On Tuesday night in Mississippi, President Donald Trump mocked Christine Blasey Ford for accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. Two nights later in Minnesota, he did the same to former Democratic Sen. Al Franken for leaving office after he faced allegations of sexual misconduct.
At a rally for Republican Senate candidate Karin Housley, who is running against Tina Smith, the Democrat who replaced Franken after he stepped down late last year, the president ranted against the one-time Saturday Night Live writer.
“So Karin is running against a far-left Democrat, Tina Smith, who nobody knows who the hell she is,” Trump said to boos from the crowd. “She was appointed, she took a wacky guy’s place. That guy, he was wacky.
“Boy, did he fold up like a wet rag, huh?” the president added. “Man, he was gone so fast. He was gone so fast. I don’t want to mention Al Franken’s name, OK? So I won’t. He was gone so fast.” Imitating Franken the same way he imitated Ford earlier, he said, “It was like, he did something, ‘Oh, oh, oh, I resign, I quit.’ He was gone and he was replaced by somebody nobody ever heard of.”
Franken gave up his seat in the Senate as the #MeToo movement was picking up steam after senators from his own party demanded his resignation even as Republican senators and the president defended Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who had been accused by multiple women of sexually assaulting them when they were teenagers.
“I of all people am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls is running for Senate with full support of his party,” Franken said in his farewell address.
In Bob Woodward’s book Fear, the author quotes Trump’s advice to a friend who worried he might be accused of sexual misconduct. “You’ve got to deny, deny, deny and push back on these women,” Trump said, according to Woodward. “If you admit to anything and any culpability, then you’re dead. That was a big mistake you made.”
Those words explain why Trump, who has denied the many allegations against him, was so pleased with Brett Kavanaugh’s defiant testimony a week ago. And why he apparently has no respect for someone like Franken, who owned up to his mistakes and relinquished the privilege of serving in public office.