U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday launched his first direct attack on the professor who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, tweeting that if the allegations were “as bad as she says,” she would have called the police.
“I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. (Christine Blasey) Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed,” the president tweeted on Friday morning. “I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!”
Trump also tweeted that Kavanaugh is a “fine man” who is being targeted by “radical left-wing politicians” for whom “facts don’t matter.”
He did not offer any evidence to back up his claim.
Ford, a college psychology professor in California, says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her three decades ago at a party when they were both teenagers.
Kavanaugh has denied the allegations, which threaten to derail his Supreme Court confirmation hearing. Trump and the Republican Party have been eager to get Kavanaugh confirmed before the midterm elections in November, while Democrats have been trying to slow or block the process altogether.
Ford is currently negotiating terms to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the matter.
The president avoided directly criticizing Ford until Friday. He deliberately did not use her name at a campaign rally in Las Vegas on Thursday, opting instead to heap praise upon Kavanaugh.
WATCH BELOW: Trump praises Kavanaugh at Vegas rally
“I’m not saying anything about anyone else, but I want to tell you that Brett Kavanaugh is one of the finest human beings you will ever have the privilege of knowing or meeting,” Trump said on Thursday.
“We’ve got to let it play out,” he said.
However, the president did try to cast doubt on Ford’s story in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity before the rally.
“Why didn’t somebody call the FBI 36 years ago?” he said.
Trump said Kavanaugh’s accuser should “have her say and let’s see how it all works out, but I don’t think you can delay it any longer. They’ve delayed it a week already.”
Sexual assault is the most under-reported crime in the United States, with 63 per cent of cases going unreported to police, according to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Only 13 per cent of reported cases end with a sexual offence conviction, according to a 2010 study of the justice systems in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the U.K.
A vast majority (91 per cent) of rape or sexual assault victims in the U.S. are women.
Statistics Canada suggests that more sex assault cases were reported last year following the rise of the #MeToo movement.
Presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway sought to distance the allegations from the ongoing #MeToo movement in an interview with CNN on Friday.
“Let’s not conflate the larger #MeToo movement with whatever did or did not happen in the summer of 1982,” she said.
Conway said she hopes Ford and Kavanaugh will testify next week.
WATCH BELOW: Kellyanne Conway says there is ‘no reason’ to attack Kavanaugh’s accuser
Ford would prefer to testify next Thursday, without Kavanaugh in the room, her lawyer said.
Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has scheduled a hearing for Monday morning, and he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have indicated it would be Ford’s only chance to make her case.
—With files from The Associated Press