The Slatest

Trump Says He Sympathizes With Kavanaugh Because “I’ve Had Many False Charges Made Against Me”

Donald Trump speaking in front of American flags at the United Nations
President Trump at his press conference Wednesday at the United Nations in New York. NICHOLAS KAMM/Getty Images

When asked Wednesday if his own history of being accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women affected how he views the three accusations of sexual misconduct against Brett Kavanaugh, Trump went on a lengthy, free-association discourse about the “false charges against me” foisted on him by the “false reporting” by the New York Times.

“Well, it does impact my opinion, you know why? Because I’ve had a lot of false charges made against me,” Trump said at a press conference at the United Nations. “So when I see it, I view it differently than somebody sitting at home watching television.”

When asked about his past defenses of many men accused of sexual misconduct, including Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, and Roy Moore, Trump dodged by saying, “I’ve known them for a long time, a lot of these people. And some I’ve been disappointed with—I have been disappointed with some. Others, there are charges that are pretty weak. But I’ve known people for a long time. I never saw them do anything wrong.”

Trump also said that four of his accusers had been paid or had been offered money to make up false claims about his misconduct, an apparent reference to a 2017 report in the Hill newspaper that a prominent lawyer, Lisa Bloom, had tried to raise money to compensate women who wanted to come forward with accusations against Trump, two of whom eventually did. (More than a dozen women have come forward with accusations of sexual misconduct against Trump, one of whom, Summer Zervos, has sued him for defamation). To clear up Trump’s confused and confusing references to those women, New York Times reporter Michael Barbaro, who had interviewed Trump accusers in 2016, tweeted Wednesday evening that “none of the women who [Megan Twohey, his co-author] and I spoke with for this story (or any other) took money to make accusations against Trump, as he claimed today. There is zero evidence to support that claim.”*

When CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang pointed out that Trump hadn’t really answered her question, he dismissed her, saying, “You’ve been asking a question for 10 minutes, please sit down, please.” (She asked it again anyway.)

Trump was asked by another reporter what message he was sending to women by describing the accusations against Kavanaugh as a “con job”—the president responded, “I’ve used much worse language in my life than con job. It’s a con job by the Democrats and they know it.”

Update, 6:45 p.m, Sept. 26, 2018: This post has been updated to include the fact-check from the NYT’s Michael Barbaro.