidential decisions.
Following up on the question of Acosta’s that Trump did not answer, Jiang tried to ask how the accusations against him by numerous women have affected his view of the Kavanaugh allegations. Before she could get it out, however, he started protesting the “false accusations,” saying, “You can check with Sean Hannity, you can check with Fox, because they covered it very strongly.” Finally, as he tried to move to the next question, an exasperated Jiang said, “If I could just actually ask that question, Mr. Trump, you didn’t let me ask my question.”
“You’ve been asking a question for 10 minutes,” Trump told her. “Please sit down.” Instead of sitting down, Jiang ultimately got the president to admit that the allegations against him “absolutely” affect his opinion of the women accusing Kavanaugh.
Later, Hannah Thomas-Peter from Sky News returned to the subject, asking Trump, “Are you at all concerned at the message that is being sent to the women who are watching this when you use language like ‘con job’ in relation to allegations of sexual assault?”
Again, Trump interrupted her before she could finish, saying, “I’ve used much worse language in my life than ‘con job.’ That’s like probably the nicest phrase I’ve ever used.” Then he started complaining about the Democrats and the Russia investigation.
“Are you worried—” the reporter tried to ask again, but Trump continued talking over her, without coming close to answering the question about the message he is sending to women. The president bragged about winning 52 percent of women voters in the 2016 election, even though that number reflects the percentage of white women who voted for him. He received 41 percent of women overall, according to exit polls. According to a new Morning Consult/Politico poll, Trump’s support among women of both parties has dropped significantly since the Kavanaugh allegations came to light.
Seeming to refer to women who are upset about the delay in Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Trump said: “I have women that are incensed at what’s going on. I’ve always said women are smarter than men. I’ve said that a lot. And I mean it. But women are incensed at what’s going on.”
Then he called on another man.