White House: Trump was 'stating the facts' in mockery of Ford

The White House on Wednesday defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure MORE's decision to mock Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.  

"The president was stating the facts," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during a rare briefing inside the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room.

Trump faced backlash after he taunted Ford during a Tuesday night rally in Mississippi, where he acted out her testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in which she detailed her alleged assault at the hands of Kavanaugh while the two were in high school. 

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Sanders downplayed concerns that Trump's comments will undermine his ability to get key Senate GOP holdouts to vote to confirm Kavanaugh.

"I don't think so," she said when asked if Trump is concerned about negative fallout from his comments. "The president is very confident in his nominee, as he has said time and time again."

Sanders blasted Senate Democrats, saying the “entire process has been a disgrace” and claiming the party has “undermined our entire judicial branch” with a “coordinated smear campaign” intended as a “full-scale assault on Judge Kavanaugh's integrity.”  

Trump's potential problem, however, lies with a handful of undecided Republicans. GOP Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget Jeff Daniels blasts 'cowardice' of Senate Republicans against Trump WANTED: A Republican with courage MORE (Ariz.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDem senator: Many Republicans 'privately expressed concerns' about Mueller findings Congress: Support legislation to defend Medicare home health  The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition — Trump: GOP has `clear contrast' with Dems on immigration MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOvernight Health Care — Presented by Campaign for Accountability — House passes drug pricing bills amid ObamaCare row | Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law | Ocasio-Cortez confronts CEO over K drug price tag Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law Bipartisan senators unveil measure to end surprise medical bills MORE (Alaska), who are all publicly undecided on Kavanaugh's nomination, have denounced Trump's remarks mocking Ford's testimony.

“I am taking everything into account. I think the president’s comments yesterday mocking Dr. Ford were wholly inappropriate and in my view unacceptable," Murkowski told reporters on Wednesday. 

Trump's mockery of Ford came just days after he called her testimony "credible" and "compelling." 

"Thirty-six years ago this happened. 'I had one beer, right? I had one beer,' " Trump said while imitating Ford at the rally. "How did you get home? 'I don't remember.' How'd you get there? 'I don't remember.' Where is the place? 'I don't remember.' How many years ago was it? 'I don't know.' "

Audience members laughed and cheered as Trump reenacted Ford's testimony. Trump inaccurately stated that Ford was not able to recall the year and place where her alleged assault took place. 

Asked about Trump's prior praise for Ford, Sanders repeated that Ford's testimony "was compelling" but added that "you can't make this decision based on emotion. It has to be based on fact." 

She accused news media organizations and Democrats of refusing to scrutinize what she called gaps in Ford's testimony. When asked if Trump still finds Ford's testimony credible, Sanders demurred. 

"The president believes Judge Kavanaugh should be confirmed," she said.

Updated at 2:14 p.m.