U.S. president claims current climate encourages public to perceive guilt before due process
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the reaction to decades-old allegations of sexual assault against his Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh makes it “a very scary time” for young men in the United States.
His remarks came as he responded to questions about allegations against the conservative jurist by three women who say Kavanaugh drunkenly sexually abused or harassed them when they were students in the 1980s.
“It’s a very scary time for young men in America, where you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House.
Trump said Kavanaugh—who denies the allegations and is adamant he did not drink to the point of blacking out, despite enjoying beer in his younger years—has been treated unfairly. “My whole life, I’ve heard you’re innocent until proven guilty. But now you’re guilty until proven innocent,” Trump said.
The FBI is conducting a Senate-requested probe into the sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh, whom Trump described as “a great judge” who “has been very brutally treated.”
Trump was more prudent however when asked about the outcome of the upcoming Senate vote on whether to approve Kavanaugh for the highest U.S. court. That “is going to depend on what comes back from the FBI,” Trump said. “The FBI is working very hard and let’s see what happens.”
In an extraordinary Senate hearing on Thursday, Kavanaugh said the confirmation process had become a “national disgrace,” adding that the accusations had “destroyed my family and my good name.”
Senators, including Republican Jeff Flake, struck a deal the following day that gives the FBI one week to conduct an investigation and deliver a report.