After mocking Christine Blasey Ford earlier this week, President Donald Trump on Friday tweeted out a conspiratorial attack on the sexual assault survivors who have confronted Republican senators over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, calling them “elevator screamers” and “paid professionals” bankrolled by billionaire George Soros.
The extraordinary statement, which appears to echo right-wing conspiracy theories circulating the internet, could further antagonize three key swing votes—Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Susan Collins (R-Maine)—shortly before a crucial procedural vote to advance Kavanaugh’s confirmation is set to take place. Trump’s tweet comes one week after two victims of sexual assault confronted Flake inside a Senate elevator to plead with the Arizona senator to vote against Kavanaugh.
The powerful moment, which was captured in widely circulated videos, was seen as a motivating factor in Flake’s last-minute decision to call for a delay on Kavanaugh’s nomination until an FBI investigation was completed.
The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2018
All three senators condemned the president’s belittling of Ford at a campaign rally on Tuesday, with Collins describing the remarks as “just plain wrong.” As his Friday tweet suggests, the criticism doesn’t appear to have had an effect on the president.