Sep 21, 2018, 8:43 PM ET

Fact Check: Trump's faulty take on sexual assault a sobering moment


Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court was upended this past Sunday when Christine Blasey Ford went public with an accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school 36 years ago.

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Suddenly, what seemed an inevitable appointment to the Supreme Court was thrown into jeopardy, and President Donald Trump found his pick to alter the balance of the court thrust into an impassioned cultural awakening surrounding sexual misconduct.

So much about sexual assault is so complicated, but the claims the president made this week are not. They're just wrong.

There's just one fact check this Friday.

"I have no doubt"

During his campaign, Trump was faced with accusations from roughly a dozen women, all of whom he branded liars with a political agenda.

More recently, he continued to endorse Alabama's Republican candidate for Senate, Roy Moore, as accusations of sexual assault mounted. Moore denied all allegations against him.

Trump also came to the defense of Fox News giants Bill O'Reilly and Roger Ailes, both of whom eventually lost their careers over the allegations against them.

So it was unusual when, at first, the president showed restraint towards Kavanaugh's accuser.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Sept. 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Ethan Miller/Getty Images
President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Sept. 20, 2018, in Las Vegas.

Friday morning the president declared in a tweet he has "no doubt" that if the attack occurred as she described it she would have reported it to authorities at the time it happened.

But what the president seems to ignore is the tragic fact that the overwhelming majority of sexual assaults go unreported.

"I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!"

PHOTO: Professor Christine Blasey Ford is seen in an undated photo posted to ResearchGate and Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh appears at a confirmation hearing in Washington, Sept. 4, | AFP/Getty Images
Professor Christine Blasey Ford is seen in an undated photo posted to ResearchGate and Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh appears at a confirmation hearing in Washington, Sept. 4, 2018.

The statistics surrounding sexual assault reporting suggest that a 15-year old high school girl might find it difficult to muster the courage to upend her life and tell authorities about a sexual assault by a peer.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which used data from it's National Crime Victimization Survey, 65 percent of sexual assaults went unreported between 2006-2010. Furthermore, the same survey from 2016 shows that only 23 percent of sexual assaults or rapes were reported to police.

Also, the president's demand that Ford produce "filings" from law enforcement officials ignores her claim that she never told anyone about the alleged assault until years later.

It does raise the question about whether or not he should ask the FBI to do additional fact-finding, as Ford has requested, which he has so far refused to do.

Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican who earlier this week suggested Ford ought to testify next Monday, said in an interview Friday she was "appalled by the president's tweet."

“First of all, we know that allegations of sexual assault – I’m not saying that’s what happened in this case – but we know allegations of sexual assault are one of the most unreported crimes that exist. So I thought that the president’s tweet was completely inappropriate and wrong.”

Here's another important statistic to consider: according to National Sexual Violence Resource Center, it's the percentage of women to falsely report allegations of sexual assault is low. Various studies found that a range between 2 percent and 10 percent of falsely reported accusations.

And 81 percent of women report significant short- or long-term impacts such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Meantime lawyers for Ford are asking the Senate Judiciary Committee to schedule a hearing for her to be heard on Thursday, allowing time for Ford to make the drive from California to Washington D.C. Ford's friend, Kate Devarney, told CNN this week that Ford's fear of flying is directly related to her allegation of assault, and that an airplane is "the ultimate closed space where you cannot get away."

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  • Richard Orberson

    This is not a game and its getting very Irritating. Republicans get on with the vote, or you’ll be showing the American people that you’re Rinos not Republicans, or even responsible.
    Vote him in office? You can remove him later if something turns up in the investigation to be true, we have had enough

  • John Springer

    She has flown many times before, so now the sudden aversion?

  • Ward Cleaver

    trump is of the mindset that women are there for his, and his comrades, pleasure, and nothing more.

    How any woman can support, and vote for this guy, is one of life's great mysteries.

  • Don'tBotherMe

    Because of his shady history I think Trump has de-sensitized himself to what sexual assault is. He truly has no clue that grabbing women or making comments of a sexual nature is wrong.

  • Trench Ant

    Back in the late 70s and early 80s when I was dating and just being around boys/men, I couldn't count how many times I was made uncomfortable by them by word or action. Did some of those times constitute assault? Yep. Should they have been reported? Yep. Did I report them? Nope. It just wasn't talked about and I knew no better. I just avoided them and it created a build up of mistrust that affects me to this day. I learned through experience and learned to not take any of that crud from men. I taught my daughter differently so she didn't have to experience it like I did and she stood up for herself.

    So now what we have are a bunch of old white men who have the mentality that women can't decide for themselves - what to do with their own bodies and what constitutes a harmful (emotionally/physically) assault on their bodies - and are in charge of making policies affecting both all for their political party.


    DOTUS does not give a darn about sexual attacks on women. He only cares about gratifying his ego and pushing his agenda! His history clearly shows that he has no respect for women or people of color. Now I am sure I will be attacked by the trumpards for my statement but I do not care!!! DOTUS IS TRULY DEPLORABLE!!!

  • mrphilbert

    It is plain to see that drumpf does not understand the meaning of depravity. His evangelical supporters just dismiss it as "noise". You cannot proclaim yourself a Christian if you self servingly turn a blind eye to deliberate un Christian like behavior.
    People that continue to support and excuse drumpfs daily misdeeds cannot be trusted upon to do what is right or honorable.

  • Laney D.

    Of course he would support someone accused of sexual assault. There is a Chronological list of women who accused Trump of sexual assault, so far. The word octopus comes to mind. No doubt this is just a small list of actual women over the years. How can anyone, especially women, support this man?

  • mrphilbert

    The guy who brags about doing whatever he can get away with (in all things) is blatantly trying to help others get away with similar behavior. To the so called christians who dismiss this as noise, you are committing the sin of hypocrisy.

  • Arc_Fault_One

    Come on, afraid to fly too. The only reason for all this support is based on your unpatriotic hatred for the president

  • jims444

    It's clear or should be to most intelligent folks that Trump is an "empty suit" who is devoid of normal human emotions. It's actually revealing watching Trump attempt to show compassion, empathy, honesty when he is incapable of such emotions. This man has been a lying, calculating, con-man all his life and as an adult, never changed or grew up. If anything, he has perfected the arts of lying, hurting people, making fun of them, using them for his own ends, and finding ways to violate the law. This is WHO we have elected as our President and God help us all.

  • Jim Beam

    this man just does not have the common sense to keep his mouth shut!!!

  • TexasVulcan

    I'd say President Trump is just clueless but I think it's more than that. I think he is pure evil at this point.

  • Donald Schellberg

    I don't really care that much about the makeup of the supreme as long as it protects the rights of the minorities and defends the weak over the strong (which is what Jesus taught) but what really saddens me is the lack of compassion that is shown to this woman because of people's desire to have their political way. It is like they have lost their humanity completely and would choose Satan(metaphorically speaking) if it suits their political interests. I am an independent, neither of the left or the right and believe that they should take the time to ascertain if the allegations are true or not. If the allegations are true, it would mean that the nominee is lying and will lie under oath when he testifies next week. How can we have a person like that on the supreme court? If the allegations are false, they still have time to vote on his nomination, even in a lame duck session

  • (((Rocket Cat)))

    Wow, only one fact checked. It's been a slow week for the white house.

  • Les Sd

    The thing which bothers me the most in all this is the lack of substantive answers to question by Kavanaugh; the beating around the bush and ambiguous nonsense responses to serious questions. Citizens have no idea what his position is on possible issues and refusing to give answers is not what I want on the Supreme Court. If this allegation is true, like Nikon, his cover-up is not acceptable and should disqualify him immediately. Come on, candidate, give us real answers, not more bs. As a citizen we would not be allowed to get away with such meaningless and circular answers if we were before a court or definitely before a Congressional hearing.

  • bpai99

    I have to give Trump credit for attacking Kavanaugh's accuser via the argument that if it happened 36 years ago and no one reported or questioned it then, it must be suspect. After Trump accused Ted Cruz's father of involvement in JFK's assassination 53 years afterward and also challenged Barack Obama's birth certificate 53 years after it was issued, it takes some nerve to be that much of a hypocrite and not be ashamed in the least.

    Kudos to Trump, no wonder American evangelicals love him so.

  • James Renn

    Trumps irresponsible comments pertain to a possible sexual attack on a 15-year-old girl years ago, a time when any teenage girl would be petrified to come out against any male accused of attacking her, Especially a well heeled , upper class white male, Trump is so out of touch with reality it’s unbelievable, considering he has multiple sexual predator accusations lodged against himself, which he categorically denies them all, it’s almost unbelievable he would even utter the words that he did. But then again that is Trump , and any sexual attack against a women is most likely fabricated or exaggerated by the woman, , VOTE 2018, 2020.

  • Truthfully

    Remember Women and Sexual Assault Victims this is your future if men like Kavanaugh and trump continue...………….Even in Arizona Gosar is being brought Down by his Siblings.

    When Party and Family become so Bad that you have to SPEAK OUT!

  • Prophet With Honor

    Does hé actually know nothing of reality or is it all an act?

  • Richard Smith

    When you think he’s gone as low as he can go, he breaks out a shovel.

  • lou g

    Why would anyone be surprised at Trump's words about sex offenders? He was accused during the campaign and after being elected. He declares them all false.Trump won't badmouth an accused sex offender because it would back lash against him.

  • helicohunter

    If I had been drinking at a party when I was 15, I sure wouldn't have told my mother. When it comes to date rape, most women feel ashamed- like they did something to cause it. Since the rape was not completed, there was no DNA evidence. Plus, sequencing wasn't a thing yet. It would have been he said/she said.